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Tony Medina (The Children's Book Podcast #470)

November 6, 2018

I AM ALFONSO JONES    

 

Tony Medina (@PoetTonyMedina) is the author of I AM ALFONSO JONES, a graphic novel inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement about a teen who is show and killed by police while shopping for a suit in a clothing store. The novel retraces the events leading to that day while also following the timeline forward as both life itself a the ghost of Alfonso Jones struggle against a nation's history of violence toward people of color. It is a powerful and timely story and one that will remain with readers long after hearing Alfonso's story. We recorded this episode live on the Enoch Pratt Free Library stage at the Baltimore Book Festival.

 

  

ABOUT THE BOOK: 

Alfonso Jones can't wait to play the role of Hamlet in his school's hip-hop rendition of the classic Shakespearean play. He also wants to let his best friend, Danetta, know how he really feels about her. But as he is buying his first suit, an off-duty police officer mistakes a clothes hanger for a gun, and he shoots Alfonso.

 

When Alfonso wakes up in the afterlife, he's on a ghost train guided by well-known victims of police shootings, who teach him what he needs to know about this subterranean spiritual world. Meanwhile, Alfonso's family and friends struggle with their grief and seek justice for Alfonso in the streets. As they confront their new realities, both Alfonso and those he loves realize the work that lies ahead in the fight for justice.

 

In the first graphic novel for young readers to focus on police brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement, as in Hamlet, the dead shall speak--and the living yield even more surprises.

 

 

SHOW NOTES:

 

 

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Tony Medina is the author/editor of 20 books for adults and young readers, including the graphic novel, I Am Alfonso Jones (Tu Books, 2017), and Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Boy (Penny Candy Books, 2018), DeShawn Days (Lee & Low Books, 2001), Bum Rush the Page: A Def Poetry Jam (Random House/Three Rivers Press, 2001), Love to Langston (Lee & Low Books, 2002), Role Call: A Generational Anthology of Social and Political Black Literature & Art (Third World Press, 2002), Committed to Breathing (Third World Press, 2003), and Follow-up Letters to Santa from Kids Who Never Got a Response (Just Us Books, 2003).

 

Featured in the documentaries Nuyorc 1999; A Weigh with Words: An Inside Look At How Words Create Conflict or Compassion; and Furious Flower II: Regenerating the Black Poetic Tradition: Roots & First Fruits/Cross-Pollination in the Diaspora/Blooming in the Whirlwind, Medina's poetry, fiction, essays and book reviews appear in over a hundred publications and two CD compilations.

 

An advisory editor for Hip Hop Speaks to Children, edited by Nikki Giovanni, his most recent work is featured in the anthologies Poets Against the Killing Field; Family Pictures: Poems and Photographs Celebrating Our Loved Ones; Fingernails Across a Chalkboard: A Literary and Artistic View of HIV/AIDS Affecting People of Color, Full Moon on K Street; Let Loose on the World: Celebrating Amiri Baraka at 75; and Spaces Between Us: Poetry, Prose and Art on HIV/AIDS (Third World Press, 2010). Medina has taught English at Long Island University's Brooklyn campus and Borough of Manhattan Community College, CUNY, and has earned an MA and PhD in English from Binghamton University, SUNY.

 

The first Professor of Creative Writing at Howard University in Washington, DC, Medina's latest books are I and I, Bob Marley (Lee & Low Books, 2009), My Old Man Was Always on the Lam (NYQ Books, 2010), finalist for The Paterson Poetry Prize, Broke on Ice (Willow Books/Aquarius Press, 2011), An Onion of Wars (Third World Press, 2012), The President Looks Like Me (Just Us Books, 2013) and Broke Baroque (2Leaf Press, 2013). Featured in the documentary, Sheer Good Fortune: Celebrating Toni Morrison, in 2013, Medina was awarded both The Langston Hughes Society Award and the first African Voices Literary Award. On March 11, 2017, Medina was featured on NBC's philanthropic reality show, GIVE, with Behind the Book, a New York-based non-profit literacy organization.

 

Learn more about Tony at tonymedina.org

 

And purchase any one of Tony Medina's books for you, your readers, a friend, or a library HERE.

 

 

OTHER BOOKS MENTIONED:

 

*This post contains affiliate links. Any purchases made through these links will support the costs of maintaining the podcast, webcomic, and other materials associated with this site. 

 

 

SHOUT OUT TO OUR PATRONS!

 

Thank you, JENNY SUE, AMY, SARA, KATE, LISA, DARSHANA, MARIANNE, JARRETT, ANITRA, MIKE, LYNN, LINK, CORRINA, CYNTHIA, ELAINE, DOUG, JUDI, AMANDA, RUTH, LARA, TERESA, and others who are coming with me on this journey. You’re welcome to join us. Just visit Patreon.com/matthewcwinner and pick the support tier that’s right for you. All the hugs and high fives for all of the many, many ways all of out there listening support this show.

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