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Ghetto Cowboy

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3.85  ·  Rating details ·  2,151 Ratings  ·  335 Reviews
Suddenly, something big and white bumps up against the car, and I jump. I think I must be dreamin’, ’cause I just saw a horse run by.



When Cole’s mom dumps him in the mean streets of Philly to live with the dad he’s never met, the last thing he expects to see is a horse—let alone a stable full of them. He may not know much about cowboys, but what he knows for sure is that c
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Audio CD, 0 pages
Published August 9th 2011 by Candlewick on Brilliance Audio
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Betsy
Sep 13, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fun Fact: Parents these days speak in code. As a New York children’s librarian I had to learn this the hard way. Let’s say they want a folktale about a girl outwitting a witch. I pull out something like McKissack's Precious and the Boo Hag and proudly hand it to them. When I do, the parent scrunches up their nose and I think to myself, “Uh-oh.” Then they say it. “Yeah, um . . . we were looking for something a little less . . . urban.” Never mind that the book takes places in the country. In this ...more
Betsy
You know you want to read a book with this title: Ghetto Cowboy. I mean, c'mon--doesn't that pique your interest just a teeny tiny bit??

This was a very cool book on a number of levels. First, I had no idea that there WERE such things as ghetto cowboys (and, yes, there are!). Cool.

Second, the single-parent-drops-kid-off-with-long-lost-other-parent plot line has gotten old. Until now. Somehow, the setting of an urban stable with ghetto cowboys makes it cool. Really.

Third, the parents are better pa
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Michele
Aug 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Awesome book!

This excellent book was a fairly quick read with a interesting plot, great characters, and a rousing message. The book begins with African American 7th grader Cole getting suspended from school for the rest of the school year for vandalism after skipping school for four weeks. His mama decides to take action by driving him from Detroit to Philadelphia to live with the father he has never known. There he discovers an unusual world of a stable full of cowboys right in the middle of i
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Raina
Jul 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I took WAY too long to read this. Almost actually too long.

I got it originally at a library conference in 2012 (signed by the author, no less), and because I had a copy with no due date, didn't read it until summer 2016. I liked it even more than I expected to, and ended up booktalking it to my local middle schools in January 2017.

We meet Cole in the midst of a traumatic event in his life, and watch him encounter the nature of animals in an unnatural habitat. The story eventually gets to NIMBY i
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Aaron
Sep 18, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
***SPOILER ALERT***

the last thing Cole expected to see was a horse, and that is what he saw. this urban realistic-fiction book is about a bad kid (Cole) moved to philly with his dad that he never met before, but at the end he learns, The Cowboy Way.i thought the book had many mistakes but some parts were good, overall, not good 2 stars. Some parts i will show you about so you see my statement. too mush slang, like, "they is electricians",and "I is going get me some food", and that is not how ki
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Emily
I can't believe I didn't read this book until now.

4th grade book talk
Picture a cowboy for a second. You’re probably thinking of someone in the Wild West, in the desert, with a cowboy hat and cowboy boots, a lasso, a horse and saddle, and some cows. Right? What color skin do these cowboys in your head have? White, but tanned from being out in the sun, right?
Cole, the main character of this book, thinks the same way you do. All the cowboys you or he has seen on TV or in movies are white – but he
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Jim
Jul 21, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Who exactly is the audience for this book? The voice of the narrator would suggest that it is for middle school aged kids, particularly black kids. However, there is not a kid that age I know that would enjoy the story in the least. Not only is it a kids book about horses in an urban setting, which is boring enough, but there is nothing real to connect with or like about the narrator. I can certainly see why it was chosen as a nominee for the Rebecca Caudill Award as it is exactly the kind of ga ...more
Robert Kent
But here, Esteemed Reader, is G. Neri and his new classic, Ghetto Cowboy. It's a gripping read for readers of any age, and if you're a writer working on your voice, Ghetto Cowboy is a book you definitely want to read as G. Neri is all about nailing the voice of his protagonist Witness how he writes Cole (short for Coltrane, naturally) as a genuine character who says the things Cole would say the way he would say them (but without all the swearing I imagine he might include if this were YA instea ...more
Lauren Waters
The characters and plot started out really strong at the start of the book but fell a little flat in the middle. Overall, the story unfolded an important message of standing up for your beliefs and community as well as family.
Eva
Jun 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a really interesting if quick read. I would've liked to have seen more about the history of black cowboys and how the stables in Philly came about, but I suppose that's what actual history is for as opposed to a middle grade novel.
Dalilah
I'm sure you met or knew/know someone that is a troublemaker in school. Well in this book Cole is one, but only worse. My opinion in this and Realistic Fiction book is that there is lots of cool action and you will probably enjoy it right from the beginning of the story. I think this book might go good for someone who wants action in their story and get a little sad in it too. To me this was a really cool book, I loved all the action and all the characters.

