Friday, August 12, 2016

All American Boys

Two boys are instantly linked when Quinn witnesses an a police officer beating Rashad.

It is a normal Friday afternoon for Rashad.  He stops at the corner store for a bag of chips before heading to meet his friends at party.  That's when everything goes wrong.

A misunderstanding, a judgemental cashier, a police officer who assumes he is a criminal because of the color of his skin.

The officer hauls Rashad out of the store, cuffs him, and beats him.

Quinn is coming up the alley when he hears a commotion.  As he turns the corner, he sees the older brother of his best friend, a guy who helped raise Quinn after his father died, screaming and beating a kid he recognizes from school.  What could possibly justify such violence?

This event sets off a chain reaction through the school and community.  Officer Galluzzo's family quickly rallies their family and friends to support Paul who was just doing his job to protect the community.  This includes Quinn, but he just can't shake the image of the beating.

Meanwhile, Rashad is in the hospital trying to recover physically and mentally from the attack.  It's challenging for him to see nonstop coverage in the news and they way everyone seems to be taking ownership of a personal and terrifying experience.

This timely and compelling book by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely should be required reading for teens and adults alike.  There are no pat answers and simplified conclusions here.  The only real change comes in the hearts and minds of individuals.  Grades 8 and up.  Warning:  This book contains prolific profanity.

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