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Promises Kept: Raising Black Boys to Succeed in School and in Life [Kindle Edition]

Joe Dr Brewster , Michele Stephenson , Hilary Beard
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $18.00
Kindle Price: $7.99
You Save: $10.01 (56%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

As seen on PBS’s POV

An unprecedented guide to helping black boys achieve success at every stage of their lives—at home, at school, and in the world
 
Regardless of how wealthy or poor their parents are, all black boys must confront and surmount the “achievement gap”: a divide that shows up not only in our sons’ test scores, but in their social and emotional development, their physical well-being, and their outlook on life. As children, they score as high on cognitive tests as their peers, but at some point, the gap emerges. Why?
 
This is the question Joe Brewster, M.D., and Michèle Stephenson asked when their own son, Idris, began struggling in a new school. As they filmed his experiences for their award-winning documentary American Promise, they met an array of researchers who had not only identified the reasons for the gap, but had come up with practical, innovative solutions to close it. In Promises Kept, they explain
 
• how to influence your son’s brain before he’s even born
• how to tell the difference between authoritarian and authoritative discipline—and why it matters
• how to create an educational program for your son that matches his needs
• how to prepare him for explicit and implicit racism in school and in the wider world
• how to help your child develop resilience, self-discipline, emotional intelligence, and a positive outlook that will last a lifetime
 
Filled with innovative research, practical strategies, and the voices of parents and children who are grappling with these issues firsthand, Promises Kept will challenge your assumptions and inspire you to make sure your child isn’t lost in the gap.

Praise for Promises Kept
 
“The authors offer a plethora of information and advice geared toward the specific developmental needs of black boys. . . . Thorough and detailed, this guidebook is also a call to action. As Brewster sees it, when people of color remain complacent, they not only break a tacit promise to future generations to achieve social equity, they also imperil the futures of both the nation and the planet. A practical and impassioned parenting guide.”Kirkus Reviews
 
“A penetrating look at the standard practices, at school and at home, that contribute to the achievement gap between the races and the sexes that seems to put black boys at a disadvantage. [Brewster and Stephenson] debunk myths and offer ten parenting and education strategies to improve the prospects for black boys to help them overcome racial stereotypes and low expectations. . . . This is a practical and insightful look at the particular challenges of raising black males.”Booklist


From the Trade Paperback edition.


Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Fascinated with the idea of documenting the experience of minority students, including their own young son, at an exclusive private school, Joe Brewster and Michele Stephenson began a film project. After a few years, they stopped when their son began to feel socially isolated and singled out for concerns about underperformance. Next, they embarked on an exploration of why their son and so many other black boys struggled in school. The result is a penetrating look at the standard practices, at school and at home, that contribute to the achievement gap between the races and the sexes that seems to put black boys at a disadvantage. They debunk myths and offer 10 parenting and education strategies to improve the prospects for black boys to help them overcome racial stereotypes and low expectations, from preconception and prenatal health care through preschool, from grades K–12 through life skills, including the Trayvon Martin lesson. This is a practical and insightful look at the particular challenges of raising black males. --Vanessa Bush

Review

“The authors offer a plethora of information and advice geared toward the specific developmental needs of black boys. . . . Thorough and detailed, this guidebook is also a call to action. As Brewster sees it, when people of color remain complacent, they not only break a tacit promise to future generations to achieve social equity, they also imperil the futures of both the nation and the planet. A practical and impassioned parenting guide.”Kirkus Reviews
 
“A penetrating look at the standard practices, at school and at home, that contribute to the achievement gap between the races and the sexes that seems to put black boys at a disadvantage. [Brewster and Stephenson] debunk myths and offer ten parenting and education strategies to improve the prospects for black boys to help them overcome racial stereotypes and low expectations. . . . This is a practical and insightful look at the particular challenges of raising black males.”Booklist

Product Details


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Help for ALL parents, all races March 2, 2014
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Length: 0:39 Mins
Please do not let the sub title of this book mislead you. This book is helpful to parents of other races and also helpful in raising girls. The emphases of this book is on young black boys but the subject matter is universal. Think of this book like a street named Martin Luther King, any person can drive on the street but the name emphasizes black leadership.

Here is the background behind the book. A black family (actually two different families) enroll their son into a predominately white private school. The child enters via a scholarship that the school provides to help diversify the school. The parents are so excited that they decide to video tape the kid's experiences throughout his years at the school. The parents have about 13 years of video showing the trials and tribulations that their son, Idris, goes through. Idris's mother is a lawyer and his father is a psychiatrist, both of Idris' parents went to well known colleges.

This book will provide parents with tools they can use to support their children in emotional and educational ways. An example of what you might see in the book is something like this, *a large percentage of black babies arrive preterm meaning they arrive before the brain, heart, lungs, and other organs are optimally developed*. Then the authors go on to explain what can be done to decrease the chances of having a preterm baby.

