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All American Boys
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that All American Boys, by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely, is an eye-opening view of a brutal assault by a police officer on an innocent 16-year-old boy as seen through the alternating perspectives of the abused and a teen witness to his beating. It was named a 2016 Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book. There's racial tension, and violence includes a boy beaten by an adult (with severe injuries described), fights between boys, and threats. There's also positive activism in the face of brutality, which should inspire tweens and teens. Some strong language includes "s--t" and f--k."
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Rashad and Quinn are teens living in the shadows of both of their fathers' reputations and expectations when one night changes them both forever. Each boy must decide what kind of life he will live going forward, as the shock waves of a police beating shake them and everyone around them to the core.
Is it any good?
This breathtakingly honest, artfully written, emotionally smart look at lives rocked by police brutality; it moves beyond headlines, hashtags, and stereotypes. It tells the story of two ALL AMERICAN BOYS whom readers will love and cry for as the teens are forced to grow up fast following the violent incident.
The authors take readers on a journey with two fun, likable, and acutely emotionally aware teen boys as they navigate their own sense of morality even when the adults around them are often unable to or cannot give clear guidance. The alternating narratives are brilliantly written, allowing readers to deeply feel, see, taste, smell, and experience the world through Rashad and Quinn's eyes during this snapshot in time. It is an intimate, hopeful, frightening, and necessary experience. Readers are going to fall in love with these all-American boys.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the way incidents of police brutality are portrayed in the media. The novel shows a clear case of right and wrong; however, some characters still seem unwilling or unable to see past bias. How do you see that same circumstance played out in the media?
Families also can talk about the "talks" your parents give you about safety and about how to conduct yourself when you're on your own versus the "talk" Rashad receives from his father. What is different between your family and his? How does that affect the messages you receive about interactions on the street?
Finally, families can talk about activism and teens. Often adults tell kids to wait until they're older to get involved in politics, protests, and the like. Give three examples of what kids can do to be active in their communities when they feel passionately about a cause and how adults can help rather than hold back.
- Authors: Jason Reynolds, Brendan Kiely
- Genre: Contemporary Fiction
- Topics: Friendship, Great Boy Role Models, High School
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Atheneum
- Publication date: September 29, 2015
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 18
- Number of pages: 320
- Available on: Paperback, Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Award: Coretta Scott King Medal and Honors
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.