A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Miles Morales: Spider-Man, by award-winning New York Times bestselling author Jason Reynolds (As Brave as You, Ghost), is based on the half-black/half-Puerto Rican comic book character introduced in 2011 by the Ultimate Marvel imprint and is now part of the regular Marvel line. In this Marvel YA novel, Miles is a teen from the Brooklyn projects who's attending an elite prep school on scholarship. He's having a rough junior year, and he's haunted by the death of his criminal uncle. The novel tackles the subjects of responsibility and morality, teen crushes, and the prison industrial complex in a teen-friendly superhero format.
What's the story?
In MILES MORALES: SPIDER-MAN, Miles is a half-black/half-Puerto Rican teen on scholarship at an elite prep school. He still has the same issues every other high school kid has -- on top of being a web slinger. He's having trouble at school, and when his powers start to go haywire, he wonders if he really should be a hero at all, or if he should just focus on getting his school life together. When Miles discovers a dangerous plot that threatens what he holds dear, he has a decision to make. Will he continue on as Spidey? What about his scholarship? Is he really just like his criminal uncle?
Is it any good?
Clever, timely, and fun, this fresh Spider-Man story explores the real-life implications of the school-to-prison pipeline and the prison industrial complex in a way that's easy for teens to grasp. The book takes on Miles' complicated life -- school troubles, girl troubles, the secret of being Spider-Man, and the guilt he feels over his uncle's death -- and combines it with a brilliant introduction to issues regarding the prison clause of the 13th Amendment (which abolished slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime), white supremacy, and the issue of being brown in "white spaces." Reynolds is a master at making young-adult literature come alive in a way that's relatable, fully fleshed out, and significant.
Readers will love Miles' honesty, his awkwardness, his love for his friends and family, and his struggles with forces much bigger than himself. They'll root for him and cry with him and eagerly await more from the cool new Spider-Man.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the role authority figures have in boosting or crushing a kid's spirit in Miles Morales: Spider-Man. Can you give examples of when you were encouraged by a teacher? What about discouraged? How did you cope?
Families can talk about the media's portrayal of news and crime. Do you think the media unfairly reports crime from certain communities over others?
Families can also talk about the importance of support systems. How do Miles' Korean-American best friend, Ganke, Miles' dad, and his love interest, Alicia, encourage Miles when everything seems to go wrong? Who is your support system?
- Author: Jason Reynolds
- Genre: Contemporary Fiction
- Topics: Superheroes, Adventures, High School, Misfits and Underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Marvel Press
- Publication date: August 1, 2017
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 17
- Number of pages: 272
- Available on: Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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