No Choirboy: Murder, Violence, and Teenagers on Death Row

Susan Kuklin

Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)

No Choirboy takes readers inside America’s prisons, and allows inmates sentenced to death as teenagers to speak for themselves. In their own voices—raw and uncensored—they talk about their lives in prison, and share their thoughts and feelings about how they ended up there. Susan Kuklin also gets inside the system, exploring capital punishment itself and the intricacies and inequities of criminal justice in the United States.

This is a searing, unforgettable read, and one that could change the way we think about crime and punishment. No Choirboy: Murder, Violence, and Teenagers on Death Row is a 2009 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.


Read an Excerpt

No Choirboy

Decatur, Alabama,

August 12, 1993

Kevin Gardner was not home, even though it was way past his ­eleven-­o’clock curfew. Kevin was a good kid, and it was unusual for him to stay out late without calling to let his parents know where he was. When he didn’t show up the next morning, his father called the police.

That same night a police officer had received a dispatch to meet some individuals at Cedar Lake. They had discovered a body. It was Kevin’s.

Before long, the focus of the investigation turned to Kevin’s friend Roy



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  • Susan Kuklin

  • Susan Kuklin is the author of nonfiction books for young adults and children. She is also a professional photographer whose photographs have appeared in Time, Newsweek, and The New York Times. She and her husband live in New York City.
  • Susan Kuklin Bailey Kuklin
    Susan Kuklin


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No Choirboy: Murder, Violence, and Teenagers on Death Row

Susan Kuklin

Texas TAYSHAS High School Reading List, School Library Journal Best Books of the Year, American Library Association Best Books for Young Adults, American Library Association Quick Picks for Reluctant Young, NCSS-CBC Notable Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies, CPL: Chicago Public Library Best of the Best, Kansas State Reading Circle, IRA Notable Books for a Global Society, CCBC Choice (Univ. of WI), NYPL Stuff for the Teen Age, Kentucky Blue Grass Award Master List, Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year, James Cook Book Award Honoree, Rhode Island Children's Book Award Master List