Published by Harper Collins on January 3rd 2012
Genres: Young Adult, General, Social Issues, Adolescence, People & Places, United States, African American
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He couldn’t listen to music or talk on the phone without her jumping all over him about what they listened to up in Maine, or how they talked up in Maine, or how he better not go up to Maine and start acting ghetto.
Anthony’s mother didn’t even know where it was until he’d shown it to her on a map, but that still didn’t stop her from acting like she was born there.
Anthony “Ant” Jones has never been outside his rough East Cleveland neighborhood when he’s given a scholarship to Belton Academy, an elite prep school in Maine.But at Belton things are far from perfect. Everyone calls him “Tony,” assumes he’s from Brooklyn, expects him to play basketball, and yet acts shocked when he fights back.
As Anthony tries to adapt to a world that will never fully accept him, he’s in for a rude awakening: Home is becoming a place where he no longer belongs.
In debut author Brian F. Walker’s hard-hitting novel about staying true to yourself, Anthony might find a way to survive at Belton, but what will it cost him?
I find it unfortunate that Black Boy, White School by Brian F. Walker has received so little attention online. Black Boy, White School is a young adult novel about Ant, a black boy from East Cleveland who earns a scholarship to a boarding school in Main. Black Boy, White School is a quick read with interesting insight about racism.
Honestly, I liked Ant as a character. I thought the author, Brian F. Walker, could have gone one way and made Ant a stereotypical angry young black man. Instead, Walker paints Ant as a vulnerable character who doesn’t fit into either of his worlds – home on the streets of East Cleveland where his friends are dying or at Main where everyone thinks he’s from New York City and there to play ball.
Black Brother, White School provides an interesting look at the lip service some pay to multiculturalism. It shows how some schools do the bare minimum to claim diversity, yet it is clearly NOT enough. Yet, I felt some of the issues raised by Walker -of privilege- could have been explored more deeply. I felt Black Boy, White School was a good book, but fell short of being great because of the shallow treatment of the issues Ant faces. I wish Black Boy, White School had been longer. Maybe I would have felt that ‘HALLELUJAH THIS IS GREAT I LEARNED SOMETHING’ that I get with the occasional Walter Dean Myers or Sherman Alexie book. Plus, the ending of Black Boy, White School is very abrupt. I felt unsatisfied.
Yet, I believe Black Boy, White School by Brian F. Walker has an audience with reluctant readers. It has awesome things like swearing, violence, alcohol, and drug use. It is not a sanitized story — which is definitely what some kids want. I certainly appreciated it’s realism. I would say that Black Boy, White School is a great book to hand a kid who has no clue what to read after Walter Dean Myers.
Disclosure: Review copy provided by publisher
This counts for the PoC Reading Challenge as well as the Debut Author Challenge.