Concerned about social media, AI, and screen time?
Subscribe to our newsletter and get the best out of media and tech.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Kids will learn a little about how birds of prey hunt, about middle-distance racing and training, and a bit about college scholarships.
You have to look inside yourself to find the best version of yourself that you can be, and then you have to find the opportunities to let that best self out and "do his thing." The only person you have to win against is yourself.
Positive Role Models
Sixteen-year-old Darius is a great example of a caring, smart, mature young man who's a good role model for his younger brother. He carefully observes the world around him, listens to what others say and watches what they do, and thoughtfully arrives at the right conclusions. We see Twig only through Darius' eyes: The best friend and sounding board who's always been there for him. Twig's also smart and models friendship, loyalty, working hard to achieve your goals, and athletic achievement. Adults are mostly on the sidelines and when they're available for help or support it's not nearly enough.
Violence & Scariness
There's some gore in a brief description of a bird eating a snake. When Darius is mugged by the neighborhood bully, the scuffle and a few blows are described briefly. In turn the bully's father hits him and several punches and hits are mentioned but not described in detail. A shooting is briefly described but there's no gore. Blood from a gunshot wound is mentioned but not described.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Typical teen language includes liberal swearing. Most frequent is "f--k" and variations used a dozen times or so. Other swear words are each used half a dozen times or less and include "s--t," "s--tty," and "bulls--t;" "ass;" "crap" and "crappy;" "bitch" and "bitchy;" and "butt." "Bitching" is used positively once. "Faggot" is used three times. Describing nervousness, Darius mentions he could "feel my balls shrivel up."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
Skype, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and 7-Eleven are each mentioned once.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Darius refers to his father as drugging himself. "Crackheads" are mentioned once or twice and once a teen smells of weed.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Darius & Twig is a Coretta Scott King Award-winning addition to Walter Dean Myers' impressive pantheon. The story follows the best friends of the title during their crucial junior year of high school as they struggle for the scholarships that represent a ticket out of Harlem. It points out the many ways these young men have to swim upstream just to access higher education. It's a great starting point for thinking about the roles that the education system, the neighborhood, and the individuals play as well as the roadblocks they present. There's very little violence in the form of a couple brief descriptions of fights and a shooting. The typical teens use strong language (including "f--k," s--t," and their variations), but it's not over the top.
Is It Any Good?
Multiple-award-winning author Walter Dean Myers here presents a quiet, thoughtful study of two compelling, relatable teens as they find their way in the world against tough odds. It's a thought-provoking illustration of the many factors that contribute to making higher education difficult for so many to access. But it's mainly an uplifting story of how two young men learn to stay true to themselves and their dreams in spite of the difficulties, and especially the indifference, they face.
The language, which avoids slang and dialect while remaining firmly rooted in the nitty-gritty of daily life, occasionally soars when Darius fantasizes about birds of prey. Adults may find the metaphor a bit heavy handed, but it will resonate with teens and provides a poetic introduction to the literary device.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.