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Black Brother, Black Brother

4.51  ·  Rating details ·  198 ratings  ·  54 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
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published March 3rd 2020 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 4.51  · 
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1600th review!

This is a book that will capture your heart from the beginning. If youre familiar with Jewell Parker Rhodes writings, get excited because she delivers more emotional content and beautifully poetic prose that is sure to move you and remind you that there is humanity left in this world.

Donte isnt feeling too good. Peoplemore specifically Alanmake fun of him and insult him for being the black brother to his white-skinned brother Trey. Blood is blood, but not to people like Alan, who
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 ...more
Colby Sharp
Dec 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mg-novel, 2020
Check out my video review of this amazing book!
Feb 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Read in a day what a strong and powerful book. I cant wait to get a copy to share with my students. ...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
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.
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
Mar 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
My favorite book by the author so far. Very simple writing style that packs a punch - it will be easy as breathing for young readers to empathize with this narrator. Its also a quick read, with a strong sports component, so it could be an easy sell for reluctant readers. I think this will resonate with many kids, and I appreciate how it highlights everyday racism, from the institutionalized (black and brown kids being disproportionately discriminated against in schools) to everyday ...more
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 thats 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 hes 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
Lauren Watts
Feb 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Super cute, heart-warming story of a black boy and his navigation through school, racial issues, and just being a young person. Teaches a great lesson to children of all colors and inspires kindness. A must read!
Dec 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs
Edelweiss+ provided me a DRC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Jewell Parker Rhodes is a must-have author for our library, as she writes middle grade and POC wonderfully. I have adored everything I've read of hers so far (Ghost Boys, Towers Falling, Sugar), and this one was no different.

The story follows two brothers with biracial parents--one who looks more like their white father and one who looks more like their black mother. There are some typical themes here that are somewhat
Dec 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Donte is Trey's black brother. Confused. Multiracial. Bullied. Arrested. When Donte is arrested at his mostly white prep school, he tries to tell his story (he didn't do anything!), but no one is listening. Even Trey, his lighter-skinned older brother asked, "What did you do?" Donte knows who the real culprit is...and needs to find a way to get revenge.

But revenge isn't the easiest thing for Donte. He'll have to train, become an athlete, and keep his cool. Good thing there's someone in town who
Ben Truong
Mar 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Black Brother, Black Brother is a contemporary middle grade novel written by Jewell Parker Rhodes. This middle grade novel takes on complex and historical topics while emphasizing young people's agency and healing.

Donte and Trey Ellison are two biracial brothers, navigating racism, colorism, and bullying. Older brother Trey, the lighter-skinned sibling of the boys' black mother and white father, is considered the "white brother." Donte, the "black brother," feels like he's swimming in whiteness
Sally Kruger
Donte attends Middlefield Prep. His older brother goes there, too, but life at school is quite different for the two brothers. Donte's brown skin and black dreads earn him taunts and the nickname "Black Brother."

Donte looks like his mother while Trey looks like their white father. Being brothers of a bi-racial couple is definitely a challenge. Trey fits right in as a talented athlete and an excellent student. Donte does well in school, but he isn't particularly interested in sports, and he gets
Mar 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
At only 230 pages, this novel packs a hefty punch: bullying, racism, classism. Its assumed that Donte is to blame for any incidents that occur at his private, privileged school - all because of the color of his skin. At one point hes actually arrested. The officers barely give his (black) mother a passing glance (despite the fact that shes a highly educated lawyer), but when his blue-eyed, blonde-hair dad walks in, well its all clearly just a misunderstanding and boys will be boys dontcha know.

Katie Reilley
Mar 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to the author and Little Brown Young Readers for sharing an ARC with #bookexpedition.

An important novel that addresses racism, privilege and bullying that should be read by all middle grade readers.

