Book Exposes Kids to Humanity and Empathy

Today I have a book that will be out the comfort zone for a lot of kids, but this book exposes kids to humanity and empathy.  I have been torn on whether to review this book as well as The Hate U Give on the blog simply because the audience skews older then the one I currently write for.  But given current events, perhaps letting you know about these beautifully written stories is important.   You can decide when your child might be ready for these narratives and I guarantee these books will open kids’ hearts and minds to people not like themselves.

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Title: Long Way Downbook exposes kids to humanity and empathy long way down

Author: Jason Reynolds

Target: Grades 8 and up

Series: No

What this book is about:

Will’s brother has been shot in a gang related incident. Will knows there are three rules he must follow: Don’t cry. Don’t snitch. Get revenge. He is devastated by the loss and he clings to these rules to make things right. He grabs his brother’s gun and sneaks into the elevator to accomplish the last rule, but he is in for quite a ride down. On each floor he is visited by someone who has played a role in his life. A sixty second ride turns into a visit from the dead who share their wisdom on the rules and Will has quite a decision to make.

Why I love this book:

  • I have been loving books written in verse lately, and this one is no exception. The imagery is vivid. Somehow when you use fewer words each one has to mean more and evoke the scene in a bigger way. I absolutely felt this story to my core and ached for Will’s heartbreak.
  • I appreciated that the story was out of my comfort zone. How can we expect kids to develop empathy when they only read about characters who look and live the way they do? And how can we expect young poor black men to love books when they never see themselves in a story? This one wins on both of those fronts.
  • Just because the story may not be one you will encounter doesn’t make Will’s humanity any less real and relatable.

Who this book is for:

Wonderful book for reluctant readers because books in verse do not feel overwhelming. Each page or poem is its own little story. Wonderful book for any kid who needs to open their eyes to world around them.  Other books to share with your children that may be more appropriate for a younger audience are Ghost and Miles Morales.

Final thoughts:

Jason Reynolds is really impressing me more and more with each story he writes.  Are there no limits to this man’s talent?

To purchase this book:

Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Long Way Down.  A portion of each purchase will go to support this blog at no cost to you.  Thank you for your support.