Few books have been more timely, more important, and more lauded than All American Boys by co-authors Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely. Though it has only been on the shelves for a little more than a year, this book has truly resonated with readers, and rightfully so. It’s a New York Times bestseller, a 2016 Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book, and the recipient of the 2016 Walter Dean Myers Award for Outstanding Children’s Literature, to name a few. But it’s not the awards that make this book so important and so completely necessary now, even more than when it first went on sale in September 2015.
In the novel, two teens—one black, one white—grapple with the repercussions of a single violent act that leaves their school, their community, and, ultimately, the country bitterly divided by racial tension. Jason and Brendan tell the story by writing in the alternating perspectives of Rashad and Quinn as the complications from that single moment, the type taken from the headlines, unfold and reverberate to highlight an unwelcome truth.
Want to find out more? It’s an extended excerpt until November 21st so go check it out now!
It’s not hard to imagine why Jason and Brendan felt this type of book was necessary. Here’s what they had to say:
“As a black man and a white man, both writers and educators, we came together to co-write a book about how systemic racism and police brutality affect the lives of young people in America, in order to create an important, unique, and honest work that would give young people and the people who educate them a tool for having these difficult but absolutely vital conversations.”
There’s no doubt this book raises some difficult questions that the authors had to navigate carefully. Last fall, Jason and Brendan hit the road and went into schools and classrooms, talking to students about their book and the importance of having tough conversations about race. Students wrote down questions they had about the book on notecards that the authors have held on to. Now, for the first time, see the authors respond directly to their readers, answering some of the most difficult questions they’ve been faced with. Check out the videos below to see Jason and Brendan talk about their experience writing together, writing tough stuff, and to learn how YOU can help make a difference.
Have more questions that haven’t been answered here? Leave them in the comments and your questions could be answered in an upcoming Riveted post!