March 2020

Author Website
Black Brother, Black Brother
Jewell Parker Rhodes
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
March 3, 2020
Middle Grade /YA Fiction
Ages 8-12
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. 

Themes: systemic racism, prejudice, and colorism

"Placing biracial boyhood and the struggles of colorism at its center, the novel challenges readers to pursue their own self-definition."

"An excellent selection for both elementary and middle library collections, this is a title that celebrates finding one's place in the world."
School Library Connection, starred review

"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 must-have for children's collections."
 Booklist, starred review
Dear Reader,

While researching Ghost Boys , my novel about racial bias which leads to police violence against youth, I also learn ed that elementary through high school students of color are often unfairly suspended, arrested by police, and in many cases charged with crimes. Once arrested even for minor infractions, the odds that a student will be entrapped by the criminal justice system and not graduate double. Black Brother, Bl ack Brother addresses this bias in schools.

My characters, Donte and Trey, are also inspired by my own experiences raising two bi-racial kids (one light-skinned; the other darker) who have had very different experiences growing up in America. I firmly believe that skin color should not determine the ease with which one child is more fully embraced by society and the other is subject to racism. 

Black Brother, Black Brother is also about fencing and how sports can transform self-esteem. 

You’ll root for Donte to win the fencing championship against his nemesis, Alan, Captain of Middlefield Prep Fencing Team.  

Donte’s win is a triumphant moment of self-discovery as well as a win against bullying and social injustice.


Jewell Parker Rhodes's Recipe:
Zio n's Jamaican Jerk Chicken
(The Less Spicy Version!)
"Jamaican twins Zion and Zarra are Donte’s fencing partners and best friends. Zarra dislikes the kitchen but Zion loves cooking food with his secret ingredients—love and tons of spice! After team practice, he brings Jamaican Jerk Chicken as a 'thank you' to his coach and teammates. Eating together strengthens their bond."
-Jewell Parker Rhodes

Jewell Parker Rhodes's
Book Club Menu
"At the end of the book they have a celebration party at the Boys and Girls Club. Delores, the receptionist there, cooks ribs, black-eyed peas, and greens."
—Jewell Parker Rhodes

Jamaican Jerk Chicken
Collard Greens
Black-Eyed Peas