Bound To Stay Bound

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 Black brother, black brother
 Author: Rhodes, Jewell Parker

 Publisher:  Little, Brown (2020)

 Classification: Fiction
 Physical Description: 239 p., ill., 20 cm

 BTSB No: 749454 ISBN: 9780316493802
 Ages: 8-12 Grades: 3-7

 Fencing -- Fiction
 African Americans -- Fiction
 Racism -- Fiction
 Private schools -- Fiction
 School stories
 Family life -- Massachusetts -- Fiction
 Massachusetts -- Fiction

Price: $21.88

Suspended unjustly from elite Middlefield Prep, Donte Ellison studies fencing with a former champion, hoping to put the racist fencing team captain in his place.

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Accelerated Reader Information:
   Interest Level: MG
   Reading Level: 3.40
   Points: 4.0   Quiz: 508461
Reading Counts Information:
   Interest Level: 3-5
   Reading Level: 4.30
   Points: 8.0   Quiz: 78012

   Kirkus Reviews (12/15/19)
   School Library Journal (02/01/20)
   Booklist (+) (03/01/20)
 The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/03/20)

Full Text Reviews:

School Library Journal - 02/01/2020 Gr 4–6—Donte is having a difficult time adjusting to life at Middlefield Prep. Going to public school in New York City to now being one of the only black boys at a prep school in Newton, MA, is a dramatic shift. What's worse, all the kids at school keep bullying him and singling him out as different, while his lighter-skinned brother, Trey, passes with ease. After one too many incidents with Alan, the captain of the school fencing team, Donte decides that he has to beat him at his own game. This quest sets Donte and Trey off on a mission to find Mr. Jones, a black former Olympic fencer and Boston Boys and Girls Club employee, who agrees to teach them how to fence. Along the way, Donte makes friends, becomes an excellent fencer, and finds his place in the Boston area. In the first part of the book, Donte's school calls the police after he throws his backpack to the ground, and he is forced to go to juvenile court. Rhodes points out his privilege in being well off, and how the court is willing to treat him differently after seeing his white father and white-passing brother. Donte's story is a good primer for younger readers on microaggressions. Though the first few chapters of the book focus heavily on Donte's mistreatment at school, the story quickly moves into a heavy focus on his fencing journey. The depiction of Donte's confidence growing with each lesson and as he makes friends at the Boys and Girls Club is interesting and exciting. Readers will want to learn more about the sport. VERDICT Give to readers who love Jason Reynolds's "Track" series or Jewell Parker Rhodes's other offerings for young readers.—Kelsey Socha, Ventress Memorial Library, Marshfield, MA - Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.

Booklist - 03/01/2020 *Starred Review* A profound treatise about institutional racism for the middle-grade set, Rhodes’ (Ghost Boys, 2018) latest elevates beyond simple moralizing into a penetrating look into the soul of a young person struggling with how to become a Black man of character in a world that expects him to be less. Dropping the reader directly into a tony prep-school office where Donte anxiously awaits judgement for an offense he did not commit, Rhodes dials readers immediately into the boy’s acute dread as he cycles through feelings of shame, anger, and confusion, ultimately leading to a nonconfrontation that causes him to be arrested. As we learn more about Donte and his biracial family, including his lighter-skinned brother, we come to root for him and his pursuit of redemption as he seeks to prove his self-worth to his bullies and his school community through fencing. His coach, one of the first Black Olympic fencers, helps him refine his talent and his ability to deal with the inequities he experiences on a regular basis. An entertaining story and happy ending does not take away from this powerful examination of how the educational and justice systems punitively treat children of color—and how this bias impacts their self-perception and esteem. A powerful work and a must-have for children’s collections. - Copyright 2020 Booklist.

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