Each One Teaches One!

KnuckleHead Publishing is an initiative that seeks to inspire young and old alike. Each book purchase allows Project KnuckleHead to to provide a free book to an incarcerated or “at-risk” youth. 


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Follow Amir’s transformative journey through the trilogy of challenges that molded him into an agent of change. In the first chronicle, he rebounds from incarceration and expulsion from school, managing to escape the systems devastating his community. For the next 12 years, the underdog attends leading universities across the country and earns five college degrees. Finally, Amir travels to 30 countries before his 30th birthday, broadening his perspective on the world and humanity.

Book One— Origins

During the first 19 years of his life, Amir is engulfed in a war without realizing it. Poverty and the War on Drugs entrap his neighborhood in a cycle of addiction, incarceration, and chaos. Dominating the drug trade at age 15 brings the world to his fingertips—until he and his mother are arrested in a police raid. Amir struggles through the rest of his teenage years after being kicked out of school and lured back into the Trap. A battle to rise above an inner-city warzone plagued with drugs, violence, and death transforms him into a resilient young man--one difficult lesson at a time. Follow this hard-fought journey of a boy with an unrelenting desire to overcome the odds.

Book Two— Million: Money on my Mind

Miraculously completing high school after being expelled, Amir reluctantly enrolls in community college. After his thirst for knowledge is awakened, he doubles his high school GPA and plunges into a 12-year educational voyage across the country. In the process, Amir graduates from the top public university in New Jersey, receives his law degree from Florida’s leading university in Miami, and obtains a doctorate in Los Angeles from one of the nation’s top 25 universities. By the time he completes his fifth college degree, Amir discovers education’s power to take him anywhere and allow him to do anything. But his lifelong passion to understand the world comes with a hefty consequence: a student debt bill close to a million dollars.

Book Three— Street Traveler

As a 22-year-old college student, Amir becomes the first person from his neighborhood to obtain a passport. An opportunity to visit Africa unleashes an addiction to traveling and culture shock that changes him forever. He becomes obsessed with a goal to visit 30 countries before his 30th birthday, and embarks on an eye-opening quest throughout all corners of the globe. Realizing he does not know how to travel, he relies on "street smarts" to escape danger, explore forbidden places, and survive on a few dollars a day. Curiosity leads him to intriguing destinations across Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean. In the process, Amir uncovers priceless life lessons through encounters with some of the quirkiest and most inspirational people in the world. 

"Drugs were the through line of Whitaker’s childhood, and when he turned fifteen crack addicts would become his clients…Whitaker was perhaps not the archetypal drug dealer: in between crack sales, he’d read poetry and fiction…Whitaker’s story had an unusual resolution. Through a combination of grit and his self-described “thirst for knowledge,” he managed to finish high school. He then earned bachelor’s degree from Rutgers, a doctorate in educational psychology from the University of Southern California, and then, two years ago, a law degree from the University of Miami. Today, he is a staff attorney at the Southern Poverty Law Center in Florida, and the founder of Project KnuckleHead, a nonprofit for young people ensnared in the juvenile-justice system"

-The New Yorker


Dr. Amir Whitaker Esq. 

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Amir is an educator and civil rights attorney on a mission to inspire people with his story. As an author, he aims to foster hope, awareness, and multicultural appreciation through his writing. His work is a continuation of Project KnuckleHead, a nonprofit organization he started that empowers youth around the world.

Often referred to as “Dr. KnuckleHead,” Amir was introduced to the criminal justice system as a child when he visited both his mother and father in prison. At age 15, Amir himself was arrested and entered the juvenile justice system. Later, problems at school eventually led to him being kicked out. Despite these hardships, Amir went on to complete five college degrees, visit 30 countries before turning 30 years old, and become one of America’s leading social change agents.

As a civil rights lawyer, Amir has negotiated settlements and educational policy changes that have improved the lives of 100,000+ children across the country. He has also taught all grade levels—from kindergarten to college—in a variety of educational settings for more than a decade, and has held teaching certifications in Florida, California, and New Jersey. He has delivered captivating keynote speeches to thousands, and written columns and op-eds for leading newspapers across the country. Email Amir at to book a speaking event (free with minimum book purchase).

Amir’s first book is an autobiographical trilogy entitled The KnuckleHead’s Guide to Escaping the Trap. This abridged compilation follows Amir’s transformational journey through the many challenges that have molded him into an agent of change. The first installment, Origins, takes place during Amir’s adolescence—as he is unknowingly engulfed in a war. This first-hand account of the devastating impacts of poverty, mass incarceration, the War on Drugs, and the School-to-Prison Pipeline chronicles a youth with an unrelenting desire to overcome the odds.

The second installment—Million: Money on my Mind, follows Amir as he pushes himself to double his high school GPA, and dive into a 12-year college career that takes him across the country. In the process, he earns five degrees from some of the nation’s leading institutions.

Street Traveler is the final book in the trilogy. It follows Amir’s quest to visit 30 countries before his thirtieth birthday. He uses his “street smarts” to escape danger and explore intriguing destinations across Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean. The travels help shape Amir’s world view and introduce him to unforgettable characters around the globe.