Ghost Boys (Hardcover)
Told in the plain language of a twelve-year-old boy, Jerome Rogers narrates his own gut-wrenching encounter with police brutality and its aftermath. After he is shot and killed by an officer while playing with a toy gun, Jerome remains behind as a ghost. He observes his family’s grief and the preliminary hearing for the man who shot him.
At the courthouse he realizes that Sarah, the officer’s daughter, is the only person who can see and hear him. The two grapple with Jerome’s shooting, forgiveness, and the meaning of racial privilege and oppression in America with the ghost of Emmitt Till as their guide.
Ghost Boys is a beautiful, powerful novel that helps children engage with a difficult subject.
~ Eight Cousins
Holiday Pick 2018
— From Holiday Picks 2018
Only the living can make the world better. Live and make it better.
Twelve-year-old Jerome is shot by a police officer who mistakes his toy gun for a real threat. As a ghost, he observes the devastation that's been unleashed on his family and community in the wake of what they see as an unjust and brutal killing.
Soon Jerome meets another ghost: Emmett Till, a boy from a very different time but similar circumstances. Emmett helps Jerome process what has happened, on a journey towards recognizing how historical racism may have led to the events that ended his life. Jerome also meets Sarah, the daughter of the police officer, who grapples with her father's actions.
Once again Jewell Parker Rhodes deftly weaves historical and socio-political layers into a gripping and poignant story about how children and families face the complexities of today's world, and how one boy grows to understand American blackness in the aftermath of his own death.
A New York Times BestsellerAn IndieBound BestsellerThe #1 Kids' Indies Next PickA 2018 Nerdies List BookAn ALA 2019 Children's Notables List Pick
"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
* "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."—School Library Journal, starred review
* "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
Additional praise and awards for Jewell Parker Rhodes' books:
Ninth Ward was named a Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book, a Notable Book for a Global Society, a CCBC Choices pick, a VOYA Top Shelf Fiction pick, an ALSC Notable Children's Book, an SLJ Best Book of the Year, an IndieBound Kids' Next List pick, a Parents' Choice Gold Award recipient, and an NYPL Top 100 Title for Reading & Sharing.
Sugar was a Junior Library Guild selection, a Kirkus Best Book of the Year, an IndieBound Kids' Next List pick, a Jane Addams Book Award winner, an IRA Top Chapter Books selection, and a CCBC Choices Pick.
Bayou Magic was an LA Times summer reading selection and a Center for the Study of Multicultural Children's Literature Best Books selection.
Towers Falling was an Indiebound Kids' Next List selection, a Junior Library Guild selection, one of Amazon's Best Books of the Month, a Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People, a Seventeen Magazine Best Book of the Year, and a Notable Book for a Global Society.
"Rhodes deftly showcases how much power and intellectual understanding our kids have in building a more inclusive society.”—Book Riot