Originally Published: March 3, 2020
In his YA novel Black Brother, Black Brother, author Jewell Parker Rhodes highlights racial injustice in a middle school setting.
Donte Rhodes is biracial but presents black with his darker skin color. His brother Trey presents white being much lighter. At their school, Trey is preferred by most and Donte gets arrested for a crime he didn’t commit. When Donte seeks out a fencing coach, his passions change from revenge to success.
Presenting the brothers with vastly different skin tones, Rhodes sets up a brilliant premise. The brotherly bond between Donte and Trey allows for a strong family dynamic that’s fantastic to read.
Fencing may be a rarer choice for a novel, but its links to historical whiteness and references to classic author Alexander Dumas’ own black heritage that show diversity in history is often erased.
Final say: Embrace differences. ★★★★★