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Shine a Light teaches the digital arts to marginalized children all over Latin America, so that their communities can come to see themselves -- and show themselves -- in a new light.

Tolstoy Kicks Ass!

Tolstoy Kicks Ass!

New York street kids. Book Thieves. Would be revolutionaries. 

A portrait of a world that lives right next to our own, but that few of us are privileged to see.

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They didn’t even need to discuss their plan; it was always the same.  Sitting on the floor of the bookstore to hide from the security cameras, Z put the novels in his Guatemalan backpack, wrapping them with their few clothes to hide the sharp corners.  He browsed through the New Fiction section by the front door while Rai hung around the New York Books, only a couple of feet from the guard who monitored the electronic alarm.  They both kept an eye out for people getting ready to leave the store.

They saw the tourists at the same time.  Clearly from out of town, they carried enough shopping bags to fill a small mall in Peoria.  Z stepped beside them, timing his steps so he would pass through the alarm at exactly the same moment they did.  At the same time, Rai stepped up to the guard.  “Could you tell me where the section on Tantric sex is?” she asked with an insistent voice. 

The guard turned a little red.  “Um, second floor.  You just–”  The alarm sounded.  The tourists stopped in a flurry of confusion and paper bags.  The guard turned to the door; Rai tapped him on the shoulder to get his attention again.  Z walked on calmly.

“Where?”  Rai insisted. “Left or right?”

“Uh, left.  Left from the escalator.”  Then he turned to the tourists.  “I’m sorry, I’m going to have to look through–”

“Thanks,” Rai said, and headed for the escalator.

“–your bags.  Would you please step over here?”  He examined each carefully; by the time the guard had searched the brown bag from Bloomingdales, Z was in the entrance to the subway station, ready to read their stolen books.


And thus begins one of the most compelling and unexpected explorations of life on the streets of New York City.

Buy it as an eBook on Amazon today!

All proceeds go directly to Shine a Light's work with marginalized children in Brazil.

Kurt Shaw has added his two kopecks to the Russian tradition of somewhat insane narrators whose existential quests are wrought with unnerving clarity... [It] moves at a terrifying pace as the compelling street-dwelling main character, Rai, begins to break down. There were moments, at the end, where I was brought so close into Rai’s mind I flashed to A Brilliant Mind—what is real and what is the product of an overly intelligent girl living in extreme conditions?

[A] poignant and realistic look into the strange, terrifying, and yet sometimes illustrative and even joyful world of NYC street kids.
— Seth Biderman, Amazon Reviews