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I Am Alfonso Jones
Contributor(s): Medina, Tony, Robinson, Stacey (Illustrator), Jennings, John (Illustrator), Stevenson, Bryan (Foreward By)
ISBN: 1620142635     ISBN-13: 9781620142639
Publisher: Tu Books
    OUR PRICE: $17.06  
Product Type: Paperback
Published: October 2017
Annotation: The Hate U Give meets The Lovely Bones in this unflinching graphic novel about the afterlife of a young man killed by an off-duty police officer, co-illustrated by New York Times bestselling artist John Jennings.
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Graphic novels.
Police shootings; Fiction.
Death; Fiction.
Dewey: 741.5/973
LCCN: 2017014950
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 7-9, Age 12-14
Book type: Juvenile Fiction
Physical Information: 9.00" H x 6.00" W x 0.75" (0.78 lbs) 167 pages
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2018 Fall)
In the afterlife, African American fifteen-year-old Alfonso meets "Ancestors" who, like him, were killed by white police officers. Medina's emotional narrative starts tightly, with the illustrators' black-and-white visuals zoomed in closely on a single spiraling bullet; the story expands, exploring Alfonso's life and bringing his death and those that survive him steadily into view. This emotional graphic novel avoids contrived solutions and false senses of closure. Copyright 2018 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Reviewed by Horn Book Magazine Reviews (Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2018 #2)
Early in this emotional graphic novel, fifteen-year-old Alfonso Jones (who is black) is shot and killed by a white off-duty police officer while shopping for a suit to wear to his exonerated father's release from prison. The community and national outcries are tumultuous and devastatingly familiar as Alfonso's family and friends demand justice: "No justice…no peace!" Protesters chant those words; communities eviscerated by police violence and enraged anew by Alfonso's murder chant them. But alongside them, tucked into a subway train in the afterlife, Alfonso hears the same words said by his fellow passengers—"Ancestors" whose lives were also taken by police officers and who cannot now find rest. Medina's textual narrative starts tightly with black-and-white visuals that follow suit, zoomed in closely on a single spiraling bullet. And from there it expands, exploring Alfonso's bright, short life and bringing his death and those that survive him steadily into view to confront the repercussions of white supremacy. No contrived solutions or false sense of closure disrupt the narrative's expanding path as it touches on related issues of poverty and mass incarceration. An appended author's note, information about "The Real-Life Ancestors of This Book" (e.g., Eleanor Bumpurs, Amadou Diallo), and an "Ancestors Wall" listing the names, ages, and dates and places of death bring readers back to the real-life victims of police violence and leave them with a concluding call to action. anastasia m. collins Copyright 2018 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2017 October #1)

Readers might feel that Harlem high school student Alfonso Jones is almost too good: he studies hard and always returns from his bike messenger rounds promptly so his mother doesn't worry. But when he goes downtown with his crush to buy a new suit, a cop mistakes the clothes hanger he's holding for a gun and kills him. Readers who wondered at Alfonso's saintliness now watch as the media and justice system rush to vilify him. Alfonso, meanwhile, finds himself on a ghost train with his ancestors, other victims of police killings who share his agony and offer comfort. Enlivened by high-voltage sequential artwork from Robinson and Jennings, Medina (I and I Bob Marley) takes on a host of difficult questions. A hip-hop Hamlet created in Alfonso's English class frames his experience as ghostly murder victim. Alfonso's father, incarcerated for years, has just been exonerated; his triumphant return was the occasion for the suit purchase. At the story's heart is Alfonso's mother's plea: if the officer's school had taught him more about the world, she mourns, he might have seen Alfonso "as a teenager... as an American, as a human." Ages 12–up. (Oct.)

Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly.

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2017 October)

Gr 9 Up—Alfonso Jones loves to play trumpet and is thinking of trying out for his class's hip hop—themed Hamlet. On a shopping trip with his crush Danetta, the African American teen, who is looking for his first suit to wear in celebration of his father's release from jail, is shot by a white off-duty cop who incorrectly assumes the suit hanger is a gun. The rest of the graphic novel jumps among Alfonso's past, the aftermath of the shooting, and his experience on a possibly never-ending train ride with other victims of police violence, including Amadou Diallo as his guide. Medina's juggling of the three threads isn't always graceful, but the variation of Robinson and Jennings's panels and design pushes the narrative forward. A teacher's dialogue with Alfonso's classmates is illuminating and realistic. The outrage and grief are palpable, and the black-and-white illustrations enforce the gut-punching pull of each character's journey. And as Alfonso meets the historical figures who preceded him, readers will understand the systemic racism that underlies these violent cases. VERDICT A brutally honest and bleak but necessary selection for all graphic novel collections.—Shelley M. Diaz, School Library Journal

Copyright 2017 School Library Journal.