Tuma's Book Rant: Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam

Fatuma Hydara
Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam, book review, diverse book box, bipoc books

This novel-in-verse is inspired by the experience of Yusef Salaam, one of the Central Park Five (a group of young men falsely accused and incarcerated for the rape and murder of a young, female jogger).

In this tale, Amal, whose name means hope, is caught up in a fight with a group of white boys across time who didn't want the "niggers" in their neighborhood. One of the boys ends up in a coma and Amal is accused and found guilty though he didn't throw the last punch.

He uses his poetry and his art to make sense of what's happening to him and to survive.

The paint splattered pages made this book a work of art. A beautiful reflective of Amal, artist turned criminal through the eyes of "justice."

I love "decorative" books. I wonder who makes those decisions? Writer? Publishing house? Why do some books get pretty designs on the inner pages and others don't? 🤔 #FutureResearch #NerdingOut

Overall, I like this book well enough. It felt a bit superficial? I was expecting it to touch my heart a bit more deeply. The ending left a bit to be desired. I don't feel that I had closure.

But I would highly recommend this for teens and in the classroom. I actually plan on reading this with my 8th graders in April, along with Brown Girl Dreaming and I cannot wait!

Buy Punching the Air here

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