cover image Black Brother, Black Brother

Black Brother, Black Brother

Jewell Parker Rhodes. Little, Brown, $16.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-316-49380-2

In this novel, Rhodes brings middle graders a story of two biracial brothers, Donte and Trey, navigating racism, colorism, and bullying. Older brother Trey, the lighter-skinned sibling of the boys’ black (“Mom thinks Nigerian and Congolese”) mother and white (Scotch-Irish and Norwegian) father, is considered the “white brother.” Donte, the “black brother,” feels like he’s “swimming in whiteness” at Middlefield Prep School, where he is regularly bullied because of his skin tone. When Alan, who constantly targets Donte, throws a pencil and Donte is blamed for it—then arrested when he expresses frustration—Donte’s ready to fight back, on Alan’s home turf: the fencing mat. Donte finds an African-American former Olympian to coach him, and trains to defeat Alan and earn his respect, all while he deals with his own legal troubles and the civil rights case his mother files. This novel offers a solid story, with relatable, three-dimensional characters considering identity, that will teach readers about colorism’s effects. Ages 8–12. [em]Agent: Michael Bourret, Dystel & Goderich. (Mar.) [/em]