Reviews for Ghost boys

Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

In a story that explicitly recalls the murder of Tamir Rice, Jerome, a 12-year-old black boy killed by a white Chicago cop, must, along with the ghosts of Emmett Till and others, process what has happened and how. With the rising tide of today's Movement for Black Lives, there has been a re-examination of how the 1955 murder of Emmett Till became the fuel for the mid-20th-century civil rights movement. With this narrative in mind, Rhodes seeks to make Till's story relevant to the post-millennial generation. Readers meet Jerome, who's bullied at his troubled and underfunded neighborhood school, just at the time that Latinx newcomer Carlos arrives from San Antonio. After finding that Carlos' toy gun may help keep the school bullies at bay, Jerome is taken by surprise while playing in the park when a white arriving police officer summarily shoots him dead. The police officer's daughter, Sarah, is the only character who can truly see the ghost boys as they all struggle to process that day and move forward. Written in nonlinear chapters that travel between the afterlife and the lead-up to the unfortunate day, the novel weaves in how historical and sociopolitical realities come to bear on black families, suggesting what can be done to move the future toward a more just directionalbeit not without somewhat flattening the righteous rage of the African-American community in emphasizing the more palatable universal values of "friendship. Kindness. Understanding."A timely, challenging book that's worthy of a read, further discussion, and action. (Fiction. 8-12) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Horn Book
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Like the real-life Tamir Rice, twelve-year-old African American boy Jerome is killed by a white policeman while playing with a toy gun on a playground. Jerome's ghost is joined by that of Emmett Till, who helps him process what happened; Jerome also befriends Sarah, daughter of the policeman, who can see him. Although the book is timely and quite powerful, the upbeat, forgiveness-filled ending is facile. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

*Starred Review* Jerome, a young black boy gunned down while playing in a park with a toy gun, invites readers to bear witness to his story, to the tragedy of being dispatched simply because of a policeman's internalized prejudice masquerading as fear. One day at school, while he and his new friend Carlos are being bullied, Carlos pulls out a toy gun to scare their attackers. Afterward, he gives it to Jerome so he can have a chance to play with it, to pretend that he is in charge. But when he is shot in the back while running from the police, his soul leaves his body and he becomes one of the army of ghost boys hoping to communicate with those still consumed with racial bias. While looking in on the preliminary court hearing, Jerome realizes that the police officer's daughter can see and talk to him, and together they try to understand how the world around them could be so cruel. Rhodes (Sugar, 2013; Towers Falling, 2016) beautifully weaves together the fictional and the historical Jerome comes across the ghosts of real-life individuals like Emmett Till and Trayvon Martin in this gripping and all-too-necessary novel about police brutality, injustice, and the power of bearing witness to the stories of those who are gone.--Bittner, Rob Copyright 2018 Booklist


Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Set in an impoverished Chicago neighborhood, this somber story blends history with current events. Jerome Rogers, a black 12-year-old, is playing outside with a toy gun when he is shot and killed by a white policeman who views him as a threat. Now Jerome wanders the earth with other "ghost boys" whose deaths are all connected to bigotry. Ironically, the only human who can see Jerome is Sarah, the young daughter of the officer who took his life. Jerome meets the ghost of Emmett Till and learns the horrific details of his murder. Emmett, like the other ghost boys, cannot rest until the world is swept clean of discriminatory violence; maybe Jerome can help if he can make Sarah understand that her father's act was a result of deeply ingrained racism. Rhodes writes in short, poetic chapters that offer graphic depictions of avoidable tragedies; her hope for a better world packs a powerful punch, delivering a call to action to speak out against prejudice and erase harmful misconceptions. Ages 10-up. Agent: Michael Bourret, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret. (Apr.) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


School Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Gr 4-8-The Towers Falling author once again tackles a timely yet difficult subject. In Chicago, 12-year-old black youth Jerome is shot and killed by a white police officer who mistakes a toy gun for a real one. As a ghost, Jerome witnesses the aftermath gripping both his family and that of the police officers. Jerome also meets another ghost-that of Emmett Till, a black boy murdered in 1955. Through Till's story, he learns of the hundreds of other "ghost boys" left to roam and stop history from continually repeating itself. The only person who can see Jerome is the daughter of the white police officer, Sarah, and through her eyes, he realizes that his family isn't the only one affected by the tragedy. Two families are destroyed with one split decision, and Sarah and Jerome together try to heal both of their families, along with Jerome's friend Carlos. It was Carlos' toy gun that Jerome was playing with, leaving Carlos with great guilt and the intense desire to protect Jerome's little sister, Kim, from bullies and other sorrows. Deftly woven and poignantly told, this a story about society, biases both conscious and unconscious, and trying to right the wrongs of the world. VERDICT Rhodes captures the all-too-real pain of racial injustice and provides an important window for readers who are just beginning to explore the ideas of privilege and implicit bias.-Michele Shaw, Quail Run -Elementary School, San Ramon, CA Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.