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Autobiography of My Dead Brother
Cover of Autobiography of My Dead Brother
Autobiography of My Dead Brother
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A powerful National Book Award Finalist from the acclaimed, bestselling author of Monster. "This novel is like photorealism; it paints a vivid and genuine portrait of life that will have a palpable...
A powerful National Book Award Finalist from the acclaimed, bestselling author of Monster. "This novel is like photorealism; it paints a vivid and genuine portrait of life that will have a palpable...
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Description-

  • A powerful National Book Award Finalist from the acclaimed, bestselling author of Monster. "This novel is like photorealism; it paints a vivid and genuine portrait of life that will have a palpable effect on its readers." (School Library Journal starred review)

    With Harlem as its backdrop, Autobiography of My Dead Brother follows the diverging paths of best friends Rise and Jesse. When Rise becomes engulfed in gang activity and starts dealing drugs, Jesse, a budding artist, tries to make sense of the complexities of friendship, loyalty, and loss in a neighborhood plagued by drive-by shootings, vicious gangs, and an indifferent juvenile justice system.

    The innovative first-person storytelling, along with cartoons and photos, pulls in readers and makes Autobiography of My Dead Brother a strong and thought-provoking choice for sharing in a classroom or at home.

    "Though the story is starkly realistic, there is always hope in the gifts of Jesse the artist and C. J. the musician, of schools and churches and of caring parents." (Kirkus)

    "Touching and impactful, Autobiography cannot fail to intrigue, and hopefully influence youngsters with its poignant statement of two roads taken." (Judges' Citation, National Book Award)

 

Awards-

About the Author-

  • Walter Dean Myers was the New York Times bestselling author of Monster, the winner of the first Michael L. Printz Award; a former National Ambassador for Young People's Literature; and an inaugural NYC Literary Honoree. Myers received every single major award in the field of children's literature. He was the author of two Newbery Honor Books and six Coretta Scott King Awardees. He was the recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults, a three-time National Book Award Finalist, as well as the first-ever recipient of the Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    September 19, 2005
    Myers mines the themes he explored in his Scorpions
    and Monster
    here, but with less subtlety. Jesse, 15, chronicles the demise of his "blood brother," Rise, in the titular illustrated "autobiography." While readers do not see enough of their early friendship to understand why Jesse continues to care for Rise, what unfolds more credibly is the growing friendship between the narrator and CJ. Like Jesse, CJ joins the benign-seeming Counts, a group going back more than 40 years to the days of "black social clubs." However, another group member has plans other than social get-togethers. Soon Mason (who "just felt like trouble") holds up a bodega and, after he lands in jail, expects the Counts to "rough up" the store owner so the man won't testify. Rise winds up dealing coke, while Jesse, his mother and a cop restate the book's message that "almost everything that was going down wrong in the hood was based on people dealing." Jesse's parents seem vague, and the motives of Rise's murderer, a kid called Little Man remain unclear. But perhaps these elements simply bolster the seemingly random acts of violence in Jesse's world. What comes through clearly is that CJ and Jesse have a way out—CJ through his musical talents and Jesse with his artwork, nicely demonstrated in Christopher Myers's black-and-white drawings, as well as in the father-son team's clever comic strips. Ages 14-up.

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from August 1, 2005
    Gr 8 Up -Fifteen-year-old Jesse lives a clean and relatively careful life in contemporary Harlem. His best friend and honorary brother, Rise, is two years older and plays life faster and looser. The boys belong to a social club inherited from the men of the older generation. The Counts aren't a gang and the members tend to have a variety of aesthetic interests. Jesse is devoted to cartooning and sketching while C. J. is a fine musician. Rise, however, it seems to Jesse, has begun to lead a second life that doesn't include him or The Counts. Myers's story of urban violence and wasted youth unfolds inexorably, but the relationships among his characters -Jesse and his frightened parents; C. J. and Jesse; a local cop and the neighborhood boys; Jesse and a love-starved but sexually knowing girl -are nuanced and engaging rather than predictable. The black-and-white artwork throughout includes both realistic sketches of Jesse's friends and a cartoon-strip take on Rise, adding a dimension that expands readers' views of Jesse's world and of the conflicts presented to the boys. This novel is like photorealism; it paints a vivid and genuine portrait of life that will have a palpable effect on its readers." -Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA"

    Copyright 2005 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    June 1, 2005
    Gr. 8-11. Funerals for young black men, both murdered in drive-by shootings, begin and end Myers' sobering story about contemporary Harlem teens. Fifteen-year-old Jessie has always seen slightly older Rise as a hero, and the boys made a blood-brother bond as children. Then Rise pulls away, starts dealing drugs and "fronting cool," and Jessie struggles to find his old friend beneath the new persona. His search leads him to art, which is his great talent, and he begins to create a biography of Rise in pictures. Frequent and striking black-and-white illustrations, done by Christopher Myers, depict pivotal moments from the boys' youth; there are also comics-style panels, in which a bird-boy character asks how best to live and communicate truthfully. The plot, which drifts a bit, isn't the focus here. What will affect readers most is Jessie's sharp, sometimes poetic first-person voice and the spirited, rhythmic dialogue of other vivid characters, who ask piercing questions about how to survive the violence and hopelessness rooted through a neighborhood's generations.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2005, American Library Association.)

  • School Library Journal (starred review) "Paints a vivid and genuine portrait of life that will have a palpable effect on its readers."
  • Kirkus Reviews "The innovative illustrated novel format is effective."

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    HarperCollins
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