Sunday, July 29, 2018

Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes - ESSENTIAL

Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes, 224 pages. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2018. $17.

Language: PG (2 swears, 0 'f'); 
Mature Content: G; 
Violence: PG-13. 



Playing with the toy gun has deadly consequences for Jerome. He is shot by a white policeman who thinks that Jerome is an adult, not a 12-year-old, and that the gun is real. Now, he is a ghost watching the aftermath. 

 This was a very powerful story with important messages about bullying, systemic racism, poverty, gun violence and more. Shifting perspectives between before and after the shooting, the reader learns the story from both sides. Appropriate for an upper elementary reader, I was pleased with the low swear count, as well as the sensitive handling of the violence. This story would pair nicely with "A Wreath for Emmett Till". The author invites schools to use this as a classroom text and it includes resources and study questions.

Lisa Librarian

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