All American Boys Discussion Guide:
A Few Conversation Starters
tilize this discussion guide to inspire in-depth thinking, and jump-start a conversation about All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely. There’s plenty here to set your mental wheels in motion.
- All American Boys is a novel with two narrators, with chapters switching perspectives between Rashad and Quinn. Why do you think Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely wrote the book this way?
- Each character has their own relationship to privilege and racism. How do you think your relationship to these issues would change if your identity were different?
- Where do you think the book is set? What clues are there?
- Quinn struggles to reconcile Paul’s actions with the person he used to look up to. Have you ever changed your mind about someone you once looked up to? Or made a tough decision where you weren’t supported?
- Some of the characters are confident that their community can change while others are more pessimistic. How could your community change for the better?
Activities & Digital Resources:
- All American Boys is written from the alternating perspectives of Rashad and Quinn. Write a chapter from the perspective of a third character from the book. What would they observe? What biases might they have? How might their life experience influence what they think or how they act?
- Rashad’s classmates show their support for him in many ways, including organizing protests. Find news stories about protests happening today online or using the newspapers and magazines at your local library. What are the protests about? How do they achieve their goals—or not?
- One of the books Quinn and Rashad read in high school is Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison. Find out about Ellison’s life and work online or at your local library. What do you think he would make of this book?
- One way to make change is to connect to organizations in your local community doing meaningful work. What organizations exist in your local community that have a mission you support? Ask at your local library or check out bulletin boards, and find out how you can get involved.
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#banned books #African-American authors #racism
New York Public Library’s Teen Banned Book Club, in association with the American Library Association.