Jewell Parker Rhodes is the best-selling author of NINTH WARD and TOWERS FALLING. In GHOST BOYS, her newest middle grade novel, Jewell shares a beautiful and devastating story about a young black boy killed by a police officer. About writing the story, Jewell says "I wasn't sure I was going to make it through." Jewell writes with great strength, conviction, and love, leaving an undeniable story through which readers of all ages, colors, and backgrounds can connect.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Only the living can make the world better. Live and make it better.
Twelve-year-old Jerome is shot by a police officer who mistakes his toy gun for a real threat. As a ghost, he observes the devastation that's been unleashed on his family and community in the wake of what they see as an unjust and brutal killing.
Soon Jerome meets another ghost: Emmett Till, a boy from a very different time but similar circumstances. Emmett helps Jerome process what has happened, on a journey towards recognizing how historical racism may have led to the events that ended his life. Jerome also meets Sarah, the daughter of the police officer, who grapples with her father's actions.
Once again Jewell Parker Rhodes deftly weaves historical and socio-political layers into a gripping and poignant story about how children and families face the complexities of today's world, and how one boy grows to understand American blackness in the aftermath of his own death.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Dr. Jewell Parker Rhodes is the author of Ghost Boys, Towers Falling, and the Louisiana Girls children’s book trilogy, which includes Ninth Ward, Sugar, and Bayou Magic. The books in this series have received the Parents’ Choice Foundation Award, the Coretta Scott King Author Honor Award, and the Jane Addam’s Children’s Book Award, among others. Towers Falling is a Junior Library Guild Selection, an Amazon’s Best Book of the Month, and an ADL Best Kid Lit on Bias, Diversity, and Social Justice selection. Ghost Boys, her newest novel, was named the #1 Kids’ Indie Next Pick.
Jewell grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Drama Criticism, a Master of Arts in English, and a Doctor of Arts in English (Creative Writing) from Carnegie Mellon University. Jewell is the Founding Artistic Director and Piper Endowed Chair at the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University. She currently lives in San Jose.
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