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Punching the Air Hardcover – Import, 1 September 2020

4.7 out of 5 stars 1,408 ratings

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Product description


Praise for AMERICAN STREET: “Will reach young readers regardless of their background.” -- Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review)

Praise for BLACK ENOUGH: “The stories, all worth savoring, share a celebratory outlook on black teenagers fully and courageously embracing life.” -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“This book will be Walter Dean Myers’s Monster for a new generation of teens. An important, powerful, and beautiful novel that should be an essential purchase for any library that serves teens.” -- School Library Journal (starred review)

Praise for BLACK ENOUGH: “A breath of fresh air…nuanced and necessary.” -- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Praise for PRIDE: “Stands solidly on its own while cleverly paralleling Austen’s classic… in a contemporary story about race, gentrification, and young love” -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“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 AMERICAN STREET: “Self-assured, elegant and utterly captivating.” -- New York Times

Punching the Air highlights that wrongful convictions, the school-to-prison pipeline and the fear mongering of Black bodies is etched in the United States Constitution itself, ironically in the Thirteenth Amendment that criminalizes slavery but simultaneously creates an entirely new system of enslavement: the American prison system. It is not easy to break these topics down to adults, never mind children. But Punching the Air does so effectively through verse that feels honest and clear." -- USA Today

Praise for AMERICAN STREET: “Filling her pages with magic, humanity, tragedy, and hope, Zoboi builds up, takes apart, and then rebuilds an unforgettable story. This book will take root in readers’ hearts.” -- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Amal’s voice is often poetic and compelling, and the details of life in NYC juvie are laceratingly vivid. An engaging and accessible read sure to provoke discussion, perhaps in conjunction with a factual exploration of Salaam’s own experiences or in partnership with Myers’ Monster.” -- Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

About the Author

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 with her husband and their three children. You can find her online at www.ibizoboi.net.

Dr. Yusef Salaam was just fifteen years old when his life was upended after being wrongly convicted with four other boys in the “Central Park jogger” case. In 2002, after the young men spent years of their lives behind bars, their sentences were overturned. Now known as the Exonerated Five, their story has been documented in the award-winning film The Central Park Five by Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, and David McMahon and in Ava DuVernay’s highly acclaimed series When They See Us. Yusef is now a poet, activist, and inspirational speaker. He is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from President Barack Obama, among other honors. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with his wife, Sanovia, and their children. You can find him online at www.yusefspeaks.com.

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Product details

  • Publisher : Balzer + Bray; Illustrated edition (1 September 2020)
  • Language : English
  • Hardcover : 400 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0062996487
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0062996480
  • Reading age : 14 - 17 years
  • Item Weight : 440 g
  • Dimensions : 13.97 x 3.18 x 20.96 cm
  • Country of Origin : USA
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 1,408 ratings

Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5
1,408 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!

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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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