Jewell Parker Rhodes again finds a way to convey a nuanced understanding of racial realities for middle grade readers. To pick just one moment: there’s a scene where the sport of fencing is used as a metaphor to explain a racially charged juvenile delinquency hearing that is so skillfully written and moving and insightful that it is simply unforgettable. Recommended By Keith M., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
From award-winning and bestselling author, Jewell Parker Rhodes comes a powerful coming-of-age story about two brothers, one who presents as white, the other as black, and the complex ways in which they are forced to navigate the world, all while training for a fencing competition.
Framed. Bullied. Disliked. But I know I can still be the best.
Sometimes, 12-year-old Donte wishes he were invisible. As one of the few black boys at Middlefield Prep, most of the students don't look like him. They don't like him either. Dubbing him "Black Brother," Donte's teachers and classmates make it clear they wish he were more like his lighter-skinned brother, Trey.
When he's bullied and framed by the captain of the fencing team, "King" Alan, he's suspended from school and arrested for something he didn't do.
Terrified, searching for a place where he belongs, Donte joins a local youth center and meets former Olympic fencer Arden Jones. With Arden's help, he begins training as a competitive fencer, setting his sights on taking down the fencing team captain, no matter what.
As Donte hones his fencing skills and grows closer to achieving his goal, he learns the fight for justice is far from over. Now Donte must confront his bullies, racism, and the corrupt systems of power that led to his arrest.
Powerful and emotionally gripping, Black Brother, Black Brother is a careful examination of the school-to-prison pipeline and follows one boy's fight against racism and his empowering path to finding his voice.
"Donte's story is a good primer for younger readers on microaggressions." School Library Journal
"An excellent selection for both elementary and middle library collections, this is a title that celebrates finding one's place in the world." School Library Connection (Starred Review)
"Placing biracial boyhood and the struggles of colorism at its center, the novel challenges readers to pursue their own self-definition." Kirkus
About the Author
Jewell Parker Rhodes is the author of Ninth Ward, winner of a Coretta Scott King Honor, Sugar, winner of the Jane Addams Children's Book Award, and the New York Times-bestselling Ghost Boys. She has also written many award-winning novels for adults. When she's not writing, Jewell visits schools to talk about her books and teaches writing at Arizona State University.