All American Boys authors, Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely visited the 8th graders yesterday. Their visit was eye opening and inspiring!
They began with a show of hands.
Who has seen the news and social media about Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and other instances of police brutality?
Most students raised their hands.
Who has been talking about these issues?
Very few students raised their hands.
And this is one reason Jason & Brendan decided to write this book. To give readers a platform and an easy way to discuss the issues.
They told two parallel stories of encounters with law enforcement in their teen years. The significance of telling their stories side-by-side was that they had two totally different experiences. Jason, a teen legally riding in a car in his neighborhood, was handcuffed while the car was searched and torn apart, leaving him embarrassed and humiliated. Brendan, a teen recklessly driving and speeding, was sent home with a warning. Two all American boys, two very different experiences.
They also read alternate chapters in their book and then allowed students to discuss with others around them and write down any questions they have. The questions were passed up and they answered many.
One of the most asked questions was, "WHAT CAN WE DO?"
There's not one easy fix, they said. But you can start by talking about the issues. Talk to you parents, teachers, and most importantly, each other. YOU have all the power to make change, they said.
So what will you do? Who will you talk to?
The books will be for sale in the library for the next week. Click HERE to download the order form.