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Black Boy White School Hardcover – January 3, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen; First Edition edition (January 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061914835
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061914836
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #773,899 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Like the protagonist of his hard-hitting debut novel, Walker grew up on the streets of East Cleveland until he was sent to a boarding school in the Northeast. Anthony “Ant” Jones, an “inky black knot of a fourteen-year-old,” has no interest in leaving East Cleveland (where drugs and violence reign) to attend predominantly white Belton Academy in Maine. Then Ant witnesses the drive-by shooting death of a friend, and suddenly Maine seems like the safer option. But life is far from perfect in the Belton bubble: the white students expect him to play basketball (he doesn’t) and assume he’s from Brooklyn (he’s not). Over the course of his year at the academy, Ant’s intense exploration of his own identity leads to more questions than answers—for example, is he Ant, as he’s called in Cleveland, or Tony, a nickname given by white students? How can he live in two worlds and yet feel like he belongs in neither? Walker grapples with these questions of belonging and examines the subject of race relations with unflinching honesty. Both the Cleveland and Maine characters are authentically drawn, and, like Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (2007), this powerful novel is certain to spark thoughtful discussion. Grades 9-12. --Ann Kelley

About the Author

Brian F. Walker grew up in East Cleveland, where he ran with gangsters, drug dealers, and thugs until age fourteen, when he was sent to an elite boarding school and a world he had no way of understanding. For the past seventeen years he has taught high school English, coached basketball, and served as an admissions officer at a prep school in Weston, Massachusetts. He recently won a grant for fiction writing from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, in addition to numerous awards for playwriting, short stories, and journalism. Brian lives in Massachusetts with his wife and daughter.


More About the Author

Brian F. Walker grew up in East Cleveland, where he ran with gangsters, drug dealers and thugs until age fourteen, when he was sent to an elite boarding school and a world he had no way of understanding. For the last seventeen years he has taught high school English, coached basketball and served as an admissions officer at a prep school in Weston, Massachusetts. He recently won a grant for fiction writing from the Massachusetts Cultural Council for the Arts, in addition to numerous awards for playwriting, short stories and journalism. Brian lives in Massachusetts with his wife and daughter.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Teen Reads on April 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Anthony --- or Ant, as he prefers to be called --- doesn't love everything about the mean, harsh streets of East Cleveland, but they're home. However, when things take a turn for the really, really worse, he accepts the scholarship offer he's gotten from a fancy boarding school in Maine and heads there for his freshman year of high school.

Ant knows it will be a major adjustment, but some of the changes aren't exactly the ones he expects. For one, everyone wants to call him Tony. For another, they all believe he can play basketball, even though he's short and prefers football. They also think he's from New York.

Ant is frustrated yet willing to stick with it. He seeks out the other black students at Belton Academy but finds that he doesn't quite fit in with them, either. They are all from New York and think his slang is weird. And even though they all know each other and share the common bond of being the few minority students at a wealthy, white school, within their small group are two headstrong opinions of what it means to be black and how a black student should act when in such a whitewashed community. Having grown up in an African American community, Ant is confronted with this idea for the first time, and makes some social missteps when he protests a hazing ritual and gets pegged as an angry, dangerous, violent student.

There are some positive things, though. Ant does create some good friendships, and there are some pretty girls at Belton, too. His adviser takes an interest in him and encourages him to run for student government. When Ant goes home for winter break, he's not totally cut off from his old friends, though he understands that he'll never have quite the same connection to them as he did before Belton.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By S Day on June 29, 2012
Format: Hardcover
While I liked the idea of Black Boy White School, I felt like it lacked depth in a few places.

Anthony Jones gets sent from Cleveland to a boarding school in Maine where he has to deal with being one of the only black kids in a predominantly white school. We get a good background on Ant, as the beginning of the book starts with him in Cleveland around all of his friends and at his school. Once he moves up to Maine the events start to get a bit spaced out, leaving me wanting more - particularly with regards to the characters. At 256 pages, Black Boy White School takes on a big topic but doesn't have enough time to deal with the topic and allow the reader to connect with anyone (except maybe Ant).

After I finished the book I read somewhere that Brian Walker wrote Black Boy White School based on some of his experiences, which made sense because it all seemed quite authentic, even if slightly lacking. I would have loved for this to have been a longer book, or even if it had been a memoir by Mr. Walker himself.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By ReadingGrrl on May 1, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Racism...that dirty work no one likes to talk about or brushes under the rug. It makes people uncomfortable so we don't talk about it or only talk about it on a superficial level.

This is an easy read about a hard subject. "Ant" comes from a rough neighborhood, he doesn't want to go to Maine but after one of his best friends is shot and killed when they are together he makes the decision to go. What he finds is that fitting in might mean losing his identity. People at school call him Tony no matter how many times he corrects them, they think he is from Brooklyn because thats where the other black kids at the school are from and when he stands up against a hazing tradition he is thought of as dangerous.

Fighting stereotypes is hard, trying to fit but maintain your identity even harder. I think many people may not understand when "Ant" goes through but as a Puerto Rican Jew who lived in the city and went to school in the suburbs I felt "Ant's" story profoundly. Oh I looked like I fit in with the other kids but I lived in a two bedroom apartment in a the city and they lived in mansions in a wealthy suburb. I had one parent and they had two. It was a struggle to fit in but when I was home it was also a struggle, school changed me. I was learning about things that the people in my neighborhood couldn't relate to, I was going places they had never been. When I was home I felt like a stranger and at school I felt like a square peg trying to fit in a round hole. Would I change my experience? Never but it wasn't always easy.

"Ant" had it worse. He couldn't even try to blend in. He couldn't change his skin color and the well meaning people at the school had blinders on when it came to racism...if they ignored it or made platitudes it would go away.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tye on March 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I initially bought this book for my 11yr old son who attends a private school and often expresses feelings of not fitting in anywhere. Once I read the 1st few pages I realized it wasnt a book he could grasp right away but I myself couldn't put it down. The book touches real world situations and will be relatable to anyone who may have made changes in their lives, whether positive or negative, deliberate or by accident. It can be inspiring to the young adult who feels they are different from everyone. I would recommend this book for ages of 14 and up. Powerful read.
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