“Only the living can make the world better. Live and make it better.”

Ghost Boys

Twelve-year-old Jerome is shot by a police officer who mistakes his toy gun for a real threat. As a ghost, he observes the devastation that’s been unleashed on his family and community in the wake of what they see as an unjust and brutal killing.

Soon Jerome meets another ghost: Emmett Till, a boy from a very different time but similar circumstances. Emmett helps Jerome process what has happened, on a journey towards recognizing how historical racism may have led to the events that ended his life. Jerome also meets Sarah, the daughter of the police officer, who grapples with her father’s actions.

Once again Jewell Parker Rhodes deftly weaves historical and socio-political layers into a gripping and poignant story about how children and families face the complexities of today’s world, and how one boy grows to understand American blackness in the aftermath of his own death.

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Honors

Recognition and Accolades awarded to Ghost Boys

2019
Jane Addams Children’s Book Award
Jane Addams Peace Association

2019
E. B. White Read-Aloud Middle Reader Award
American Booksellers Association

2019
Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People
CBC

2019
​Walter​ ​Award,​ ​Younger​ ​Readers​ ​Category
WNDB

2019
Brilliant Book Award Shortlist
Nottinghamshire Education Library Service

2019
Golden Kite Hour
SCBWI

2019
Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Readers
YALSA

2019
Sakura Medal Award Nominee
Sakura Medal

2019
Texas Lone Star Reading List
Texas Library Association

2019
One Book, One Philadelphia Middle Grade Selection
Free Library of Philadelphia

2019
Charlotte Huck Honor Award for Outstanding Children’s Fiction
National Council of Teachers of English

2019
Longlist, CILIP Carnegie Medal
CILIP

2019
Texas Blue Bonnet List
Texas Library Association

2019
Longlist, United Kingdom Literary Association Book Awards
UK Literary Association

2018-2019
Book Taco 2018-19 Recommended List
Book Taco

2018-2019
Middle Grade Selection
Project LIT Book Club

2018-2019
Read Across America Selection
NEA

2018
The Nerdies: Middle Grade Fiction
Nerdy Book Club

2018
The Best Children’s Books Of 2018, According To Librarians
Huffington Post

2018
Best Fiction for Older Readers of 2018
Chicago Public Library

2018
Goodreads Choice Awards Finalist: Best Middle Grade & Children’s Books
Goodreads

2018
Best Children’s Books of the Year So Far: Ages 9 to 12
Amazon

2018
#1 Kids’ Indie Next Pick
IndieBound

2018
NAIBA Book of the Year Winner
NAIBA

Praise

Words of praise for Ghost Boys from the press and authors

“Deftly woven and poignantly told, this a story about society, biases both conscious and unconscious, and trying to right the wrongs of the world. Rhodes captures the all-too- real pain of racial injustice and provides an important window for readers who are just beginning to explore the ideas of privilege and implicit bias.”

School Library Journal, starred review

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Ghost Boys gently walks readers through the minefield of young black boys who have been killed due to racism, dating back to the murder of Emmett Till. By exploring the fear that is at the core of these murders, Jewell Parker Rhodes suggests ways the living can crack that fear and, eventually, end this epidemic of death.”

Nikki Grimes, bestselling and award-winning author of Garvey’s Choice and One Last Word

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“Rhodes beautifully weaves together the fictional and the historical… in this gripping and all-too-necessary novel about police brutality, injustice, and the power of bearing witness to the stories of those who are gone.

Booklist, starred review

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“This is an excellent novel that delves into the timely topic of racism and its effects on all individuals of all walks of life in the United States.”

School Library Connection, starred review

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“Rhodes has achieved something remarkable here: a kid’s-eye-view of violence and racism that balances innocence and outrage, wrenching loss and hard-won hope.”

Chicago Tribune

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“Rhodes writes in short, poetic chapters that offer graphic depictions of avoidable tragedies; her hope for a better world packs a powerful punch, delivering a call to action to speak out against prejudice and erase harmful misconceptions.”

Publishers Weekly, starred review

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“The voice of Ghost Boys is nothing less than prophetic: it rings out in its plot lines, in its characters, in its tones, in its images. And here is what that voice says: ‘Bear witness.’ Parker Rhodes undergirds the urgency of that call with the sweetness of grace-filled hope, so that, dear reader, you will come away from this tale, made larger–which, of course, is what truly great stories do.”

Gary Schmidt, two-time Newbery Honor-Winning Author

Press

Articles and interviews on Ghost Boys

2018
Author Interviews: Jewell Parker Rhodes
School Zone

2018
Episode #158: Black Lives Matter for Middle Schoolers
The Longest Shortest Time

2018
Q&A with Jewell Parker Rhodes
Publishers Weekly

2018
Jewell Parker Rhodes (The Children’s Book Podcast #434)
The Children’s Book Podcast

2018
Professor Jewell Parker Rhodes addresses police brutality, race relations in ‘Ghost Boys’
Arizona State University

2018
“Ghost Boys” Tackles Police Violence for a Young Audience
The Takeaway

2018
Galley Talk: ‘Ghost Boys’ by Jewell Parker Rhodes
Publishers Weekly

2017
Why Teens Should Be Reading About Police Brutality and Racism
Moneyish

2017
New Crop of Young Adult Novels Explores Race and Police Brutality
New York Times

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