Tuesday, September 4, 2018

GHOST BOYS by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Ghost Boys
Jerome was only twelve years old the day he was shot and killed by police officers. He was innocently playing with a toy gun given to him by a new friend when the police rolled by in their car and, fearing for their lives, shot Jerome in the back.

Jerome returns as a ghost to observe the preliminary hearing that will determine if there is enough evidence to charge the police officer with murder. As he watches the testimony, Jerome realizes that one person in the courtroom can actually see him. Sarah, the daughter of the police officer, watches Jerome carefully. Although they cannot touch, they are able to communicate. Jerome knows that Sarah is trying to understand how her father could possibly have shot and killed a boy her own age.

Other ghosts appear during the court proceedings and interact with Jerome. They are all young black boys, victims of violent deaths. One in particular connects with Jerome. It is the ghost of Emmett Till, a young Chicago black boy who was killed while visiting relatives in Mississippi.

Sarah researches the story of Emmett's death and shares it with Jerome. The more she learns about others who died because they were black, the more she wants to be the proponent of change for the future.

Author Jewell Parker Rhodes tells Jerome's story as he remembers it up to the day he was shot and beyond as his ghost observes the reactions of the world and those he loves. Even though his life ended tragically, he expresses his gratitude for a new friend made in the days before his death and the friendship he discovered with Sarah after he died. GHOST BOYS is perfect as a connection to the history of white on black crime and is sure to spark productive discussion among its readers.

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