Punching The Air
Amal Shahid has always been an artist and a poet. But even in a diverse art school, because of a biased system he’s seen as disruptive and unmotivated. Then, one fateful night, an altercation in a gentrifying neighbourhood escalates into tragedy. “Boys just being boys” turns out to be true only when those boys are white.
Suddenly, at just sixteen years old, Amal is convicted of a crime he didn’t commit and sent to prison. Despair and rage almost sink him until he turns to the refuge of his words, his art. This never should have been his story. But can he change it?
With spellbinding lyricism, award-winning author Ibi Zoboi and prison reform activist Yusef Salaam tell a moving and deeply profound story about how one boy is able to maintain his humanity and fight for the truth in a system designed to strip him of both.
NOMINATING LIBRARY COMMENTS
Punching the Air could have been a selection for its aesthetics alone – it is a beautiful work that combines art and poetry – but its appearance belies its profound and demanding content. Punching the Air is a creative novel that allows the readers to immerse themselves in the experience of an underrepresented youth fighting for his human dignity to be acknowledged and accepted.
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, United States