- Age Range: 9 - 12 years
- Grade Level: 5 and up
- Lexile Measure: 360 (What's this?)
- Hardcover: 224 pages
- Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (April 17, 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0316262285
- ISBN-13: 978-0316262286
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 7.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 74 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,030 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Ghost Boys Hardcover – April 17, 2018
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From School Library Journal
Gr 4–8—The Towers Falling author once again tackles a timely yet difficult subject. In Chicago, 12-year-old black youth Jerome is shot and killed by a white police officer who mistakes a toy gun for a real one. As a ghost, Jerome witnesses the aftermath gripping both his family and that of the police officers. Jerome also meets another ghost—that of Emmett Till, a black boy murdered in 1955. Through Till's story, he learns of the hundreds of other "ghost boys" left to roam and stop history from continually repeating itself. The only person who can see Jerome is the daughter of the white police officer, Sarah, and through her eyes, he realizes that his family isn't the only one affected by the tragedy. Two families are destroyed with one split decision, and Sarah and Jerome together try to heal both of their families, along with Jerome's friend Carlos. It was Carlos' toy gun that Jerome was playing with, leaving Carlos with great guilt and the intense desire to protect Jerome's little sister, Kim, from bullies and other sorrows. Deftly woven and poignantly told, this a story about society, biases both conscious and unconscious, and trying to right the wrongs of the world. VERDICT Rhodes captures the all-too-real pain of racial injustice and provides an important window for readers who are just beginning to explore the ideas of privilege and implicit bias.—Michele Shaw, Quail Run Elementary School, San Ramon, CA
Praise for Ghost Boys:
"This was one of my most anticipated 2018 books and I was not disappointed. A must read."―Angie Thomas, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Hate U Give
* "An excellent novel that delves into the timely topic of racism... with the question of whether or not we really have come far when dealing with race relations."―School Library Connection, starred review
"In writing that's spare and powerful, Rhodes takes us into the hearts and minds of those who are left behind, and then out into a vast and luminous world where ghost boys wander among the living, pursuing their mysterious mission. Rhodes has achieved something remarkable here: a kid's-eye-view of violence and racism that balances innocence and outrage, wrenching loss and hard-won hope."―Chicago Tribune
"A timely, challenging book that's worthy of a read, further discussion, and action."―Kirkus Reviews
"[A] potent story that deserves to be read."―VOYA
"Ghost Boys is powerful in prose, and so important at this time. I hope parents will read this book to their children."―The Monitor
"Written beautifully...an important novel."―WCMU Public Radio
"Unblinkingly confronts challenging perspectives and the mutability of truth."―Shelf Awareness
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It took me awhile to actually steel my heart to read "Ghost Boys" for I knew it would test my emotions, still tearful as I write this note.
You, my talented friend, became the vehicle for thousands of ghost boys to tell their painful stories.
Of young Black lives snatched away; of youthful Black dreams unfulfilled; of sorrow-filled loved ones left behind, of unfair laws and practices that make murdering our Black children, acts of heroism.
The range of emotions I experienced reading "Ghost Boys," from anger and grief to a small glimmer of hope. You told their stories and made me know that we must first know, then share these stories, and finally fight to make sure the sacrifices of their short lives unlived will not be in vain.
Every child in this country should read, share and discuss this book with each other and their families. Our Children MUST MATTER to us!
Thank you for the impact this book must make on everyone who reads it!
I actually read this book twice, because the layers sucked me in, I felt compelled to revisit the story after I finished.
Jerome is an honest and struggling narrator and his tone seems instantly genuine to his circumstance of being slain at the hands of a judgmental (and possibly racist) cop.
Instead of focusing on the police officer, though, this book focuses on his daughter...and her deep conflict in empathizing with Jerome (by creating a relationship with his ghost and the ghost of Emmett Till) but also loving and remaining loyal to her father.
Largely, this book is hopeful, but it’s mostly a story for children about the unfairness of racism and racial violence and the chain reaction of suffering created by these deaths.
Powerful. Excellent. I’ll be teaching it somehow next year.
Read this after "Midnight Without a Moon" by Linda Williams Jackson for even more depth. Violence is not graphic, but it's sobering. Shows how easily things can go wrong on so many levels.