Brother, Father, Uncle and Mentor.


As a boy, Carmen Garner was confronted by every conceivable human ill — poverty, drugs, sickness, violence, racism — He moved 17 times, between relatives in the projects and foster care. He lost all of those he held most dear to AIDS, crack cocaine and incarceration. From this, Garner drew not despair, but strength. Confronted by ignorance, he turned to knowledge, the first in his family to go to college.

As a man, Carmen Garner grew to discover that his character – battle hardened – could be used as a tool to reach out, to connect with young people. As a Public School teacher in inner-city Washington DC, Garner learned the power of his hard earned perspective, recognizing the raw potential in his students, and teaching them, above all things, that they have worth and talent and ability — the future made sacred in his classroom. Garner’s remarkable journey is told herein, in words, pictures and paintings.

Now, standing tall as the first in his family to graduate from college, Garner is a veteran Washington DC Public School teacher who has served as brother, father, uncle and mentor to thousands of inner-city school children. Now, in Choosing to be Better, Not Bitter, Garner again brings to the page his unique blend of street smarts, wrenching experience and an appreciation for how deep the scars within can run. Featuring original artwork by the author, Garner now seeks to help others overcome anger and ignorance — to heal young people through words and compassion. Choosing to be Better, Not Bitter is Carmen Garner’s second bibliotherapy book. His first book, From That to This: A Strategy Guide, first appeared in 2013, is now widely available in paperback.