The Little Book of Youth Engagement in Restorative Justice

Intergenerational Partnerships for Just and Equitable Schools

Evelín Aquino, Anita Wadhwa, Heather Bligh Manchester

Other Publisher

Softcover, 144 pp., ISBN 9781680997484, Skyhorse Publishing (Good Books), 2021



The purpose of this book is to illuminate a theory of youth engagement in restorative justice that seeks to create systems change for more equitable schools. The authors define youth engagement in restorative justice as partnering with young people most impacted by structural injustice as changemakers in all aspects of restorative practices including community building, healing, and the transformation of institutions. Based on Adam Fletcher’s version of the Ladder of Youth Engagement, coupled with Barbara Love’s model of liberatory consciousness and an analysis of youth engagement in Restorative Justice in three different regions—Western Massachusetts, Oakland, and Houston—the authors provide a theoretical contribution: Youth Engagement in Restorative Justice grounded in liberatory consciousness.

In this book readers will find:

  • Comparative case studies from different parts of the country of youth led restorative justice programs.
  • An exploration of the cultural and historical context of each region to situate the work.
  • Stories from the authors’ own lives that provide context for their interest in the work given their varied racial identities (White, Black, Latinx, South Asian) and upbringing.
  • Literature review of the language of youth engagement vs. youth leadership/youth organizing/youth participation, along with a new definition of youth engagement in restorative justice.
  • Theoretical framing based on Adam Fletcher’s Ladder of Youth Engagement , which provides a structure for the book.
  • Exploration of how adults must combat adultism both individually and systematically as a prerequisite to doing this work.
  • Student narratives.
  • Applications of the work in the virtual context.

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