Parents' Guide to

Miles Morales: Spider-Man, Book 1

By Terreece Clarke, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Exciting, smart, cool version of comic book superhero teen.

Miles Morales: Spider-Man Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 11+

Based on 5 parent reviews

age 11+
age 12+

Stereotypical conspiracy theory and race bating

I purchased this book for my son. It is one of the four books I choose for his summer reading. He choose a four others. The original Spiderman movies had heavy classism overtones. I guess one shouldn’t be surprised at the racism and classism theme of this book. Miles Morales is a biracial student on scholarship at a prep school in New York. He and his parents choose BVA hoping for a chance at a better way of life. Unfortunately, he is the target of a school to prison pipeline historical possession of his history teacher, Mr. Chamberlain who use his classroom, privilege, and power to extoll the benefits of slavery and the miscarriage of justice at the South’s of the civil war . At the end of the book, when Jefferson Davis’ ghost is killed, the history teacher, a victim of the possession continues to use his classroom to systematically spew hatred, intimidation, and coercion at the students of color and low socioeconomic status. There is no reason for Spiderman’s Character to be part of the book. The only real connection is Miles’ “Spidy-sense” going off whenever he is in Chamberlain’s class. Miles and other African American men and boys are portrayed as ungrateful, angry, irresponsible, and violent despite the success he has achieved at BVA all while trying to navigate the halls of the halls of the as a student who is scorned for being a “Sko-lo”. There is some mild language, violence, repetitive use of multiple racial slurs, negative stereotypes of African Americans, Koreans, and Southerners. Multiple conflicts are introduced and only one is resolved. I do not recommend this book unless it is read to point out the atrocities of racism, classism, the hidden failures of private schools for minorities, and the inability of high school students to have a voice and be heard.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (5):
Kids say (7):

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.

Book Details

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