All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely is a fictional novel that tells the story of an all too common occurrence: police brutality. The beauty of the book is that it is told from multiple perspectives to gain a greater understanding of the violence and racism that exists in our country and what is at the root of it. Reynolds and Kiely wrote a book focused on a dark and disturbing reality but managed to weave in an unlikely theme: hope.
Students can choose an important person from history and do a storyboard biography about them and their contribution to equality and/or society. They could also analyze Martin Luther King Jr.’s "I Have a Dream" speech.
Create a plot diagram for All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely.
ALL AMERICAN BOYS: INTRODUCTION
All American Boys is told from the perspective of Rashad Butter, an African American teen who is the victim of police brutality, and Quinn Collins, a white teen from the same school who witnesses the incident. The story examines their lives and their community's reactions in the aftermath of the event.
Rashad is excited to go out with friends on Friday night when he is unjustly assaulted by a police officer while trying to buy a bag of chips. Quinn is on his way to attend the same party when he sees a man who has acted as a mentor to him, Officer Paul Galluzzo, brutally beating Rashad without cause.
Rashad stays in the hospital to recover. A video of the assault is circulated and the community takes sides. Some believe Officer Galluzzo must have been justified and others believe that Rashad was an innocent victim of police brutality. Carlos paints "Rashad is Absent Again Today" on school grounds, which serves as a rallying cry to students.
RASHAD IS ABSENT AGAIN TODAY.
Rashad and Quinn are conflicted about marching. Rashad wishes life could get back to normal. Quinn looked up to Officer Galluzzo like a father after his died in Afghanistan. Rashad decides to march after talking to Mrs. Fitzgerald about her experiences during the Civil Rights Movement. Quinn realizes in order to honor his father, he must stand up for what he believes.
Rashad's father confesses that when he was a policeman, he mistakenly shot and paralyzed a young Black man. This revelation shocks Rashad. Quinn wears a shirt to show his support for the march and fights with his best friend Guzzo, ending their friendship. Later, Quinn gives the police a statement of what he witnessed.
The protesters march from Jerry's store to the police station. They simulate a "die in" while the names of Black people killed by police are read aloud. Quinn and Rashad hadn't seen each other until now. Quinn hopes Rashad understands that he is finally showing up for him. Rashad feels lucky to be "present" and vows to continue the fight for those "absent."
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