Staff Picks: Ghost Boys

Ghost Boys

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Ghost Boys, by Jewell Parker Rhodes, follows 12 year old Jerome who lives in a poor neighborhood in Chicago, is the oldest child in a hardworking black family, gets bullied at school constantly, and is shot and killed by a police officer while playing with a toy gun. As both his own family and the family of the police officer who shot him fall apart, Jerome watches on and grapples with his own feelings. With the same carefulness and heart of other fantastic authors such as Jaqueline Woodson and Sharon Draper, the author expertly weaves an emotional tale with gentle nods to the past and present issues that Black Americans face. Though the novel is timely and powerful, the ending is a hopeful look into what can be the future. This book would be a fabulous introduction and conversation starter for the topics of racism, implicit bias, and bullying for children ages 10 and up. Children who liked Sharon Draper's Blended or Kwame Alexander's The Crossover will enjoy this powerful book.