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Ghost Boys

by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,1196818,043 (4.34)8
Juvenile Fiction. Juvenile Literature. Historical Fiction. HTML:A heartbreaking and powerful story about a black boy killed by a police officer, drawing connections through history, from award-winning author Jewell Parker Rhodes.
Only the living can make the world better. Live and make it better.
Twelve-year-old Jerome is shot by a police officer who mistakes his toy gun for a real threat. As a ghost, he observes the devastation that's been unleashed on his family and community in the wake of what they see as an unjust and brutal killing.
Soon Jerome meets another ghost: Emmett Till, a boy from a very different time but similar circumstances. Emmett helps Jerome process what has happened, on a journey towards recognizing how historical racism may have led to the events that ended his life. Jerome also meets Sarah, the daughter of the police officer, who grapples with her father's actions.
Once again Jewell Parker Rhodes deftly weaves historical and socio-political layers into a gripping and poignant story about how children and families face the complexities of today's world, and how one boy grows to understand American blackness in the aftermath of his own death.
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» See also 8 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 68 (next | show all)
Read this book for a class, and I could talk for an hour or more about this book and all it has to say. It made me feel so many feelings and it's definitely a heavy one that doesn't tread lightly and isn't afraid to discuss heavy-hitting topics. ( )
  NovaQueen27 | Jan 11, 2024 |
Black 12 year old Jerome is playing with a toy gun in his street when he is shot dead by a white cop. He becomes a ghost and sees his family grieving but he also notices many other ghost boys like himself wandering the streets because they have died unjustly. Jerome also makes friends with an unlikely ally, the daughter of the cop who can see him, and who believes her father was in the wrong. But it is the story of the oldest ghost boy Emmett Till, that shakes Jerome to the core...
Partly based on the true story of the lynching of Emmett Till and unjust shootings of black youths, this is a harrowing book for younger readers about a serious issue in the United States. ( )
  nicsreads | Nov 12, 2023 |
Representation: Black main character
Trigger warnings: Grief and loss depiction, death of a child, gun violence, blood depiction

6/10, after reading this author's previous work last year about that one terrorist attack that happened around 20 years ago and not enjoying it I decided to give her one last shot with her new book but alas, it was no better than the last since I found some issues in this despite its promising premise so where do I begin. It starts off with a horrific event when the main character Jerome was shot and killed by a police officer because he thought his toy gun was real and then it takes a turn. Jerome is now a ghost looking over the world after his death and I've seen books like this before but at least this author knows how to make a ghost story actually original, anyways soon he meets another ghost named Emmett Till who is like him in a way. Not to mention that this book feels kind of fast paced but due to the fact that this is only around 200 pages I think it was a forced decision, not long after a character called Sarah meets Jerome and it looks like she plays a critical role in this since she after seeing Jerome die might stop more acts like this but I just can't connect to the characters. Towards the end there was a court case where the police officer got away with it which I didn't like and nothing much happens other than that. ( )
  Law_Books600 | Nov 3, 2023 |
I like the message (living must make the world better), but it's a harrowing journey. I mean, of course it is. People dying, children dying, as a result of fear and systemic racism is harrowing as hell.

Also, when I don't rate a book, it doesn't mean that it's bad. Just that my emotional response to it is far more complicated than "I liked it" and I'm too literal to stick to stars defined in that way.
  jennybeast | Apr 14, 2022 |
A timely, devastating read appropriate for middle school. ( )
  Dairyqueen84 | Mar 15, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 68 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jewell Parker Rhodesprimary authorall editionscalculated
Harvey, MilesNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lawrence, MarieCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
ShutterstockIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Strickland, ShadraCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Dedicated to the belief that we can all do better, be better, live better.
We owe our best to each and every child.
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How small I look.
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Juvenile Fiction. Juvenile Literature. Historical Fiction. HTML:A heartbreaking and powerful story about a black boy killed by a police officer, drawing connections through history, from award-winning author Jewell Parker Rhodes.
Only the living can make the world better. Live and make it better.
Twelve-year-old Jerome is shot by a police officer who mistakes his toy gun for a real threat. As a ghost, he observes the devastation that's been unleashed on his family and community in the wake of what they see as an unjust and brutal killing.
Soon Jerome meets another ghost: Emmett Till, a boy from a very different time but similar circumstances. Emmett helps Jerome process what has happened, on a journey towards recognizing how historical racism may have led to the events that ended his life. Jerome also meets Sarah, the daughter of the police officer, who grapples with her father's actions.
Once again Jewell Parker Rhodes deftly weaves historical and socio-political layers into a gripping and poignant story about how children and families face the complexities of today's world, and how one boy grows to understand American blackness in the aftermath of his own death.

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