Sunday, April 18, 2021

Black Brother, Black Brother by Jewell Parker Rhodes - ESSENTIAL

Black Brother, Black Brother
by Jewell Parker Rhodes
, 239 pages. Little, Brown and Company, 2020. $17 

Language: G (0 swears. 0 'f'); Mature Content: G; Violence: PG (Bullying). 



12yo Donte is attending a premier private school in Boston with his 9th grade brother Trey. The brothers are biracial, with Trey looking more like his white father, and Donte more like his mother's family. Trey never gets in trouble, Donte does all the time - and it's unwarranted. When a teacher blames Donte for throwing a pencil in class (he didn't) and Donte is given detention, things escalate and Donte is arrested and charged with delinquency. One particular student, Alan, is the star of the fencing team, but bullies Donte. Donte wants to learn to fence, and maybe dethrone the king of the school at his own game. 

Rhodes writes for middle readers so well. I loved the sports element, and learning about fencing, Alexander Dumas, and racism even on the Olympic level. Donte's parents were supportive and involved - his mother is an attorney and represented Donte in court. How tragic for two brothers to have such different life experiences simply because of the color of their skin. An exciting and fast read with a great message. 

Lisa Librarian

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