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Ghost Boys

Ghost Boys

Book - 2018
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Apr 30, 2021

This is a hard book to read through your tears. As soon as 12-year-old Jerome is shot and killed by a white police officer in Chicago who mistakes Jerome's toy gun for a real one (but that's not the whole story -- keep reading), the tears start flowing. The parallels to the shooting of Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Ohio are explicit, although the story is historical fiction.

Jerome makes a friend at school, Carlos, who pulls out a "gun" on the school bullies who attack them in the restroom. It turns out the gun is a fake, a toy, but it looks real. Carlos offers it to Jerome to play with, run around outside his apartment on a beautiful day, pretending and having fun with his little sister outside.

It ends so badly, and at first Jerome can't make sense of it. He begins haunting Sarah, the daughter of the police officer who shot and killed him. She can see him and talk to him and they learn from each other. The ghost of Emmett Till guides Jerome on his journey to discovering how historical racism led to his death and the deaths of so many other ghost boys -- a legion killed because of prejudice and racism.

I especially loved and appreciated how the story ended.

Mar 10, 2021

I really love this book It is really awesome and interesting I will give it 10 stars

Nov 07, 2020

This book was amazing I could not put it down👍.

Nov 03, 2020

I read this book early this morning because I did not have anything to do at 6:45, and it was SUPER good.

KyCCL Jul 26, 2020

Racism is all around us, even if we don’t always see it. This story of Jerome, and the other ghost boys like Emmett Till and Trayvon Martin, will make you think about how you can stand up to racism in the world around you. A perfect read for senior primary- junior secondary readers (Y5-9, 9-14 year olds).

Jul 06, 2020

Ghost boys is a well written story great for discussion, but I still wanted more. I wanted more out of the ghost boys. I wanted more emotion from them, more anger, and more action. Maybe there is more truth in the fact that it is up to us and not them to act.

Feb 03, 2020

This book is super sad.

FPL_Suzanne Nov 11, 2019

A well-written, moving, and engaging book about an all-too common occurrence in our inner cities.

Mar 11, 2019

Jewell Parker Rhodes is a gift. She writes with wisdom, sensitivity, and serious skill. The novel is spare in prose, heavy in dialog. Ghost Boys moves in and out of harder sequences; a gentle offering, and yet determined to be honest with the horror of reality. She does not look away, and neither will you. She lifts the lid on that casket in that next to last chapter. We see the full humanity and horror.

Jerome’s is a beautiful soul. We’ll only know a small corner of its breadth. JPR won’t allow it to be unremembered or even misremembered. Ghost Boys is a novel that will leave a mark. It will inspire curiosity, a desire to learn more about the boys we’ve lost to similar violence— Tamir Rice. Laquan McDonald. Trayvon Martin. Michael Brown. Jordan Edwards. to name very few. Ghost Boys will inspire a desire to join with those who wish for a world where these lives matter.

IndyPL_DeborahM Jan 31, 2019

This book provides a great realistic take on the perspective of a black youth of whom is a victim of racial bias. You would want to read the story again. For ages 10 and up.

MsShannon Jan 24, 2019

Black lives matter come to light in this novel from the point of the main character in this novel. Before he was killed by a police office and after. This makes for an interesting take on what it actually feels like for the victim. An intense read that will resonate with you after you finish it.

Jan 16, 2019

Racial bias, unintentional or not, within a police force is a serious issue, as well as a complex one. This was a well-done book that is appropriate for 6th/7th graders, depending upon your/their tolerance for violence. It's not overly graphic, but it could be disturbing for children who have had no exposure to the fact that children their age are victims of violence at the hands of adults & even police officers. (Not to say that they shouldn't read it) It's also a good book to start having some harder conversations with white children as to the history of our country as it relates to how blacks, especially young black boys, have been treated.

Jerome is a good kid living in a poor neighborhood in Chicago. He is shot by a police officer who thought the gun in his hand was real, rather than the toy that it was. The story looks at how this event impacts not only Jerome's family, as he watches over them as a ghost, but the officer's family as well. Jerome also learns he's not alone, as he's joined by the ghost of Emmett Till, a non-fictional boy Jerome's age, who was killed in Mississippi in 1955. It's a moving story and very well done. Highly recommended.

Nov 07, 2018

Taking me less than 24-hours to finish, 'Ghost Boys' is an easy read and was immediately a favorite. Rhodes interpretation of this fictional narrative of a Black teenage boy shot by a White cop is realistic, descriptive, and heart-provoking, and will leave readers of all ages asking themselves questions about current race relations and reactions.

Sep 25, 2018

Overall, while it took me a while to finish the book, I think it’s a great story for young readers to read and even understand what’s going on in the world today. I think the story is handled well and that the author doesn’t shy away from talking about grief, but also including how different cultures honor the dead. I think Jerome, being a young boy, gives the perspective of someone different as compared to teenagers or parents like in the other books of this nature. The story is importance, and I think the story is handled well. It’s emotional and holds historical importance. I can understand why someone might find it heavy-handed in the topic, and while I agree to a small extent, I think the author finds a balance.

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JCLHebahA Jul 02, 2018

This is a book that I'm glad exists... and hate that it has to. This timely middle-grade story combines the threads of a twelve-year-old boy shot and killed by police who mistake his toy gun for the real deal with that of Emmett Till and countless other "ghost boys" who died as a result of prejudice and racism. It's a story of bearing witness to these injustices, handled at an age-appropriate level, which is to say, it doesn't flinch from its subject matter but also handles it lightly enough to encourage conversation and empathy.

Jun 01, 2018

Loved it. Excellent book and should be read and talked about!

PimaLib_TeneciaP May 10, 2018

I read this heart-wrenching, powerful, and gripping book in one day! Jerome, a 12 year old Black boy, is shot and killed by a white police officer who mistakes the toy gun he is holding for a real one. As a ghost, Jerome sees what happens to his family, the officer's family, and the community. He meets another ghost who was senselessly murdered, Emmett Till. Till shows Jerome the hundreds of other "ghost boys" who were also murdered and are now roaming their communities.

This is a tough book to read but the author does a great job of tackling timely issues (racial bias, bullying, gun violence) in a way that young readers will understand and enjoy. This is also a great book for parents to read first then share with their children. It can be a useful tool when having conversations about these types of current social issues.

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