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Cover for Black Brother, Black Brother

Black Brother, Black Brother

Jewell Parker Rhodes


List Price: 16.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.

Other Editions of This Title:
Digital Audiobook (3/2/2020)
Paperback (3/30/2021)
Compact Disc (3/3/2020)
Library Binding, Large Print (3/17/2021)
Compact Disc (3/3/2020)

Spring 2020 Kids Indie Next List

“In Black Brother, Black Brother, Rhodes looks at colorism, prejudice in schooling systems against people of color, and whitewashing in history all in a brilliant sports narrative. After being falsely accused of disrupting class at his private school and then arrested for being angry that no one would listen to him, Donte is encouraged to get back at his bully in their own game: fencing. What follows is a book filled with brilliance, familial love, and friendship. I love this book and look forward to recommending it to everyone!”
— Nathaniel Hattrick, Liberty Bay Books, Poulsbo, WA
View the List


From award-winning and bestselling author, Jewell Parker Rhodes comes a powerful coming-of-age story about two brothers, one who presents as white, the other as black, and the complex ways in which they are forced to navigate the world, all while training for a fencing competition.
Framed. Bullied. Disliked. But I know I can still be the best.

Sometimes, 12-year-old Donte wishes he were invisible. As one of the few black boys at Middlefield Prep, most of the students don't look like him. They don't like him either. Dubbing him "Black Brother," Donte's teachers and classmates make it clear they wish he were more like his lighter-skinned brother, Trey.

When he's bullied and framed by the captain of the fencing team, "King" Alan, he's suspended from school and arrested.

Terrified, searching for a place where he belongs, Donte joins a local youth center and meets former Olympic fencer Arden Jones. With Arden's help, he begins training as a competitive fencer, setting his sights on taking down the fencing team captain, no matter what.

As Donte hones his fencing skills and grows closer to achieving his goal, he learns the fight for justice is far from over. Now Donte must confront his bullies, racism, and the corrupt systems of power that led to his arrest.

Powerful and emotionally gripping, Black Brother, Black Brother is a careful examination of the school-to-prison pipeline and follows one boy's fight against racism and his empowering path to finding his voice.

Praise For Black Brother, Black Brother

Praise for Black Brother, Black Brother

*"A powerful work and must-have for children's collections."—Booklist, starred review

"Placing biracial boyhood and the struggles of colorism at its center, the novel challenges readers to pursue their own self-definition."—Kirkus

*"An excellent selection for both elementary and middle library collections, this is a title that celebrates finding one's place in the world."—School Library Connection, starred review

"Donte's story is a good primer for younger readers on microaggressions."—School Library Journal

"A classic sports story."—BCCB

"This novel offers a solid story, with relatable, three-dimensional characters considering identity, that will teach readers about colorism's effects."
Publishers Weekly

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780316493802, 256pp.

Publication Date: March 3, 2020

About the Author

Jewell Parker Rhodes is the author of Ninth Ward, winner of a Coretta Scott King Honor, Sugar, winner of the Jane Addams Children's Book Award, and the New York Times-bestselling Ghost Boys. She has also written many award-winning novels for adults. When she's not writing, Jewell visits schools to talk about her books and teaches writing at Arizona State University.

Conversation Starters from

1. Donte and Trey have a strong brotherly bond. How do they make space for one another? How do they include each other?

2. How do Donte and Trey’s friends support them? What specific actions do they take to make Donte and Trey feel safer and more included at school? What do you think it means to be an ally?

3. How do people react to Trey and his dad compared to Donte and his mom?

4. Fencing is described as an elite sport. What barriers make fencing difficult for more people to get involved in?

5. Coach eventually reveals his personal history with fencing to Donte. How do these revelations about Coach’s past affect Donte’s decisions in the present? How does Donte benefit from having Coach as a role model?

6. How does Donte change as he learns to fence? In what ways does he begin to think differently?

7. Donte remarks that he’s “got to be careful” walking around his neighborhood (p. 33). Why does Donte think this? How does this awareness affect his interactions with authority figures like his headmaster and the police?

8. The Middlefield Prep school motto is non nobis solum, which the headmaster translates as “not for ourselves alone” (p. 194). Do you think Middlefield lives up to this motto? How so?

9. Zarra tells Donte about the Alexandre Dumas biography The Black Count. How do the stories we are told impact how we view the world? Does history always show us the full story?

10. Through training, Donte discovers that fencing is a sport based on rules and etiquette. How can you apply the rules of fencing, namely “courage, honor, integrity, and chivalry,” to your everyday life (p. 189)?