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Grades 5 - 9n/an/an/an/a
The #1 Kids' Indie Next Pick

A heartbreaking and powerful story about a black boy killed by a police officer, drawing connections through history, from award-winning author Jewell Parker Rhodes.

Only the living can make the world better. Live and make it better.

Twelve-year-old Jerome is shot by a police officer who mistakes his toy gun for a real threat. As a ghost, he observes the devastation that's been unleashed on his family and community in the wake of what they see as an unjust and brutal killing.

Soon Jerome meets another ghost: Emmett Till, a boy from a very different time but similar circumstances. Emmett helps Jerome process what has happened, on a journey towards recognizing how historical racism may have led to the events that ended his life. Jerome also meets Sarah, the daughter of the police officer, who grapples with her father's actions.

Once again Jewell Parker Rhodes deftly weaves historical and socio-political layers into a gripping and poignant story about how children and families face the complexities of today's world, and how one boy grows to understand American blackness in the aftermath of his own death.


Hardcover, 224 pages
Published on April 17, 2018 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
ISBN-10: 0316262285
ISBN-13: 9780316262286
14 Book Reviews
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  • summerprince
    summerprinceThursday, January 14, 2021 at 10:38 am55 stars
    This book is sad. I haven't red it but this symbols BLM ( which means Black Lives Matter , you probably heard about it .) Its really important that we remember to be nice to everyone even if their skin tone is different.
    • adq8809
      adq8809Thursday, January 14, 2021 at 9:58 am44 stars
      I hate ghosts but this story intrested me
      • gold3nglare
        gold3nglareTuesday, November 10, 2020 at 8:08 am44 stars
        Jerome was just a regular kid. he did good in school, he had a nice family, he did what he should. Except for one day when the new kid, Carlos gave let Jerome borrow a fake gun to paly with. Jerome played with it on his way home from school, then a white police officer pulled up and shot him. Jerome is now a ghost, and he realizes that there are a ton of ghost who were killed by whited just like him. Sadly, this story is very realistic, so the white cop did not go to jail. But there were protests for justice for Jerome. Every African-American needs to read this, so they know how to stay safe in this cold cold world.
        • Recycle!Tuesday, November 3, 2020 at 3:50 pm
          This book is so sad but it teaches a very valuable lesson. It is so hard to read though and I feel so bad for Jerome. He just has to sit there and be around his family and not be able to do anything.
          • ellasin
            ellasinSunday, August 23, 2020 at 8:07 pm55 stars
            Who else cries every time you read the book? It is super good and super sad 😢. You kinda feel bad for Carlos, because technically Jerome wouldn’t have died if he hadn’t given him the toy gun.
            • banjomaster911
              banjomaster911Thursday, January 30, 2020 at 8:59 am55 stars
              I really liked the book. The main character, Jerome, dies because an officer thought his toy gun was real. He becomes a ghost and meets another ghost, Emmet Till. He finds out there are many other ghosts that died in similar circumstances. The only living person that can see Jerome is a girl named Sarah. Sarah tries to help Jerome and Jerome helps Sarah. I really liked the ending and the message of the book. I did not like how long it took to get to the good part. All in all, This book is good and you should definitely read it.
              • zopetirosu
                zopetirosuThursday, January 30, 2020 at 8:43 am
                This book was great! there was a lot of emotion and drama, especially when Jerome's family is crying during the trial. the one thing that I found to be less-than-perfect was the fact that the most action-packed part was when Jerome got shot at the very beginning of the book.
                • zuhasypa-157615959178
                  zuhasypa-157615959178Thursday, December 12, 2019 at 6:59 am55 stars
                  I think that it is a great book and if you like to read about racism and how they fix it then read this book it will paint a picture in your mind and you will not be able to put it down.
                  • irategreatbooksWednesday, October 2, 2019 at 4:17 pm
                    is such a good book
                    • coolkid_alert
                      coolkid_alertMonday, September 9, 2019 at 9:09 pm44 stars
                      whoever is putting a one star one this book stinks!! this book is awesome