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Black Brother, Black Brother

4.30  ·  Rating details ·  3,231 ratings  ·  640 reviews
From award-winning and bestselling author, Jewell Parker Rhodes comes a powerful coming-of-age story about two brothers, one who presents as white, the other as black, and the complex ways in which they are forced to navigate the world, all while training for a fencing competition.

Donte wishes he were invisible. As one of the few black boys at Middlefield Prep, he feels a
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published March 3rd 2020 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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Saige Randall This book was on the 5th-grade summer reading list, and I think that the description of 8-12 was fairly accurate.

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Mary Lee
With the private school setting, Jewell Parker Rhodes can explore yet another layer of racism -- the bubble of privilege created by wealth. This is privilege shared by the main characters, two bi-racial brothers, one who presents white and one who presents black. They live in a big house in a swanky neighborhood and have all the trappings of wealth (the "right" clothes, shoes, Beats headphones, etc.). But the bubble of privilege also protects the white bully and the system that provides differen ...more
Reading_ Tam_ Ishly
Mar 30, 2021 rated it really liked it
"No science fiction or fantasy is going to help me. I live in a too-real world."

(So, I read contemporary and non-fiction a lot instead. Just saying ☺️)

Well, with this book, the author has become my autobuy author! Yes, for me and to more books by the author!

The writing is awesome. It's heartbreaking from the very beginning. It describes well how a person of colour is being discriminated outside his family all the freaking time by those whose are supposed to be their well-wishers.

Damn the t
Jun 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
Donte and his brother Trey both go to the same private, predominantly white middle school. But they get treated very differently than one another. Though they both have one Black parent and one white parent, Trey is much lighter skinned and almost passes for being white while Donte’s skin is darker. Donte is picked on by his classmates and accused by teachers and the administration for things he didn’t do. The book opens with the principal calling the police and having Donte arrested for no reas ...more
Laura Gardner
Nov 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Nothing makes me happier than a really good ARC from an author I trust to make me think and feel and reflect. Put Black Brother, Black Brother on your pre-order lists; this amazing #mglit book by @jewellparkerrhodes comes out in March of 2020. (sharing w/#kidlitexchange today!)

This powerful book addresses prejudice, colorism, and bullying for a middle grade audience and also manages to weave in a theme of tenacity in a sports narrative. As Donte's fencing coach says, "'s not just about the
Jul 24, 2020 rated it it was ok
This is actually well written at the sentence level, with quick and engaging chapters suitable for the middle grade audience. It starts off as if it is going to delve poignantly into a cultural commentary centered around the story of two biracial brothers, one with lighter skin and one with darker skin, who are treated differently based on the difference in skin color. In this post-George Floyd era (interesting to note that this was published before George Floyd was murdered, so obviously these ...more
Bethany Parker
Jan 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
I adore Jewell Parker Rhodes. She creates quick-paced diverse novels allowing students to learn about social issues in a digestible way. It's no Ghost Boys, but there are a lot of students I'd recommend this to. ...more
Kate Olson
Nov 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Amazing. A quick lyrical read about a sport I’ve never read about. Also, of course, an incredibly important story about colorism. Grades 5-8.
The Nerd Daily
Apr 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Jeanette Zhukov

“Contradictions rattle, hurt my mind. (Be tough. Don’t be tough. Don’t be tough, get bullied. Be black, tough can get you killed.)”

Award-winning and bestselling author, Jewell Parker Rhodes, captivates audiences with her new emotionally driven story about a young black boy that faces discrimination, while also discovering the importance of community and friendship. Black Brother, Black Brother is a middle-grade novel that looks at
Colby Sharp
Dec 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mg-novel, 2020
Check out my video review of this amazing book!
Mary Thomas
May 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Another great middle grade novel from Jewell Parker Rhodes! This would be excellent paired with Proud by Ibtihaj Muhammad. Highly recommend for grades 4-7.
I really enjoyed many things about this novel: the fencing, the mentorship, and the discussion about the school-to-prison pipeline. Something about it didn’t personally hit me emotionally and it kind of felt like the plot and characters were following a laid out procedure.
Phil Jensen
Jul 04, 2020 rated it liked it
This is the first Newbery contender this year that I liked enough to finish.

Rhodes does a great job of leading with a strong hook and moving the action with well-written dialogue and short chapters. The book is pretty lean and there's not a lot of excess material here.

