This summer, Mona Alvarado Frazier uses her thirty-year career of working with incarcerated youth to paint a powerful picture of the juvenile criminal justice system, the importance of education, and the challenges faced by low-income families. THE GARDEN OF SECOND CHANCES (June 6, SparkPress, STEP scholarship winner) follows 17-year-old undocumented mother Juana as she is wrongfully incarcerated. Navigating gangs and prison rules in a correctional facility almost drowns her in despair, anger and depression until she creates a prison garden where she finds the strength to advocate for herself and maintain her humanity.

If you’d like to feature THE GARDEN OF SECOND CHANCES at your next book club event, feel free to use these questions as a discussion guide:

  1. What surprised you most about the book?
  2. What scene has stuck with you?
  3. Were there any quotes (or passages) that stood out to you? Why?
  4. How did the book make you feel? What emotions did it evoke?
  5. Was there symbolism present? If so, what did you think of the message the author was trying to convey?
  6. Did the book change your opinion about anything, or did you learn something new from it? If so, what?
  7. What are your thoughts on what happens next to the main characters?
  8. Did this book cause you to gain a new perspective?
  9. What is the significance of the title? Did you find it meaningful? Why or why not?
  10. If you could ask the author one question about the book, what would it be?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: After decades of working with incarcerated youth and raising three creative kids as a single parent, Mona Alvarado Frazier is now fulfilling her passions of writing and traveling. When not doing either of those she’s reading, volunteering, watching K-dramas, and tending the family’s two cats and her succulent gardens. Mona’s short stories are published in the University of Nevada, Reno anthology Basta! Latinas Against Gender Violence and Palabritas, a Harvard literary journal. She is a member of SCBWI and Macondo Writers and a cofounder of LatinxPitch, a Twitter event. She is a 2021 Mentee of Las Musas Latinx children’s literature collective, and resides in Oxnard, California.