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Punching the Air



by
Ibi Zoboi ,Yusef Salaam

Edition
Hardcover edition
Publisher
HarperCo
Imprint
Print
ISBN
9780062996480

Awards and Honors
Publisher's Weekly Best Young Adult Books of 2020
2021 Walter Award, Teen Category
2021 Boston Globe-Horn Book Fiction and Poetry Honoree
POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
Language: Racial or Ethnic Epithet/Slur , Language: Strong Language , Violence: General
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QTY
Out of stock

JLG Category

Hi-Lo Mature

The story that I thought
was my life
didn’t start on the day
I was born

Amal Shahid has always been an artist and a poet. But even in a diverse art school, he’s seen as disruptive and unmotivated by a biased system. Then one fateful night, an altercation in a gentrifying neighborhood escalates into tragedy. “Boys just being boys” turns out to be true only when those boys are white.

The story that I think
will be my life
starts today

Suddenly, at just sixteen years old, Amal’s bright future is upended: he is convicted of a crime he didn’t commit and sent to prison. Despair and rage almost sink him until he turns to the refuge of his words, his art. This never should have been his story. But can he change it?Authors’ note.

POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
Language: Racial or Ethnic Epithet/Slur , Language: Strong Language , Violence: General

Details

Format

Print

Page Count

368

Trim Size

8 3/10" x 5 1/2"

Dewey

F

AR

5.7: points 5

Lexile

NP

Genre

Fiction

Scholastic Reading Counts

0

JLG Release

Jan 2021

Book Genres

Novels in Verse, Realistic Fiction

Topics

Prisons. Juvenile incarceration. Wrongful convictions. Justice system. African Americans. Racism. Injustice. Artists. 

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Praise & Reviews

Horn Book

Ten-year-old Delicious Nevaeh Roberts, a.k.a. Della, doesn’t take “snow” from anyone (“Suki says whenever I want to use a bad word, I can say snow”). She’s learned to be tough from her fiercely protective sixteen-year-old sister Suki, who has been her de facto parent since their meth-addicted mother went to prison. Their life in East Tennessee is looking up now that they have moved in with pragmatic foster mom Francine. Della is making new friends at school and learning to swim at the Y, while Suki has scored a cashier job at their local supermarket. But Suki is hiding a devastating secret about the time they lived with their mom’s boyfriend Clifton, a secret that causes her to wake up screaming every night. It’s only after Suki attempts suicide that Della understands it’s time to use her own voice to help her sister speak up. “Sometimes you’ve got a story you need to find the courage to tell.” Newbery Honor winner Bradley (The War That Saved My Life, rev. 1/15) perfectly balances pathos and humor (as found in many of Della’s observations) in this tender story of sisterhood, while also showcasing the astonishing strength and resilience of children to confront, and eventually heal from, trauma and sexual abuse. Della’s bold, cheeky first-person narration is unforgettable, as is the supporting cast of adult characters, from redoubtable Francine to deli-counter worker Maybelline, whose brusque demeanor belies a kind heart. An author’s note includes information about suicide and abuse prevention organizations. JENNIFER HUBERT SWAN

Praise & Reviews

Horn Book

Ten-year-old Delicious Nevaeh Roberts, a.k.a. Della, doesn’t take “snow” from anyone (“Suki says whenever I want to use a bad word, I can say snow”). She’s learned to be tough from her fiercely protective sixteen-year-old sister Suki, who has been her de facto parent since their meth-addicted mother went to prison. Their life in East Tennessee is looking up now that they have moved in with pragmatic foster mom Francine. Della is making new friends at school and learning to swim at the Y, while Suki has scored a cashier job at their local supermarket. But Suki is hiding a devastating secret about the time they lived with their mom’s boyfriend Clifton, a secret that causes her to wake up screaming every night. It’s only after Suki attempts suicide that Della understands it’s time to use her own voice to help her sister speak up. “Sometimes you’ve got a story you need to find the courage to tell.” Newbery Honor winner Bradley (The War That Saved My Life, rev. 1/15) perfectly balances pathos and humor (as found in many of Della’s observations) in this tender story of sisterhood, while also showcasing the astonishing strength and resilience of children to confront, and eventually heal from, trauma and sexual abuse. Della’s bold, cheeky first-person narration is unforgettable, as is the supporting cast of adult characters, from redoubtable Francine to deli-counter worker Maybelline, whose brusque demeanor belies a kind heart. An author’s note includes information about suicide and abuse prevention organizations. JENNIFER HUBERT SWAN

Grades 9-12
Hi-Lo Mature
For Grades 9-12

Entertaining, age appropriate topics combined with short chapters and simple sentences make the 12 books in this category interesting and accessible to teens who struggle to read. These selections may include mature situations and content most suitable for older teens.

12 books per Year
$144.60 per Year
Interests
Diversity,Fiction,High Interest/Reluctant Reader,Mature Readers,LGBTQ+,Struggling Readers,Thriller/Horror/Mystery,Realistic Fiction
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Grades 9-12
Hi-Lo Mature
12 books per Year
$144.60 per Year

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