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The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed

The Black Kids (edition 2020)

by Christina Hammonds Reed (Author)

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804251,256 (4.13)None
Title:The Black Kids
Authors:Christina Hammonds Reed (Author)
Info:Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (2020), Edition: Illustrated, 368 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed



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Ashley has lived a life of privilege in LA. Her parents have a big house, she goes to a good school, and has great expectations for the future. If there's been any difficulties in being the only black family in their neighborhood and the only non-scholarship black kid in school Ashley hasn't let herself think about it much. That's what her "passionate" older sister Jo does. During the trial of the cops who beat Rodney King and the riots that follow, Ashley starts to reassess her situation. This novel is funny and heartbreaking and really captures an era. I loved every page. ( )
1 vote ManWithAnAgenda | Sep 10, 2020 |
Set in 1992, Christina Hammonds Reed’s debut novel, is as relevant today as 1992 when the novel is set in Los Angeles. Ashley is a privileged Black teenager looking forward to graduating from high school. She’s been able to do things many other Black kids. Then the police officers who on are trial for beating Rodney King are acquitted, and she is forced to reexamine who she is. This is a story of personal growth during a time when justice did not seem possible for all…so it’s very relevant today. Its also a story of friendship and taking responsibility. ( )
  brangwinn | Aug 6, 2020 |
Ashley Bennett has lived a luxurious life in an upper class Los Angeles neighborhood. However, as the school year winds down and a local man, Rodney King is murdered, Ashley is forced to reevaluate how she views herself and her peers. At first, Ashley the Rodney King murder is barely a blip on Ashley's radar, although after the verdict is delivered and the protests and riots begin, Ashley begins to see a difference in the way she and her family are treated. She is not just any girl at her high school, she is one of the black kids.
The Black Kids is so on point and perfectly written that I want everyone to read this book immediately. Honest, poignant, and driven, the writing had me hooked from the beginning; it was eerie how the events of the very first chapter seemed to perfectly echo the current events of the USA. I liked that Ashley's character was not the typical 'black kid' of the time and had to experience the consequences of the Rodney King murder to realize the truth of how her race effects her daily life. Through Ashley's eyes I experienced the blatant racism and sexism that was as rampant in 1992 as it is now. The prose also perfectly captured the wonders of being a teen along with the nostalgia of the early 1990's. Ashley's journey had great revelations about racism and the weight of representing her race in a white world, as well as understanding of poverty, friendship and growing up. The consequences of the Rodney King verdict and the subsequent riots were a turning point in Ashley's view of herself and her life, opening up her eyes and my own to see just how long people of color have been vigilantly fighting against systemic racism in the USA and highlighting the cycle of racism, unjust killing, protest and unrest until we put a bandage on the current issue until we forget about what caused the previous issue. The Black Kids is a must-read for everyone who wants to better understand the world we live in.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review. ( )
1 vote Mishker | Jul 29, 2020 |
Literary Merit: Excellent
Characterization: Excellent
Recommend: Highly
Level: High School

This is such an important book and I hope it finds just as many readers as The Hate U Give does. I think this book continues that conversation, and adds more layers to it. I will try to do this book's review justice, but there is a lot more that I am not the best person to comment on. I recommend watching Debut Who with Christina Hammonds Reed and Nic Stone as they discuss her writing this book.

Set during the Rodney King riots in LA, Ashley goes to a school with wealthy white kids who she has learned to blend in with. She experiences constant microagressions by her childhood friends but is also protected by her well off upbringing. She is bound by the expectations her school and family have for her, even if they are well meaning, as she tries to navigate her world. The riots are what cause Ashely to reexamine who she is as a Black girl and all of her relationships with her family, friends, classmates, and community. She learns how actions have consequences that are personal, financial, and more. Ashley is figuring out what role she wants to play versus what is expected of her in her family and social circles. The conversations in this book are important, and will hopefully prompt readers to have these conversations in their homes. These conversations are demonstrated among multiple generations in Ashely's family, her friends, neighbors, school, and community. I think a lot of teens, and adults, will relate to this book on many personal levels. This book is unfortunately still incredibly timely as those in our country is still protesting police brutality. It demonstrates that being an ally is an ongoing process. This story shows there are allies who act only when convenient or just when it affects them, and it needs to be viewed intersectional and being advocates taking stronger action. Ashley goes through her own growth and how she wants to handle her relationships. I hope white readers like myself can learn from the negative examples of her friends so we can do our own work to be good advocates. There is a lot to this book and it is more than I could put in a review, and again, don't just take it from me here as I stumble around my words right after reading. There is a lot more work needs to happen to fix the problems they protested against in this book and people are still protesting against now, and this book is an important part of that. ( )
1 vote SWONroyal | Jun 29, 2020 |
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