All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

Information: All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely was published in 2015 by Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books. ISBN: 1481463330

Plot Summary: All American Boys is a contemporary novel about two high school boys, Quinn and Rashad. While in a convenience store, Rashad is falsely accused of trying to rob the store by a police officer. After the police officer physically assaults Rashad while taking him into police custody, Rashad’s entire high school and town begin taking sides of the black teenager versus the white police officer. Quinn is a white teenager that sees the entire altercation unfold. Suddenly, Quinn is being pulled from both directions– to all-american-boys-9781481463331_hreither say what he saw or defend the police officer, who is a long time family friend. All American Boys shows the point of view of both boys as they decide whether or not to take a stand, for both themselves and others who have been silenced by police brutality.

Critical Evaluation: Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely write altering chapters from both boys perspectives, giving the reader the entire story from every angle. All American Boys is written with all the care and emotion needed for a topic that is still apart of our every day news cycle. The novel makes the reader think about what the right choice is and how speaking up for others can be a powerful and moving moment. With this novel, readers can see the magnitude of why and how continued discussions of racism and police brutality are important.

Reader’s Annotation: After Quinn witnesses Rashad being assaulted by a police officer, both boys have to decide how and when to speak out against the racism impacting the lives of people all over the country.

Author’s InformationJason Reynolds is crazy. About stories. He is the author of critically acclaimed When I Was the Greatest, for which he was the recipient of the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent; the Coretta Scott King Honor books Boy in the Black Suit and All American Boys; As Brave As You, his stunning middle grade debut; and Ghost, the first book in his middle grade Track series (Simon & Schuster).

Brendan Kiely received an MFA in creative writing from The City College of New York.  His debut novel, The Gospel of Winter, has been published in ten languages, it was selected as one of American Library Association’s Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults 2015, and it was a Kirkus Reviews selection for best of 2014. He is the coauthor, with Jason Reynolds, of the Coretta Scott King Author Honor Award winning All American Boys, and author of the forthcoming The Last True Love Story (McElderry Books/S&S, September 2016) (About).

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Contemporary

Curriculum Ties: (Florida State Curriculum Standards): Understanding Key Literary Ideas

Book Talk Ideas:

  • Consider the cover of All American Boys. In what ways is the image symbolic for the events that transpire throughout the course of the book? 
  • Consider the variety of settings for All American Boys; name the three places you believe to be most important to the story. Using textual evidence from the book, explain why you find them to be significant to the overall story structure.

Reading Level/ Age Interest: Grades 9-12  (Scholastic) and Ages 15-18

Challenge Issues: Racism, Violence, Language

Challenge Defense File:

Selection Policy

The System will select and maintain a comprehensive collection of print, non-print, audio visual and electronically accessed materials to meet the informational, educational, and recreational needs of the citizens of Sarasota County. The System will strive to offer wide ranging collections that meet the various ages, interests, educational levels, and cultural backgrounds of all members of the community and will provide collections through which an individual may explore all points of view and issues of interest. In making selections, the library staff will do so based upon principle rather than personal opinion, reason rather than prejudice, and judgment rather than censorship. Furthermore, staff will be responsive to public demand for materials of contemporary significance and interest, while balancing this with the need to collect and preserve materials of permanent value. While library staff makes material selections based upon the tenet of one system, one collection, selectors recognize the distinct characteristics and needs of the populace that each library services. Community profiles are used to guide selectors in efforts to develop special collections and to meet the unique patron needs within each library.

The ultimate responsibility for selection materials rests with the General Manager of Libraries and the Management Team, who in turn delegates selection responsibilities to the Collection Development Librarians (Sarasota County Policy).  

Rationale

Kiely, B., Reynolds, J. (2015). All American Boys. New York, New York: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books.

All American Boys is a fictional retelling of the racism and police brutality that has been filling the news. This novel offers teen readers a thought provoking story to help make sense of the violence that has been happening all over the United States. All American Boys focuses on the importance of telling the truth and being there for those that have no voice to speak out with.

Other recommendations like this book include: How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon, X by Ilyasah Shabazz, and Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Pérez.

Active Listening Skills

  • Remain calm
  • Listen thoughtfully and carefully to any arguments for the collection
  • Engage in a discussion that considers every concern, even if you do not agree

Awards

  • Coretta Scott King Book Award Honor (2016)
  • Walter Dean Myers Award (2016)
  • Keystone to Reading Book Award Nominee for High School (2017)

Reconsideration Form

Reviews

Selection Tools:

Why I chose this book: I chose this book because of its important dialogue on the current racial divide happening all over our country. This book gives teens a voice and the power to be heard on such a current and important issue.

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