Tuesday’s BHS Faculty Book Club discussed the award-winning young adult novel “All American Boys,” co-written by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely. Topics covered included issues of race, community, identity, privilege, voice, bias, violence, social media, and social activism.
In the book, two teenagers from the same high school–Rashad and Quinn–struggle with the aftermath of Rashad’s brutal beating at the hands of a local police officer who wrongly accuses him of stealing. Told through the eyes of the two classmates, the novel establishes how racial tension polarizes their community and nation, but also pushes individuals to recognize, in Quinn’s words, “If I didn’t want the violence to remain, I had to do a hell of a lot more than just say the right things and not say the wrong things.” The work examines the power of voice and choice in the face of bigotry.
The choice to write the book from two different perspectives and with two authors with different identities provides a “macro-perspective” on the issue of police brutality and allows for both authenticity and open-dialogue. Overall, the novel provides young adult readers with a way to explore difficult discussions about race and identity in America in a thoughtful way. The authors see the novel as an opportunity to bring student voice into a “constructive dialogue” about a topic that concerns them and their world:
The book is available for student or faculty check-out in hardcover or on one of our Nooks.