I was disappointed that the very real situation of a student getting arrested over nothing was followed up by a cheesy Karate Kid rehash. It was a trope bonanza, and it totally undermined the seriousness of the first couple chapter
lucy  Ü
Sep 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
i dont really know what to say about this book.
i guess the only thing i really have to say is that racism does unfortunately exist and is something some people can't seem to be able to move past.

as a teacher, it broke my heart seeing how an education system failed a child through their own cultural bias and blindness. how they simply could not see past color and they could not see the individual child. and it still breaks my heart how there are some children and people who simply feel like the
Mar 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book really made me feel like this was a book about family. This story shows you two different boys one who presents as black and one that presents as white and how each is treated within their community. It was definitely different but, this story was beautifully written and I could not put it down.
Apr 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I’m ecstatic to be able to share this with students and colleagues! This book is needed for so many reasons. Great story about being the best you possible even in the face of blatant bias. You’ll get a sense of family, friendship, determination, and doing the right thing even when it is hardest thing you’ve ever done!
Jay DeMoir
May 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Read in a day! Great novel! Donte and Trey are biracial brothers and this book touched on what it's like to be a black boy in a "White Person's world" and navigate it. I really loved the POV and story! Can't wait to share with my students. ...more
Well-intentioned. However, the shallowness shown toward motivations and characters leaves credibility gaps.
This book is one you have to read to the end to appreciate fully. (I assume that's usually how books work in general, but...this one has a great ending).

It starts out with an interesting premise: biracial brothers who go to the same fancy school and have very different lives because of how they look, or because of what people assume about them.

I love that this book revolves around fencing (what?!? fencing!) because it is so far outside of my circle of knowledge. And yet the last few chapters a
Excellent middle grade story that I will be encouraging my students to read! Listening to the author speak about the connections to her own family's experiences added to the power of this gem. ...more
May 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is more like a 4.5 for me! I couldn't put it down, and I cared about the characters so much. It's also rare to have a children's book about race and class dynamics in Boston, and I'm grateful to be able to give it to my local library patrons. ...more
Valarie Graham
Jun 14, 2020 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
A. Breeze Harper
I finished the book “Black Brother, Black Brother” yesterday. Excellent read for middle and high school kids to address white supremacy, class, racism and especially colorism. it's about two brothers with the same biological parents. The mother is black and the father is white. One of the sons is much lighter and almost passes for white while the other son has much darker skin with locks and looks like his mother. The book shows how the darker son is perceived by the white Administration, teache ...more
Oct 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to Edelweiss+ and the publisher for an ARC of this book.

I absolutely loved GHOST BOYS, so I was very pleased to read get an ARC of this story to read something new by the author. My ARC did not have a finished cover, so I cannot comment on the artwork, but I certainly hope that it's as appealing as the story itself.

I have never read a story where two biological siblings look so different from one another (Donte and Trey's dad is white, and their mom is black. Donte has dark skin, while
Lorie Barber
Mar 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Only 5 stars? This incredible book deserves all of them. Rhodes, author of Ghost Boys and Towers Falling, tackles prejudice and racism in Black Brother, Black Brother, in a way that’s both relevant and accessible.

Donte Ellison is the protagonist, a boy who is unfairly targeted by both classmates and staff at his private school because he’s Black. He learns to channel the rage and confusion inside him with the help and guidance of an unexpected new mentor.

The growth and change in Donte was noth
Feb 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Read in a day — what a strong and powerful book. I can’t wait to get a copy to share with my students.
Holly Mueller
Loved listening to this upper middle grade/young adult story about two biracial brothers, one presents as black the other white. Dante is called the "Black Brother" and is bullied and experiences racism at Middlefield Prep, a largely white, wealthy, private, elite school. The two brothers have completely different experiences because of the color of their skin. Donte decides he wants to learn how to fence, a popular sport at the school, and challenge his nemesis, "King" Alan. He finds a former O ...more
Grace W
Sep 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens-book
(c/p from my review on TheStoryGraph) TW for this book include: racism, violence

This is a pretty good book that I feel like handles the subject matter in a way that works really well for middle grade readers. I think it's not as well written or well developed as I wished it was and there were times when the storytelling felt jerky. I still enjoyed it well enough I just didn't love it the way I've loved similar books.
Jul 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
In this amazing piece, Rhodes shares the plight of of colorism, over policing of minority students, and unfair punishment for black male students.
Although the content is heavy, it is written in a way that connects with young reader and shows ways for young readers to not just get angry but make a change in a unique way!
Joy Kirr
Loved this one from the first chapter. Read it in two days. I love Donte, his lighter brother Trey, their parents (go, lawyer mom!), the Olympic fencing coach, and I learned a tad bit more about how Black children are raised. (I liked this one better than her other two.)
Jan 14, 2021 rated it really liked it
This was such an interesting novel that I really enjoyed, however, it wasn't something that I'm going to remember forever.
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Challenging Persp...: 2021-02 - Black Brother Black Brother 2 1 Feb 04, 2021 09:00AM  
Mock Newbery 2022: July Read - Black Brother, Black Brother 15 171 Aug 24, 2020 01:38PM  

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Jewell Parker Rhodes has always loved reading and writing stories. Born and raised in Manchester, a largely African-American neighborhood on the North Side of Pittsburgh, she was a voracious reader as a child. She began college as a dance major, but when she discovered there were novels by African Americans, she knew she wanted to be an author. She wrote six novels for adults, two writing guides, ...more

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