The Unwanteds

McMann, L. (2011). The Unwanteds. NY: Aladdin.

Set in a fantasy world, The Unwanteds is an magical story. Every year in a dystopian land called Quill, all the 13 year olds are evaluated and split into three categories: The Wanteds, the Necessary, and the Unwanteds. The Wanteds are sent to school to be trained to work and lead the country, the Necessaries run the farms and do the labour. The Unwanteds are sent to their deaths. Alex and Aaron are twins, both thirteen and awaiting the annual event that decides the fate of all the 13 year olds. Soon enough, it is revealed that Alex is Unwanted and Aaron is Wanted. Torn apart from his twin, Alex is sent to the death farm with the other Unwanteds. Expecting to die, Alex hopes for the best for his twin. But when the Unwanteds arrive at the death farm it is revealed that the person running the death farm has been secretly hiding the Unwanteds away each year in a magical world instead of killing them. There the Unwanteds are encouraged to draw and be creative, the polar opposite of what Quill encourages. Will Alex find a new life here, or will he be drawn back to his Wanted twin?

Tyler Johnson Was Here

Coles, J. (2018). Tyler Johnson Was Here. NY: Little, Brown and Company.

Jay Coles writes from the heart, he writes well (every sentence is handsomely and seductively infused with Black culture), and he has produced 2018’s fast-paced picture of American police brutality, of the systematic corruption rampant in its justice system, and of how racism impacts and traps people.

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What a compelling cover!

Trevor Johnson is shot by a white policeman simply for the colour of his skin – all of this caught on videotape – leaving a grieving mother and twin brother, who together make their way through each day even though their grief is overwhelmingly painful and raw. Continue reading