✔The chapters in this book are as follows:
Introduction
1. Close the Gap Before it Opens
2. Build Your Son's Brain
3. Be His First Teacher
4. Put His Armor On
5. Hug Him and Tell him you Love him
6. You Brought him into this world, don't let other folks take him out.
7. Protect him from time bandits
8. Education to match his needs
9.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional! This will be another tool in my mom belt! January 30, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is fantastic! As a mother of young, black men, I struggle at times to find the right tools to help my sons. Some tools I have, but this book has given me so many more to use. I love how the authors will use different points of view to dissect a subject and help you through the conversations they generate. Thank you for such a beautiful , thorough understanding of my children.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving and informative book, a real eye-opener. May 15, 2014
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Although I am not African-American, I got this book to learn more about what other families are going through. I wanted to be more aware of the situation and the hardships, and find out how I can possibly be a positive contributor to this, specifically with our friends and in a larger way by being informed and raising my kids to be sensitive to others in life. Dr. Brewster did an amazing job of explaining the problems and defining proactive ways for improvement. I'm really glad I read it and highly recommend it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars PROMISES KEPT/AMERICA'S PROMISE : A Critical Review April 7, 2014
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
PROMISES KEPT is the publication that accompanies the PBS show and documentary, "America's Promise."

This book, like the documentary, was produced by the families of Joe Brewster and Michele Stephenson and several families from the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn, New York.

The project PROMISE is an almost 10-year video documentary of the life of middle class African Americans (some may some argue that the designation should be amended to include "upper")-- and this point is not a benign one.

Racism, whether explicit or "soft," can be expressed in a only a few ways when considering that racism has become so entrenched that the authors wanted to see how racism would demonstrate itself on another generation of African Americans, namely young men.

The subtitle, "Raising Black Boys To Succeed In School and In Life," is a subject that has been broached many, many times in the past. "What can we do about young black men and unemployment? What can we do about young black men and crime? What can we do about young black men and ..."

The truth is, there is a problem. But, thoroughly diagnosing the what's the causes and how to deal with the environment(s) and the embedded psychology is beyond the scope of any one book or documentary.

***

The project was originally scheduled to follow several children from grade school through their high school years, but several families quit mid-way through.

It's important-- I should say-- that behind the observations and suggestions that belie this project, both book and film, is the producer's middle class upbringing, academic background and social standing.

Admittedly, the inherent expectations are high. And, this I suggest is one of the keys.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
It took me a while to pick up this book knowing that it would be talking about the failure of our current society to treat boys of color as the valuable human beings they are.
While my two sons are in their late twenties, these years since their birth have been frightful at times.
The book brings back many of the concerns I had as a mom of two brown skin boys growing up in upper middle class neighborhoods in South Florida.
As I look at our two grandsons, the concerns are no less.
As the writer commented, society still has a hard time looking at brown-skinned boys as children. They are so often and early seen as threats by teachers, and others who are supposed to be a help and resource to them in growing up.

While the book has many good pointers and good insights, I fear it will only be read by those who are educated and parents of boys of color.
It also reminds me of another poignant book I read 20 years ago whose title still sticks in my mind because it alone said volumes..."The War Against Boys."
That is what boys of color deal with everyday--a war against them from many fronts. No wonder so many of them wind up in jail or prison. Unfortunately, my family (even with all of its education and modest income) did not escape this outcome.
Being disliked or hated just because you are brown skinned and male is a heavy burden to bear.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Highlighting a real issue.
The author is pointing out real flaws in the system, and there are more observations than solutions. Read more
Published 1 month ago by L. Perry
4.0 out of 5 stars Like the Ten Commandments for Parents...
This book is thought provoking. I did not agree with everything that was stated about single parents, low and middle class families, and black boys... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Pamela Jarmon-Wade
5.0 out of 5 stars A book that parents and educators should read!
Amazing read that breaks it down for parents(and educators). The book has many chapters broken into different topics. Read more
Published 2 months ago by A. Hansen
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting book about the achievement gap between black boys and...
As an educator, I was very struck by the premise of this book. I am all too aware of the achievement gap between black boys and their peers-even the gap between them and black... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Kim L
5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond Ferguson to Solutions
In the wake of what is happening in Ferguson, New York, Cleveland and around the nation regarding police brutality and the overall treatment of African-Americans, many people are... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Reginald Ponder
4.0 out of 5 stars Helped Me Walk In The Shoes of African American Parents in My Church
This book, written to accompany the upcoming PBS documentary of the same name by the same authors, was written primarily for parents of African American boys to help them succeed... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Jacob & Kiki Hantla
3.0 out of 5 stars Buying into the myth of "meritocracy" - 3.5 stars
I have heard of but not had the opportunity yet to see the film “American Promise”, so I picked this up thinking it would be about the film and more directly related to it. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Dienne
5.0 out of 5 stars Great advice for parents and other child care givers
Having helped raise some black boys as a foster parent and Safe Family (safe-families.org), I was definitely interested in any insights this book might offer on how to do better at... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Man in the Middle
5.0 out of 5 stars An important book to read for parents of any race
There's little debate that a gap exists between the haves and the have-nots. Almost always, this is along racial lines. Read more
Published 4 months ago by BBP
4.0 out of 5 stars I don't know that I should talk about the value ...
I don't know that I should talk about the value of this book as I am not African American, nor do I have African American children. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Joe
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