Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Words No Bars Can Hold: Literacy Learning in Prison” as Want to Read:
Words No Bars Can Hold: Literacy Learning in Prison
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Words No Bars Can Hold: Literacy Learning in Prison

by
4.13  ·  Rating details ·  31 ratings  ·  12 reviews
Words No Bars Can Hold provides a rare glimpse into literacy learning under the most dehumanizing conditions. Deborah Appleman chronicles her work teaching college- level classes at a high- security prison for men, most of whom are serving life sentences. Through narrative, poetry, memoir, and fiction, the students in Appleman’s classes attempt to write themselves back int ...more
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published June 18th 2019 by W. W. Norton Company
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Words No Bars Can Hold, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Words No Bars Can Hold

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.13  · 
Rating details
 ·  31 ratings  ·  12 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of Words No Bars Can Hold: Literacy Learning in Prison
Tanya
Dec 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Appleman is doing the good work and trying to let it teach her as much as she teaches in it. This book makes an effort to cross the academic/public space, to make clear the urgency of prison and education reform, and to show herself as both agentive and receptive.
Karin Foster
Jul 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
I've seen Deborah Appleman present at conferences before and love her work. This book gives me greater appreciation of her, as well as other educators, who work within the prison system. Appleman is careful not to portray literacy as a panacea to violent crime, but it does play an important role. The last chapter discusses the role schools can play in creating systems of support for disengaged youth, but this requires a lot more support for schools than they presently get - counselors, etc. Inte ...more
Deborah
Sep 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Interesting book written by a friend of mine about her experiences teaching creative writing to "lifers" in the Minnesota prison system. Lots of examples of prisoners work and also a lot of arguments for teaching liberal arts to prison inmates. Tricky business. She makes good arguments for teaching in prisons. I think anyone working or volunteering in the prison system should read it.
Jim Marshall
Oct 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What place should literacy claim in the lives of prisoners who have little if any chance of release? How can the teaching of critical reading and creative writing enhance the lived lives of those prisoners? What outcomes can be expected? How will we know that we are making a meaningful difference in their lives? Ten years ago Deborah Appleman went to a nearby high security prison for men in order to find answers to these questions, or rather, to fine tune the questions themselves. A Distinguishe ...more
Krista Rolfzen Soukup
Apr 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Your next book club pick. This book should be read, discussed and kept on your shelf. Appleman, a highly accomplished college professor delivers a book that pulls us right into the world of our incarceration system and invokes us to reconsider how we view the criminals and their level of humanity. With consideration to the victims of horrific crimes, we are invited to ponder the general benefit to our society in bringing higher level creative writing instruction to those behind bars for life. It ...more
Lin Salisbury
Dec 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
As Deborah Appleman enters the maximum security prison where she teaches prisoners, she hands off her license, jewelry, shoes -- all the talismans of her identity – and walks through the metal detector; one that she says puts airport security scanners to shame. Her materials are in a clear plastic book bag and her right hand is stamped with invisible ink, which will be scanned with a fluorescent light on her way out to make sure that a cross-dressing imposter is not trying to escape. This is the ...more
Jeff Wilhelm
Sep 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow, wow, wow! I highly recommend this book to all. I've recently read THE NEW JIM CROW, AN AMERICAN MARRIAGE, and THE MEN WE REAP. This book finally gave me hope. Deb Appleman is a possibilist – and her work is an exploration of possibility in the most oppressive of circumstances: she works to build literacy in a maximum security prison. She explores the transformative possibilities of literacy – and its limits, of how we can teach for possibility and transformation . . .

Favorite quote: "A per
...more
sami
Feb 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I found this read fantastic. I loved how Deborah Appleman wove theory, story, and humanity (both her own and her students') together. I particularly loved reading the stories of her students and the moments of total humanness within her stories of teaching them.

“Perhaps, in the end, there can be no more worthwhile endeavor than helping to create the conditions under which an individual can reclaim his sense of self and therefore his humanity."
Jean
Sep 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a book that can startle and provoke thoughts and beliefs toward the incarcerated. Most of us believe that those convicted of crimes are justly being punished for their deeds. We don’t, for the most part, think of them beyond that. We don’t credit them with individual lives with families and human feelings like the rest of us.
Deborah Appleman presents us with a window into the personal world and experiences of her incarcerated students. Her students share their personal stories through t
...more
Mathew Murphy
Aug 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book offers a long-awaited commentary on education in prisons. I particularly appreciated the opportunity Appleman offered to her incarcerated students to express themselves. As one prisoner wrote, "I wish I had done this learning sooner. I've never had the opportunity to be introspective before, and that has been life-changing." I thank Ms. Appleman for bringing this important issue to our attention and giving her incarcerated students a voice. I hope many people read this book!
Kathleen A.
Sep 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Debra Appleman presents a well-documented, balanced and comprehensive picture of educating one of society’s most challenging populations. Her insights have application across learning environments as well. She skillfully brings her text to life by her inclusion of student work and life stories. A captivating, provocative and enlightening read!
Shari
Nov 22, 2019 rated it liked it
Not what I expected at all. I thought it would be more about the 70% of prisoners who struggle to read.
Deedee Cummings
rated it it was amazing
Dec 27, 2019
Cynthia Lewis
rated it it was amazing
Sep 30, 2019
Kenneth Bernoska
rated it really liked it
Jan 30, 2020
Emily
rated it really liked it
Nov 10, 2020
Sherry Edens
rated it liked it
Aug 16, 2020
Deborah Author
rated it it was amazing
Nov 03, 2020
Sarah
rated it liked it
Aug 02, 2019
Sara Stacy
rated it liked it
Nov 18, 2019
Julia
rated it really liked it
Jan 08, 2020
Melanie Markman
rated it it was amazing
Sep 14, 2019
Laura
rated it really liked it
Dec 16, 2019
Amanda
rated it liked it
Aug 12, 2019
Emily Rothfus
rated it really liked it
Aug 06, 2019
Meadow Jane Wiggington
rated it really liked it
Aug 29, 2019
Kristal Jaaskelainen
rated it really liked it
Nov 04, 2020
Jenny
rated it really liked it
Oct 07, 2019
Meg Blazewski
rated it liked it
Dec 30, 2019
Rose Peterson
rated it liked it
Mar 19, 2020
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Line of Glory
  • The Transformation of Chastity James
  • Lillian's Legacy
  • Beloved Over All: Historical Fiction
  • The Sons of Philo Gaines
  • The Notorious Life of Ned Buntline: A Tale of Murder, Betrayal, and the Creation of Buffalo Bill
  • My Grandmother's Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Mending of Our Bodies and Hearts
  • Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland
  • The Getaway
  • The Berenstain Bears Just Grin and Bear It!: Wisdom from Bear Country
  • We Were There on the Oregon Trail
  • Pet
  • How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy
  • How We Fight For Our Lives
  • The Rainbow Fish
  • Who Will I Be?
  • She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement
  • The Day the Crayons Quit
See similar books…
8 followers
Deborah Appleman is the Hollis L. Caswell professor of educational studies and director of the Summer Writing Program at Carleton College. Professor Appleman’s recent research has focused on teaching college-level language and literature courses at the Minnesota Correctional Facility-Stillwater for inmates who are interested in pursuing post-secondary education.

Deborah recently edited an anthology
...more

Related Articles

If you haven't heard of record-smashing singer and songwriter Mariah Carey, is there any hope for you? Who else has sold more than 200 million...
58 likes · 23 comments