Jerome has a tough time at school, mostly because of three boys who like to bully him on a daily basis. Still, he tries to put on a brave face for his parents and grandmother. Why worry them about something that they can’t change. But he has a plan for how to avoid them, most of the time. However, on this particular day, a new boy comes to school, named Carlos. Right away Jerome can tell, Carlos is going to be the bullies next victim. So, Jerome lets Carlos in on one of Jerome’s favorite hiding spots. It is in that hiding spot that something new happens. Jerome makes a friend.
But later on that same day, Jerome is shot, and killed by the police. Jerome never leaves though, he haunts his old apartment, seeing his family grieve and change, hoping he will be able to leave, but still he stays. Until one day he sees a boy like him, only from a different time. It turns out this ghost boy has something to share with Jerome. Only Jerome isn’t sure he wants to hear it.
Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes is a book about an all too common occurrence – black men and boys being shot and killed by the police. It looks at the damage inflicted upon everyone involved in the horrible situation – including all the things that Jerome will now never be able to do – since he will never grow up. Thoughtful and thought provoking read.
Recommended for grades 6 and up.