Considering the current events in the United States, it is necessary now more than ever for parents to take the time to educate their children about racism, police brutality, and how they can dismantle systemic racism by undoing racial biases within themselves. Ghost Boys illustrates those messages perfectly for the middle-grade audience. It could be a difficult book to read through. If your child is capable of digesting heavy topics through fiction, we recommend that you read this with them and then use the discussion questions at the back of the book for parent/child discussion.
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.
The Author, 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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