Monday, June 27, 2016
All American Boys
My new thing now is to allow myself to listen to YA books while I am alone and running. It's like a little treat. I almost feel a little naughty because I am always telling people that I don't read above a fifth grade reading level.
With each book I read (or listen) to by Jason Reynolds, I become a bigger fan. That's why it has been SO hard for me to follow the tweets and Facebook posts from this past week at ALA Annual in Orlando. I wish I was there. I wish I heard Jason and Brendan speak and accept their CSK awards at the breakfast yesterday morning. I'm just thankful for Twitter though, because at least I can have a slight feeling of being there and can commiserate with those who are also posting with the hashtag #alaleftbehind.
I cannot express enough times how important All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely is for every teenager and adult to read. It is real. It hits home. It makes you think and discuss. It sticks with you long after you finish it. You want to talk about it with friends and family as if Rashad and Quinn are really people. How can we stop this? What can we do? #NoMoreRashads It makes me want to go out and just buy a bunch, pay it forward and hand them out randomly to any black, white, gay, Latino, Jewish, straight, Asian, Native American, trans, mixed, just plain ole American teenager I see. It is that an important book. I have this sense, perhaps a false one, but a sense nonetheless, that if everyone read it, maybe we can actually make a difference.
Innocently, ROTC Rashad goes into Jerry's to buy a bag of chips. That bag and that afternoon will change his life (and yours) forever. A woman trips, the bag falls into his bag, a cop accuses him of stealing and beats him till it hurts us all.
Quinn and his buddies, Guzzo and Dwyer, were outside of Jerry's when they witnessed what happened to Rashad...
...by Guzzo's brother, Officer Paul.
And then begins the struggle of Quinn. Can he really support Paul Galluzzo's story? Paul, who is almost like family? Paul, who, when Quinn lost his father years ago stepped in to play a "big brother-father figure" role? Paul, who thinks he was "just doing his job"?
Many questions are left unanswered. What will happen to Rashad? Quinn? Paul? What about all the other Rashads out there who are absent today? What can we do to stop this? Jason and Brendan did their part to write this incredibly powerful, important book. What we can do is read it, talk about it, stand up and pass it on. #PleaseNoMoreRashads