Donte and his brother Trey are biracial; Mom is black & dad is white. Trey presents as light skinned, and Donte is dubbed Black Brother by white, privileged Alan who also attends the same prestigious school that Trey & Donte attend. Alan bullies Donte relentlessly, and teachers
Feb 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Donte Ellison and his brother Trey attend Middlefield Prep, a private school in the suburbs of Boston. Despite being brothers, they have very different experiences. Trey presents as white and is easily accepted by his classmates and teachers. Donte presents as black and is bullied and ostracized for it by both students and staff. Taunted as the black brother, Donte struggles against not only the overt racism he directly encounters but also the subversive racism that permeates the privileged ...more
Dawn Foster
Mar 30, 2020 rated it it was ok
While I have enjoyed other books by Rhodes, this one isn't one of them. I'm not sure why I felt disinterested in the characters or disconnected from the story itself, or why I felt no emotion for the either. This is a book I just couldn't "get in to" although there were interesting moments as when the author awkwardly inserts information about Alexandre Dumas' heritage. While it was interesting I felt it was forced & didn't exactly fit into the story in an organic way. While it WAS ...more
Brenda Kahn
Jewell Parker Rhodes delivers another solid, engaging middle grade story that deftly presents a myriad of issues without feeling issue-laden. And she does so in just over 200 pages! I was fully invested and taken by Donte's voice from page one and read it in one sitting. I would love to reread this with me ears if there are plans for an audiobook. I am also eager to see the finished copy and its art. Terrific read!
Mar 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow, what a powerful read. I really enjoy how Rhodes can write such a deep, meaningful book that caters to lower middle grade but doesnt insult their intellect. She makes these timely, and often upsetting, books that can be read and understand by a wide range of reading levels and comprehension, which I really appreciate. Kids need to read about racism, bullying, and other problems they encounter in life. They need to also see that there is hope and changes can be made. ...more
Mrs. Krajewski
Mar 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
**Rereading with my kiddos at home.

12-year-old Donte is one of the few black boys at his private school, Middlefield Prep. Because of this, he is bullied relentlessly by the king of the fencing team, Alan. Alan targets Donte, constantly yelling Black Brother, Black Brother at him, for Dontes older brother, Trey, has much lighter skin. Alan isnt Dontes only problem. Teachers think hes argumentative. Hes not. Administrators think hes violent. Hes not. They just assume hes the instigator because
Mar 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, kids
Gorgeous, and I'm not just saying that as an avid fencer who hardly ever gets to see fencing in print. Gorgeous family dynamics, gorgeous characters, gorgeous thinking about race and writing about identity. I've been a fan of Dr. Parker Rhodes' work for years, but this one just hits it out of the park for me.
Mar 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is great for any age! It is about two brothers who have a black mom and a white dad. One of the kids is black and one has lighter skin. It talks about how different the two kids r treated at their predominately white private school. There is also fencing!! So many cool new facts about fencing and about people of color in fencing! Love this book!
Emily Waisanen
Mar 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A compelling novel about racial bias and privilege through the lens of a lesser-known sport: fencing. Just as she did in Ghost Boys, Jewell Parker Rhodes challenges the reader to think about racial issues in an urgent manner, but approachable for teens (especially middle school students) to understand and relate to. I can't wait to share this with my students!
C Grannell
Mar 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 19-20
Good read. 6th or 7th. Two brothers are perceived as racially different. Interesting because there is a real sports storyline, but it is fencing. None of my kids know anything about fencing. Explained in a very interesting way. Also important history of Dumas and how Hollywood took the color out of his stories.
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.
Casey Jo
Mar 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Yay! Black kids fencing!!

(view spoiler)
Mar 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
So many layers in this wonderful book - race, family dynamics, wealth structure, all built around the world of fencing. Intermediate students will want to discuss bullying, racism, and learning to believe in yourself. Jewell Parker Rhodes has written another memorable story. #LitReviewCrew
Jennifer Guyor Jowett
Mar 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
After reading just one chapter, I know this book is mighty.
Mighty. Mighty. Mighty good.
And it continued to be mighty good. Jewell Parker Rhodes masterfully allows readers to see how skin color changes the way people are unfairly treated. Such a powerful book!
Maria Caplin
Mar 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Im thankful to read this story. There was some confusion for me with the fencing. I loved the footnotes that Jewel shared about her own family. Im blessed when I can find a mirror and a door for my family. ...more
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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, for African Americans, she knew she wanted to be an author. She wrote six novels for ...more

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