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I Am Alfonso Jones Paperback – October 12, 2017
The Amazon Book Review
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Alfonso Jones loves to play trumpet and is thinking of trying out for his class s hip hop themed Hamlet. On a shopping trip with his crush Danetta, the African American teen, who is looking for his first suit to wear in celebration of his father s release from jail, is shot by a white off-duty cop who incorrectly assumes the suit hanger is a gun. The rest of the graphic novel jumps among Alfonso s past, the aftermath of the shooting, and his experience on a possibly never-ending train ride with other victims of police violence, including Amadou Diallo as his guide. Medina s juggling of the three threads isn t always graceful, but the variation of Robinson and Jennings s panels and design pushes the narrative forward. A teacher s dialogue with Alfonso s classmates is illuminating and realistic. The outrage and grief are palpable, and the black-and-white illustrations enforce the gut-punching pull of each character s journey. And as Alfonso meets the historical figures who preceded him, readers will understand the systemic racism that underlies these violent cases. VERDICT A brutally honest and bleak but necessary selection for all graphic novel collections. --School Library Journal, Starred Review
We are so fortunate that Tony Medina and his generation have taken on their shoulders the classic responsibilities of telling stories that embrace the hearts and souls of not only the individuals but the neighborhoods. A comic book is no longer something to laugh with but something to learn from. I Am Alfonso Jones is incredibly enlightening. --Nikki Giovanni, Author and Activist
In the aftermath of his senseless murder at the hands of a policeman, Alfonso s story powerfully illustrates the value inherent in every human life and the tragedy of loss suffered by all who are impacted. With echoes of Capra s "It s A Wonderful Life," by the book's conclusion, you too will be saying, I Am Alfonso Jones. --LeVar Burton, Actor, Director, Author, and Reading Activist
About the Author
Tony Medina is the author of six beloved books for young readers, as well as multiple volumes of poetry for adults. A Pushcart Prize-nominated poet and a professor of creative writing at Howard University, Dr. Medina is a two-time winner of the Paterson Prize for Books for Young People. He lives in the Washington, DC area.
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