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Parents' Guide to

Punching the Air

By Barbara Saunders, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Jailed teen finds his voice in poignant novel in verse.

Punching the Air Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

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Is It Any Good?

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Kids say (7 ):

This book is a page-turner: emotionally true, politically astute, and beautifully written. Author Idi Zoboi collaborated on Punching the Air with Yusef Salaam, a member of the Exonerated 5 (the "Central Park 5"), Black, Latino, and Muslim young men wrongly convicted of raping and beating a White woman in New York City's Central Park. The convictions were eventually vacated. The first-person narrator speaks in verse. This provides intimacy and emotional intensity, and is effective in communicating the quality of vivid dreams and fantasies.

Black-and-white illustrations simulate the appearance of a high school kid's composition book, with sketches and doodles on the pages. There's also interesting use of the arrangement of type on the page for effect.

Book Details

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