Punching the air

by Zoboi, Ibi Aanu,

Format: Kindle Book 2020 2020
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From award-winning, bestselling author Ibi Zoboi and prison reform activist Yusef Salaam of the Exonerated Five comes a powerful YA novel in verse about a boy who is wrongfully incarcerated. Perfect for fans of Jason Reynolds, Walter Dean Myers, and Elizabeth Acevedo. The story that I thought was my life didn't start on the day I was born Amal Shahid has always been an artist and a poet. But even in a diverse art school, he's seen as disruptive and unmotivated by a biased system. Then one fateful night, an altercation in a gentrifying neighborhood escalates into tragedy. "Boys just being boys" turns out to be true only when those boys are white. The story that I think will be my life starts today Suddenly, at just sixteen years old, Amal's bright future is upended: he is convicted of a crime he didn't commit and sent to prison. Despair and rage almost sink him until he turns to the refuge of his words, his art. This never should have been his story. But can he change it? With spellbinding lyricism, award-winning author Ibi Zoboi and prison reform activist Yusef Salaam tell a moving and deeply profound story about how one boy is able to maintain his humanity and fight for the truth, in a system designed to strip him of both.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "A single punch leads to a fight between Amal and his friends--all Black--and a group of white boys from a gentrifying part of his neighborhood. Amal is found guilty of assault while his friends are given plea deals. All are sent to prison, while the white boys involved are not charged at all. In prison, Amal gets a stark education on how unjust the justice system is as he witnesses guards abusing their power, administrators carelessly ignoring the welfare of the imprisoned as if their lives are disposable, and the avenues of "rehabilitation" proving to be decrepit and empty. Only Amal's painting and poetry allow him to withstand the torture of physical beatings and solitary confinement. Zoboi worked with prison reform activist Yusef Salaam to create Amal's story in verse. Yusef himself was a victim of wrongful incarceration when he and four other young men were convicted of a crime they did not commit. His experiences lend a visceral gravitas to Zoboi's pen, and together they capture Amal's emotional struggles as he grasps for hope despite his circumstances. Moreover, they accurately depict the justice system as an engine fine-tuned to crush the urban poor and young Black men in particular. Prescient and sobering, Zoboi's book is a vital story for young readers in a tumultuous time."
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Zoboi (Pride) and Salaam (one of the Exonerated Five) together craft a powerful indictment of institutional racism and mass incarceration through the imagined experience of Amal, a Black, Muslim 16-year-old facing imprisonment. Amal, a gifted artist and poet attending a prestigious fine arts high school, has his life turned upside down when a nighttime park confrontation leaves a white kid from the other side "of that invisible line/ we weren't supposed to cross" in a coma, and Amal and his four friends on the hook for assault and battery they did not commit. Using free verse, Zoboi and Salaam experiment with style, structure, and repetition to portray "old soul" Amal's struggle to hold on to his humanity through the chaotic, often dehumanizing experience of juvenile incarceration. From the trial onward, the authors liken the pervasive imprisonment of Black bodies to the history of chattel slavery in America ("and this door leads to a slave ship/ and maybe jail"), and describe how educational racism feeds Black students into the school-to-prison pipeline ("I failed the class/ she failed me"). Zoboi and Salaam deliver an unfiltered perspective of the anti-Blackness upholding the U.S. criminal justice system through the eyes of a wrongly convicted Black boy ("shaping me into/ the monster/ they wanted me to be"). Ages 14--up. Agent (for Zoboi and Salaam): Ammi-Joan Paquette, Erin Murphy Literary. (Sept.)"
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Additional Information
Subjects African Americans Fiction
Young Adult Fiction
Young Adult Literature
Electronic books.
Novels in verse.
Young adult fiction.
Publisher [Place of publication not identified] :Balzer + Bray2020
Contributors Salaam, Yusef, author.
OverDrive, Inc.
Audience Young adult
Language English
System Details Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Format: Adobe EPUB eBook
Format: Kindle Book
Format: OverDrive Read
Requires Adobe Digital Editions or Amazon Kindle
Description 1 online resource
ISBN 9780062996503
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