All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
While recovering in the hospital, Rashad struggles to come to terms with this tragedy and his father’s harsh response to it. Quinn, despite initial attempts to ignore what happened to Rashad, finds that the incident has awakened in him a new sense of social responsibility. Meanwhile, on the boys’ high school campus, a groundswell of activism begins to emerge.
In the final scene, the names of unarmed Black Americans who have died at the hands of police officers are read aloud. I wept as I read this final scene, the list of names going on and on, the fictional story morphing into the tragic reality of so many Black Americans.
All American Boys, which received multiple starred reviews, is written in a style that is easily accessible to both teen and advanced middle grade readers and simply begs group discussion. I highly recommend this book.
Reviewed by Lorene Forman
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