Black Brother, Black Brother
by Jewell Parker Rhodes
Publication Date: Mar 03, 2020
List Price: $16.99
Format: Hardcover, 240 pages
Target Age Group: Middle Grade
Imprint: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publisher: Hachette Book Group
Parent Company: Hachette Livre
Selected the “Best Books of the Month” by Amazon, (March 2020)
From award-winning and bestselling author, Jewell Parker Rhodes comes a powerful coming-of-age story about two brothers, one who presents as white, the other as black, and the complex ways in which they are forced to navigate the world, all while training for a fencing competition.
Framed. Bullied. Disliked. But I know I can still be the best.
Sometimes, 12-year-old Donte wishes he were invisible. As one of the few black boys at Middlefield Prep, most of the students don’t look like him. They don’t like him either. Dubbing him “Black Brother,” Donte’s teachers and classmates make it clear they wish he were more like his lighter-skinned brother, Trey.
When he’s bullied and framed by the captain of the fencing team, "King" Alan, he’s suspended from school and arrested for something he didn’t do.
Terrified, searching for a place where he belongs, Donte joins a local youth center and meets former Olympic fencer Arden Jones. With Arden’s help, he begins training as a competitive fencer, setting his sights on taking down the fencing team captain, no matter what.
As Donte hones his fencing skills and grows closer to achieving his goal, he learns the fight for justice is far from over. Now Donte must confront his bullies, racism, and the corrupt systems of power that led to his arrest.
Powerful and emotionally gripping, Black Brother, Black Brother is a careful examination of the school-to-prison pipeline and follows one boy’s fight against racism and his empowering path to finding his voice.
Booklist Starred Review ★
“A profound treatise about institutional racism for the middle-grade set, Rhodes’ (Ghost Boys, 2018) latest elevates beyond simple moralizing into a penetrating look into the soul of a young person struggling to learn how to become a Black man of character in a world that expects him to be less. Dropping the reader directly into a tony prep-school office where Donte anxiously awaits judgement for an offense he did not commit, Rhodes dials readers immediately into the boy’s acute dread as he cycles through feelings of shame, anger, and confusion, ultimately leading to a nonconfrontation that causes him to be arrested.
As we learn more about Donte and his biracial family, including his lighter-skinned brother, we come to root for him and his pursuit of redemption as he seeks to prove his self-worth to his bullies and his school community through fencing. His coach, one of the first Black Olympic fencers, helps him refine his talent and his ability to deal with the inequities he experiences on a regular basis. An entertaining story and happy ending does not take away from this powerful examination of how the educational and justice systems punitively treat children of color—and how this bias impacts their self-perception and esteem. A powerful work and must-have for children’s collections.”
—Booklist: March 1, 2020
- Juvenile Fiction / Boys & Men
- Juvenile Fiction / Diversity & Multicultural
- Juvenile Fiction / Family / Siblings
- Juvenile Fiction / Social Themes / Prejudice & Racism
- Juvenile Fiction / Sports & Recreation / General