Kid’s Book Review: Black Brother, Black Brother

Kid’s Book Review: Black Brother, Black Brother

About the Book and Author

This is a powerful and thought-provoking story for teens about two brothers – one who presents as white, the other as Black – and the ways they are forced to navigate a world that doesn’t treat them equally. It is written by award-winning American author Jewell Parker Rhodes and published in the UK by Hachette.

Donte wishes he were invisible. As one of the few black boys at his school, he feels as if he is constantly swimming in whiteness. Most of the students don’t look like him. They don’t like him either. Dubbed the ‘Black Brother’, Donte’s teachers and classmates make it clear they wish he were more like his lighter skinned brother, Trey.

When an incident with a white student leads to Donte’s arrest and suspension, he’s sure the only way to get even is to beat the student at the school’s most valued game: fencing. With the help of a former Olympic fencer, Donte embarks on a journey to carve out a spot on the school’s fencing team and to find a way to make people at school see past the colour of his skin to who he really is.

Black Brother, Black Brother cover

Dr. Jewell Parker Rhodes is the author of six adult novels: Voodoo Dreams, Magic City, Douglass’ Women, Season, Moon, and Hurricane, as well as the memoir Porch Stories: A Grandmother’s Guide to Happiness, and two writing guides: Free Within Ourselves: Fiction Lessons for Black Authors and The African American Guide to Writing and Publishing Non-Fiction.

Jewell is also the author of seven books for youth including the New York Times bestseller Ghost Boys. She has won the American Book Award, the Black Caucus of the American Library Award for Literary Excellence, and the Jane Addams Peace Association Book Award. You can learn more about her books from her website.

Book Review

I think it is really horrible when people judge others and treat them differently because of the colour of their skin

Black Brother, Black Brother is a story about two teenage brothers with different coloured skin. Donte has darker skin and Trey has lighter coloured skin. It is clear that the brothers are treated differently at school because they look different and Donte is bullied by a boy at school called Alan, who is the best fencer on the school fencing team. Alan makes Donte feel uncomfortable and he is racist towards him. He chants ‘black brother, black brother’ to Donte throughout the story, hence the name of the book. Donte ends up getting arrested and suspended from school after an incident with Alan. Donte soon has enough of the bullying and challenges Alan to a fencing competition. Donte starts to get trained by a fencer who has been in the Olympics.

I really liked the two brothers, Donte and Trey because they were really funny especially when they tease and play fight with each other. The ending of the story was my favourite part. I found it very exciting when Donte and Alan finally took part in the fencing competition. I liked it because I wasn’t sure what would happen next – I really wanted Donte to win against Alan. After everything that he had been through and training so hard, he deserved to win.

I really enjoyed reading this book and learning more about fencing, but I found it quite challenging sometimes. I would recommend this book for young people aged 12+. I think that anyone who enjoyed the Karate Kid films would like this book as it is about somebody who works hard to learn a new sport and succeed even though everything seems hard for them. I really liked Donte because he is strong and sets a good example for other people rather than reacting in a bad way.

The story made me think about all the people in the world who are prejudiced and racist. I think it is really horrible when people judge others and treat them differently because of the colour of their skin.

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Reviewer Profile

  • Name: Noel
  • Age: 11 years
  • Likes: football, gymnastics and climbing trees
  • Dislikes: sauces and mushrooms
  • Favourite Book: Codename Bananas by David Walliams
  • Favourite Song: Sunflower by Post Malone
  • Favourite Film: Cool Running1