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Fiction: Contemporary, Urban Fiction, Racism, Sports
More than a book about basketball, it is about friendship and one wrong decision that will change everything.
Title: Black and White
Book Group Leader: Jim Ferland
Goodreads: 4 Stars
Amazon: 4.4 Stars
Ms. Smith’s Review: A page turner from the beginning. This book is timely and still relevant to understanding injustice and racism in today’s society.
Awards/Honors: Green Mountain Book Award Nominee (GMBA) 2009, IRA Children’s and Young Adult’s Book Award for Young Adult–Fiction (2006), Missouri Gateway Readers Award Nominee (2008), Star Reviews from: Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books.
Gr. 9-12. "Kids who are different colors don't get to be all that tight in my neighborhood. But we get past all that racial crap,"says Marcus, an African American senior whose best friend, Eddie, is white. Together, the boys are known at school as Black and White. Both are basketball stars entertaining scholarship offers from local New York City colleges, but they risk everything for more spending money. Considering fast-food jobs too demeaning, they turn to armed stickups, and during their third robbery, they shoot and wound their victim. In alternating chapters, Marcus and Eddie recount the terrifying days after the event as they wait for the police to find and arrest them. The disparate treatment each receives highlights their racial divide, which is occasionally echoed on the streets in harsh language full of hate: a man on the subway tells a white girl that "niggers are going to fuck you, too."Using authentic voices that will draw in both strong and reluctant readers, Volponi writes a taut novel that avoids didacticism and deftly balances drama and passion on the basketball court with each boy's private terror and anguish. Teens will want to discuss the story's layered moral ambiguities, heartbreaking choices, and, as Marcus says, "the line that separates black and white."