Marshall Miles Interviews Sharon Charde, “I Am Not a Juvenile Delinquent”

A Mourning Mother, a Group of Girls, and the Power of Rehabilitative Poetry

After the death of her child, a grief-stricken psychotherapist volunteers as a poetry teacher at a residential treatment facility for “delinquent” girls. Here, their mutual support nourish and enrich each other, though not without large quantities of drama and recalcitrance. For fans of the acclaimed movies Stand and Deliver and The Freedom Writers Diary comes I Am Not a Juvenile Delinquent: How Poetry Changed a Group of At-Risk Young Women.

Learning to let go of grief and loss. The death of a child and the subsequent quest for coping strategies is hardly a new story. For psychotherapist, teacher, and writer Sharon L. Charde, a decade of writing therapy with young women helped her let go of much of her grief, or at least to learn how to carry it differently. This is her account of her journey.

Writing poetry is writing therapy. Compelling, appealing, poignant and often hilarious, I Am Not a Juvenile Delinquent chronicles the passion that grew for pushing voices out into the world. As Sharon and the girls share their losses through weekly writing, they came to realize their unlimited potential and poetic talents.

Healing from trauma. Healing can come in surprising ways across age and social class, as it did for both the girls and Sharon. But what happens when Sharon finally grasps that the most challenging experiences are the best teachers? Narrated in five parts, the book also contains poems written by the girls, as well as excerpts from their writing, Sharon’s son’s writing, and her own.

Marshall Miles Interviews Sharon Charde, “I Am Not a Juvenile Delinquent”
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