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Punching the Air by [Ibi Zoboi, Yusef Salaam]

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Punching the Air Kindle Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 1,401 ratings

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Review

‘Zoboi and Salaam have created nothing short of a masterwork of humanity, with lyrical arms big enough to cradle the oppressed, and metaphoric teeth sharp enough to chomp on the bitter bones of racism. This is more than a story. This is a necessary exploration of anger, and a radical reflection of love, which ultimately makes for an honest depiction of what it means to be young and Black in America.’ – Jason Reynolds, award-winning, bestselling author of Long Way Down

‘Punching the Air is the profound sound of humanity in verse. About a boy who uses his creative mind to overcome the creativity of racism. About a boy who uses the freedom of art to overcome his incarceration. About you. About me. Utterly indispensable.’ – Ibram X. Kendi, National Book Award-winning and #1 New York Times bestselling author of Stamped and How to Be an Antiracist

‘In this beautifully rendered book, we are reminded again of how brilliant and precarious our Black Lives are and how art can ultimately heal us.’ – Jacqueline Woodson, award-winning, bestselling author of Brown Girl Dreaming

Praise for BLACK ENOUGH, edited by Ibi Zoboi

‘A powerful collection that opens the reader’s eyes to the breadth and diversity of contemporary experience in America’ – June Sarpong, author of Diversify

‘A breath of fresh air . . . nuanced and necessary.’ – Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

‘The stories, all worth savoring, share a celebratory outlook on black teenagers fully and courageously embracing life.’ – Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Praise for AMERICAN STREET by Ibi Zoboi

‘Self-assured, elegant and utterly captivating.’ – The New York Times

‘Fierce and beautiful.’ – Booklist (starred review)

--This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.

About the Author

Dr. Yusef Salaam was just fifteen when he was wrongly convicted in the “Central Park jogger” case, along with four other boys now known as the Exonerated Five. In 2002, after the young men spent years behind bars their sentences were overturned, and they were fully exonerated. Their story has been documented in award-winning film The Central Park Five and acclaimed Netflix series When They See Us. Yusef is now a poet, activist and inspirational speaker who lives in Atlanta, GA. He is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from President Barack Obama, among other honors. www.yusefspeaks.com.

Ibi Zoboi holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her novel American Street was a National Book Award finalist and a New York Times Notable Book. She is also the author of Pride and My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich, a New York Times bestseller. She is the editor of the anthology Black Enough. Born in Haiti and raised in New York City, she now lives in New Jersey. www.ibizoboi.net

--This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.

Product details

  • ASIN : B082937YH1
  • Publisher : Balzer + Bray; Illustrated edition (1 September 2020)
  • Language : English
  • File size : 35627 KB
  • Text-to-Speech : Enabled
  • Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
  • X-Ray : Enabled
  • Word Wise : Not Enabled
  • Print length : 400 pages
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 1,401 ratings

Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5
1,401 global ratings
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Top reviews from India

Reviewed in India on 28 January 2021
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Reviewed in India on 9 December 2020
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Reviewed in India on 20 January 2021
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read, must-recommend book
By bookgirl_sulagna on 20 January 2021
The book starts out with Amal Shahid - a Black Muslim teen - being wrongfully incarcerated. His only crime was getting involved in a street fight and punching a white kid. From being bullied by the white prison officers to being manhandled in the name of 'restraining' - Amal has to face it all. Enraged with the discrimination and his inability to fight the system, Amal seeks solace in his art.

Heavily based on Dr. Yusef Salaam's real life events and many distubingly similar unfortunate incidents that recently set the world on fire, Punching the Air explores the discrimination, inhumanity, the pain, the fear, the dark side of being born Black. It's a metaphorical take on the unfairness of the world - how a person's skin colour defines if they deserve justice or not.

As the pages of the book are turned into Amal's poetry and art book, we get to experience his unfortunate journey both literally and visually. Amal's pain and suffering are too real. Reading this book gave me a heart ache. It's as if the book is shouting out to you. When Amal was thrown into the dark cell for stealing a few art supplies; when his only friend in prison is beaten up to a pulp by the white officers; when Amal's wall painting at the prison - his only way of expressing his voice - was wiped clean for being too 'dark' and political; when he received letters from the only girl he liked at school; when he broke down as he realized his dreams of attending art school would remain unfulfilled - each and every instance of Amal's life will break your heart.

The art in every page of the reflects Amal's emotions and feelings and that is one of the most wonderful thing about this book. The beautiful imagery is not only a descriptive aspect in the book but also interpretative in its own way. Meanwhile the poetry in the book is a masterpiece. The way it tactfully relates Amal's struggles and how he let down his mother, his regret about going out with the wrong friend on the unfateful day, his feelings for his school crush and his exasperation with his fate and the whole discrimination part - seems all too personal.

And not just discrimination, this book is an ode to art and its expression. Amal is an example of how art and its artist can can be misunderstood by the wrong people. This book celebrates art and how it is a strong canvas for human emotions and struggles. Art is the way of living, art is the celebration of life, and Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam has given us this book as a gift to tell us that.
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Reviewed in India on 3 October 2020
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4.0 out of 5 stars Worth the read💯💯💯
By Reading_Tam_Ishly on 3 October 2020
I appreciate the theme that this book-in-verse narrated.

A young black boy struggling in jail for being wrongly convicted of a crime.

This book addresses rascism, coming of age, police brutality, discrimination against the black community, family dynamics, the so called law that handles such cases, the injustices and the consequences that follow.

I love the family dynamic representation the most. Umi is one such great mother. A strong woman. It's her character (though the book isn't told from her perspective) that kept me glued till the end.

The writing part didn't do much. The poetry lines, the verse didn't work for me. It felt like it was trying too hard but it did its job well of telling the story of the boy. It presented well the angst, the confusion, the loneliness, the beliefs of the narrator but I didn't get that connected to the character. I wanted to feel so much more for tthe character and the story.

The highlight for me turned out to be the schooling system for such 'troublesome' kids while being behind the bars.
Choices are given to them but I feel far better choices and more choices must be made available for them. I mean poetry and that stuck up teacher?! The inmates are already struggling. Have some compassion towards them.

There's no point in failing your students again and again. No one improves like that. Constant sarcasm and belittling the students don't do anyone good.
Instead of being understanding and getting to the root problem, constantly doubting the students do more harm.

In general, yes, teachers! Can you be less cranky and not make your classes feel like someone else has punished you to do your job and in turn shove that hatred towards your students? I mean both parties hate classes because of this. And not all students are the same. Some are introverts and some can act well to get credits. It's your job to see into that and make out the difference yourselves.

I haven't met a kind and wonderful teacher in my life till date. I find teachers in movies and books (nonfiction, memoirs, autobiographies) far more inspirational.

And yes, this book made me actually see that.

I just wish this book had a better ending.

*The notes at the end of the book made up for everything!

Fighting!👍
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Top reviews from other countries

Jazz
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating from front to back
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 5 September 2020
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9 people found this helpful
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Nigel Ecclesfield
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is necessary!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 29 October 2020
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2 people found this helpful
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Momo Ro
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 18 October 2020
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Jacquie Adim
4.0 out of 5 stars It's a very good read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 27 October 2020
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Miss Lesley Carol Saunders
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 26 September 2020
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