All American Boys Symbolism

All American Boys Symbolism
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All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

All American Boys

Lesson Plans by Liane Hicks

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.

All American Boys

Storyboard Description

Illustrate important symbolism in the novel All American Boys.

Storyboard Text

  • At the opening, Rashad marches with his ROTC unit. While ROTC is a positive experience, he only does it for his dad. At the end, the community marches to protest police brutality and racism. Marching is a symbol of unity and progress toward a better future.
  • The basketball team serves as a mirror of the community. Sports are unifying. Spectators love to root for their teams. Players enjoy camaraderie. Coach insists players leave the outside world at the door. The team finds this impossible as they struggle with combating systemic racism.
  • Graffiti serves as a form of protest. Carlos tags "Rashad is Absent Again Today" on the school grounds to bring awareness to the fact that Rashad was unjustly beaten by a police officer. Its powerful message compels the community to support Rashad and fight against police brutality and racism.
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