I Am Alfonso Jones

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I Am Alfonso Jones
Author(s)
Co-Authors / Illustrators
Publisher
Age Range
12+
Release Date
October 12, 2017
ISBN
978-1620142639
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Alfonso Jones can't wait to play the role of Hamlet in his school's hip-hop rendition of the classic Shakespearean play. He also wants to let his best friend, Danetta, know how he really feels about her. But as he is buying his first suit, an off-duty police officer mistakes a clothes hanger for a gun, and he shoots Alfonso. When Alfonso wakes up in the afterlife, he's on a ghost train guided by well-known victims of police shootings, who teach him what he needs to know about this subterranean spiritual world. Meanwhile, Alfonso's family and friends struggle with their grief and seek justice for Alfonso in the streets. As they confront their new realities, both Alfonso and those he loves realize the work that lies ahead in the fight for justice. In the first graphic novel for young readers to focus on police brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement, as in Hamlet, the dead shall speak--and the living yield even more surprises. Featuring a foreword by Bryan Stevenson, Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative and author of Just Mercy

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Overall rating 
 
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5.0  (1)
(Updated: February 19, 2018)
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0

I Am Alfonso Jones

Alfonso Jones is a bright teen who is excited to try out for Hamlet at his school. When he and his girlfriend Danetta go to a department store to purchase a suit, Alfonso's shot by a police officer after a customer complaint. Alfonso's brutally killed and finds himself on a ghost train with others who have been victims of police brutality. Alfonso is able to see the aftermath of his killing and the injustices that continue to happen to black and brown youth in our country.

What worked: Wow, just WOW. This story sucker punched me with it's powerful tale of a brutality murdered young black teen. Just like what's currently happening in our nation, these young men are singled out by the color of their skin. In this story, the police officer 'claims' he feared for his life. Alfonso held up a hanger and the police officer swore it was a gun. What's even more horrific is how many times that officer shot Alfonso and then left him.

This story is one that needs to be told. Powerful, gripping, and haunting. I love the premise of the ghost train of victims of brutality. These ghosts share their own stories and what led to their demises. Another thing that is shown is how a white shooter isn't treated the same way as a person of color. It shows the stark differences that are worlds apart. While Alfonso was innocent and shot in cold blood, the media portrays him as an angry black teen up to no good. The white shooter though isn't painted in the same ugly strokes even though he murdered innocent children. The injustice of the system is infuriating and one that needs to be addressed.

The illustrations are equally powerful and gut wrenching. The scenes where Alfonso's father is finally released from prison after DNA comes back to show his innocence, only to be told it's 'safer' for him to stay in prison after the death of his son, so his release won't cause a riot. Or the scene that shows how close Alfonso was to not surviving his birth only to be gunned down in a department store as a teen.

Loaded with historical facts, knowledge, and glimpses into the lives of those who deal with harassment and brutality everyday based on the color of their skin. Totally a must read. This book should be in every high school library. Also this book would be great for discussing police brutality and #blacklivesmatter. The victims stories shouldn't be silenced. Their voices need to be heard.

Good Points
1. Must read story of a black teen killed by police brutality
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