A 7th grader named Cole that makes his
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Ms. Schutte
Jan 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ghetto Cowboy is G. Neri's most recent take at delving into a news story and pulling out an incredibly compelling (and hilarious) story from it.

The book starts out with Cole's mother finding out that he's been cutting school for a month and driving him from Detroit to Philly to leave him on his father's doorstep--a man who Cole has never met. Within his first five minutes in Philly his mother runs into a horse with her car, and he sees his father, who greets him with a scowl wearing a cowboy hat
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Julia
What a delightful book for preteen and teen boys who are nonreaders, or chose not to read, for whom books like Hatchet, might as well take place on the moon. Or for anyone, old or young, urban, suburban or rural, reader or not there yet, who likes a good story, with a fascinating setting and refreshingly good characters.

“’The Cowboy Way is, no matter what, never ever give up fighting when the chips are down. Real cowboys never give up,’ Harp says…

‘Ain’t nothing changed,’ says Jamaica Bob. ‘Cow
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Anthony
***Spoiler alert***

Have you ever been so bad that your mom took you to your dad's house? Well this book's genre is realistic fiction. this book is the best book I've read this year.

this story takes place in the "Philles" a.k.as Philadelphia & Detroit.Cole wanted to stay with his mom, but his mom doesn't want him there, so she took Cole to his father's house, then he would visit his father in the summer & his mom during the school year.the conflict is person vs self vs person, because he
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Jessica
Appeal Characteristics: urban cowboys, father-son relationship, black male relationships, urban life, gangs, truancy, mother-son relationship, coming of age story


This book reminded me sorta of an urbanized Hoot. It is actually based on a real place that specifically caters to urban males to help them put down a gun and pick up a horse. Neri places a special note about how he found the article and where you can find more information on the actual place. This book has definitely piqued my intere
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Kellee
I loved this book so much. I know that I love a book when I am listening to the audio book and I don't want to get out of my car. Also, I normally do not bring my audio books inside, but with this one I had to because I didn't want to stop. I was fascinated by the modern history it shared with me about Philadelphia as well as the history about cowboys and horses. I was enthralled by Coltrane and his coming of age story. I loved most of the minor characters and I rooted for everyone throughout. T ...more
Randy Daugherty
Coltrane "Cole" to his friends is from Detroit, motor city and has his mother to her wits end, not knowing what to do she takes him to Philadelphia, to drop him off with a father he has never seen.
Harp barely take scare of himself , horses and the kids in the neighborhood, how can he take care of one more little alone his own?
Harp runs a stable in the Fletcher area, the one safe zone , protected from the influence of the gangs where Harp tried to give the boys something to believe in, a set of v
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Colette
Jun 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can't image giving up on my child, though there were times I truly wanted to! Cole and his father are strong characters, Neri does a fantastic job of sucking you in, keeping you reading, and wondering what would happen next to this 12 year old protagonist due to his immature decision making. Written in first person narrative, Cole speaks in getto-speak throughout the whole book, and no one corrected his grammar, not even once. Sounds a great deal like some of our students, but you can be assur ...more
Francesca Forrest
This was really wonderful. I wish I'd read it all in one go instead of with a big gap in the middle, but the story was so tightly woven that I could fall right back into it.

It really has everything--a great protagonist, interesting, believable supporting characters, a plot with both personal and larger-than-personal stakes, a wonderful narrative voice, and a really good ending. I was a little worried how things were going to work out between Cole and his mother, but Neri handled it really well.
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Donna Gephart
Dec 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ghetto Cowboy illuminates a tradition many people may not have learned about.

I lived in Philadelphia more than 30 years and had never heard about the cowboys and stables in North Philadelphia, giving kids a chance to care for horses rather than join gangs.

