All American Boys

All American Boys

By Author / Illustrator

Brendan Kiely, Jason Reynolds


Representation & Inclusion

Age range(s)



Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books






A bag of chips. That's all sixteen-year-old Rashad is looking for at the corner bodega. What he finds instead is a fist-happy cop, Paul Galluzzo, who mistakes Rashad for a shoplifter, mistakes Rashad's pleadings that he's stolen nothing for belligerence, mistakes Rashad's resistance to leave the bodega as resisting arrest, mistakes Rashad's every flinch at every punch the cop throws as further resistance and refusal to STAY STILL as ordered. But how can you stay still when someone is pounding your face into the concrete pavement?



All American Boys is written from the perspective of two different boys interlinked by circumstances yet divided by completely different cultures. Rashad, a black 17 year old who is attacked by a white policeman, when a woman trips and falls in front of him and the policeman automatically assumes Rashad caused it.  Quin, a white boy, sees the woman on the ground but not what caused it, has his loyalties questioned as the policeman is his brother. Both voices are very distinct in the novel, both engaging characters and both struggling with what has happened.

It is a very poignant book, hitting on very real problems and making us question our own beliefs and understanding of these problems.  The book doesn't offer any resolution to today's problems but does highlight them. It's a challenging novel for most pupils to read, but it gives them an insight to racial problems in America which can be different from the UK.  You are left with a lot to consider and contemplate, but a good read and worth taking the time to read.

336 Pages / Reviewed by Shirley, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 11+


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