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Punching the Air Hardcover – Illustrated, Sept. 1 2020

4.8 out of 5 stars 106 ratings

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Product details

  • Item Weight : 440 g
  • Hardcover : 400 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0062996487
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0062996480
  • Product Dimensions : 13.97 x 3.18 x 20.96 cm
  • Publisher : Balzer + Bray (Sept. 1 2020)
  • Language: : English
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.8 out of 5 stars 106 ratings

Product description

Review

“This book will be Walter Dean Myers’s Monster for a new generation of teens. An important, powerful, and beautiful novel that should be an essential purchase for any library that serves teens.” (School Library Journal (starred review))

"Awardworthy. Soul-stirring. A must-read.”  (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))

"Prescient and sobering, Zoboi’s book is a vital story for young readers in a tumultuous time.” (Booklist (starred review))

“Zoboi and Salaam together craft a powerful indictment of institutional racism and mass incarceration through the imagined experience of Amal, a Black, Muslim 16-year-old facing imprisonment.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))

“The sympathetic, nuanced portrayal of this young man will have readers holding out hope until the novel’s end.” (Horn Book (starred review))

"A mesmerizing novel-in-verse. The poems—sharp, uninhibited and full of metaphors and sensory language—quickly establish Amal's voice, laying bare the anger, despair, hope and talent it holds. Amal's experience of abuse by the system, as well as his peers', incites raw outrage, but his artistic self-expression offers a subtle yet significant kind of hope. It is a hope borne of anger, that knows the full depths of injustice and still dreams of a better future.”
(Shelf Awareness (starred review))

Punching the Air highlights that wrongful convictions, the school-to-prison pipeline and the fear mongering of Black bodies is etched in the United States Constitution itself, ironically in the Thirteenth Amendment that criminalizes slavery but simultaneously creates an entirely new system of enslavement: the American prison system. It is not easy to break these topics down to adults, never mind children. But Punching the Air does so effectively through verse that feels honest and clear." (USA Today)

“Amal’s voice is often poetic and compelling, and the details of life in NYC juvie are laceratingly vivid. An engaging and accessible read sure to provoke discussion, perhaps in conjunction with a factual exploration of Salaam’s own experiences or in partnership with Myers’ Monster.” (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books)

“Stories, at their best, will break something old in you or build something new. Remarkably, Punching The Air does both. Zoboi and Salaam have created nothing short of a masterwork of humanity, with lyrical arms big enough to cradle the oppressed, and metaphoric teeth sharp enough to chomp on the bitter bones of racism. This is more than a story. This is a necessary exploration of anger, and a radical reflection of love, which ultimately makes for an honest depiction of what it means to be young and Black in America.”
(Jason Reynolds, award-winning, bestselling author of Long Way Down)

Punching the Air is the profound sound of humanity in verse. About a boy who uses his creative mind to overcome the creativity of racism. About a boy who uses the freedom of art to overcome his incarceration. About you. About me. Utterly indispensable.” (Ibram X. Kendi, National Book Award-winning and #1 New York Times bestselling author)

About the Author

Ibi Zoboi holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her novel American Street was a National Book Award finalist and a New York Times Notable Book. She is also the author of Pride and My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich, a New York Times bestseller. She is the editor of the anthology Black Enough. Born in Haiti and raised in New York City, she now lives in New Jersey with her husband and their three children. You can find her online at www.ibizoboi.net.



Dr. Yusef Salaam was just fifteen years old when his life was upended after being wrongly convicted with four other boys in the “Central Park jogger” case. In 2002, after the young men spent years of their lives behind bars, their sentences were overturned. Now known as the Exonerated Five, their story has been documented in the award-winning film The Central Park Five by Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, and David McMahon and in Ava DuVernay’s highly acclaimed series When They See Us. Yusef is now a poet, activist, and inspirational speaker. He is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from President Barack Obama, among other honors. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with his wife, Sanovia, and their children. You can find him online at www.yusefspeaks.com.


From the Publisher

fighting for truth central park five