Neri's story, while based in fact, focuses on a fictional character, Cole, and his struggle to find his place in the world. It's well-told, uses realistic, gritty dialogue and grips readers with a story that needs to be read.

This book belongs i
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Jennifer
Interesting glimpse into the world of urban black cowboys holding on and fighting to keep the cowboy way of life.

12 year old Cole's delinquent attitude causes his mother to drive him from Detroit to Philadelphia, where his father lives. After dropping him off, Cole realizes she's never coming back and that he has to either run away or learn more about being a cowboy.

Inner-city horsemen have a great history and are a fascinating subject for a book. I only wish that this book had been designed as
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Abby Johnson
Feb 24, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
Not exactly my thing (never got into horse stories, although the urban cowboy thing is pretty cool and a nice differentiation from your typical horse story), but this is a great choice for tweens. I'd hand it to kids looking for a different spin on a horse story or kids looking for age-appropriate street lit. Excellent narration by JD Jackson makes this an appealing listen and the music that starts and ends each disc sets the tone nicely.
Wendy
Apr 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Neri has picked a truly unique (but absolutely authentic) setting for his story - the stables and corrals of inner-city Philadelphia. Coltrane, the main character, is sent to live with a father he has never met after his mother has hit her limit. The father is more talented with horses than he is with his own son, but their journey toward each other is lovingly (but not too easily) depicted.
Courtney
Oct 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book with my fifth graders! It was amazing. Relatable, entertaining, thought provoking, and emotional. My students begged me to read more everyday. And after we finished, several of them checked it out from the library. This has lots of great opportunities for students to respond with connections and it's also great for inferencing.
Brenda Kahn
Oct 31, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this one even though it resolved a little quickly and a bit neatly. The author created a strong sense of place and community here. It could've been longer. It had an edgy feel, but stayed appropriate for a middle grade audience.
D'Arcy Rowe
Apr 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a great story. Cole really grew from being a punk to being a responsible young man. The story of horses in Philadelphia is interesting. What a way of life and a wonderful way to keep kids out of gangs.
Edward Sullivan
A wonderful, uplifting story about a young man who makes connections and finds direction in his life when he goes to live with his father in Philadelphia and learns the ways of the inner city cowboy.
Alexis Ancel
Oct 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Ghetto Cowboy” tells the story of a street kid named Cole, a 12-year-old boy fresh off the streets of Detroit. He gives up on school and himself, so in a last-ditch attempt to save her son from the street life path he was headed toward, his mother takes him to his father’s urban stables in Philadelphia where he rescues racehorses and uses them to help work with the inner city kids.

And this new life of his is no walk in the park. Neri does little to shield his audience from the horrors of reali
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Joannie Caraballo-López
This review is required for Dr. Sykes' READ5351 course at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. Ghetto Cowboy is written in first person point of view from the perspective of the main character Cole. The setting of the story takes place in an urban, rundown neighborhood of Philadelphia. The protagonist, main character is Cole a twelve year old boy who ditched school and frequently got himself into trouble. The antagonist of the story or secondary character in the book is Harper, an African Ameri ...more
Kim
Cole, a young boy in Detroit, has exhausted his mother's faith, so she sends him to Philadelphia to live with a father he has never met. His dad, Harper, is a Black Cowboy, working with horses in a bad section of the city to give the kids something more to aspire to. Cole (for Coltrane) finds peace and accomplishment in the Cowboy way.

Beautifully done with great illustrations.
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G. NERI is the Coretta Scott King honor winning author of YUMMY: THE LAST DAYS OF A SOUTHSIDE SHORTY. He is also the recipient of the International Reading Association's Lee Bennett Hopkins Promising Poet Award for his debut book CHESS RUMBLE. His latest novel GHETTO COWBOY won an ALA Odyssey Honor and the Horace Mann Upstanders Award. His work has been honored by the Simon Wiesenthal Center and t ...more
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“When gangs took over the [abandoned public land in Philadelphia] and the neighborhood took a turn for the worse, horses became a way of saving lives. By getting boys interested in raising a horse rather than killing another human being, these cowboys gave the youth something positive: father figures, focus, and the ability to stand tall.” 6 likes
“Don't steal nobody's cattle or their women. Treat your horse like your best friend, because sometimes that's all you got. Most important, trust and believe in your guys and always have their back when they need you.” 1 likes
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