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The Names of All the Flowers

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Melissa and her older brother Junior grow up running around the disparate neighborhoods of 1990s Oakland, two of six children to a white Quaker father and a black Southern-transplant mother. Their house is flanked by both crime scenes and boutique cheese shops, and they play across these borders during their summer adventures. But as Junior approaches adolescence, stranger Melissa and her older brother Junior grow up running around the disparate neighborhoods of 1990s Oakland, two of six children to a white Quaker father and a black Southern-transplant mother. Their house is flanked by both crime scenes and boutique cheese shops, and they play across these borders during their summer adventures. But as Junior approaches adolescence, strangers react differently to his presence; he develops a hard front and falls into drug dealing. Right before Junior’s twentieth birthday, the family is torn apart when he is murdered as a result of gang violence. The Names of All the Flowers connects one tragic death to a collective grief for all black boys who die too young. An intimate recounting of a life lost, Melissa Valentine’s debut is a portrait of a family fractured by the school-to-prison pipeline and an enduring love letter to an adored older brother. It is a call for justice amid endless cycles of grief and trauma, declaring: "We are all witness and therefore no one is spared from this loss."


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Melissa and her older brother Junior grow up running around the disparate neighborhoods of 1990s Oakland, two of six children to a white Quaker father and a black Southern-transplant mother. Their house is flanked by both crime scenes and boutique cheese shops, and they play across these borders during their summer adventures. But as Junior approaches adolescence, stranger Melissa and her older brother Junior grow up running around the disparate neighborhoods of 1990s Oakland, two of six children to a white Quaker father and a black Southern-transplant mother. Their house is flanked by both crime scenes and boutique cheese shops, and they play across these borders during their summer adventures. But as Junior approaches adolescence, strangers react differently to his presence; he develops a hard front and falls into drug dealing. Right before Junior’s twentieth birthday, the family is torn apart when he is murdered as a result of gang violence. The Names of All the Flowers connects one tragic death to a collective grief for all black boys who die too young. An intimate recounting of a life lost, Melissa Valentine’s debut is a portrait of a family fractured by the school-to-prison pipeline and an enduring love letter to an adored older brother. It is a call for justice amid endless cycles of grief and trauma, declaring: "We are all witness and therefore no one is spared from this loss."

30 review for The Names of All the Flowers

  1. 4 out of 5

    Justin Demeter

    It’s been a while since a book has brought me to tears; since I’d rather keep reading than get up to be a decent human and wipe the streams of snot from my face. I wish I could leave a copy of this memoir as an offering on every street corner in Oakland, in America. If grief were a bouquet... somehow she turns it all into love. timely and tragic, and a testament both to resilience and to the enduring violence against black bodies. this should be required reading (particularly for white folks).

  2. 4 out of 5

    Olga Zilberbourg

    Melissa Valentine grew up in Oakland, California, in a family with a Black mother a white father. Fifth of six children, she was the closest in age to her brother Junior, and spent much of her childhood trying to chase him around the neighborhood, getting into adventures with him. As the two of them grew up and the world around them began to perceive her brother as a Black man, and respond to him based on the shade of his skin, their paths started to diverge. Junior was bullied in school and eve Melissa Valentine grew up in Oakland, California, in a family with a Black mother a white father. Fifth of six children, she was the closest in age to her brother Junior, and spent much of her childhood trying to chase him around the neighborhood, getting into adventures with him. As the two of them grew up and the world around them began to perceive her brother as a Black man, and respond to him based on the shade of his skin, their paths started to diverge. Junior was bullied in school and eventually started to look for ways to become powerful and intimidate his potential offenders. He landed in prison when he turned 18, and a week after he was released from prison, he was gunned down on the side of a highway by some people who chased after him. This book tells his story, but it also tells Melissa's own story, and the story of their family. The power of this memoir is that it shows each character in full, holding their flaws with love and showing pride for their achievements. I particularly admired the way the writer was able to balance her voice as a protagonist and as a narrator in this memoir, simultaneously showing and telling the events of her life. She uses the present tense, cutting in when necessary to give us her adult perspective. ("I can't feel compassion for my parents -- not yet -- I am still too young." ) This gives the narrative voice a timeless quality, constantly reminding us that these events are not in our historic past, but that Black men are dying today, just as young as Junior, and just as violently. It also gives another life to Junior, in the here and now.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tesilyaraven

    There are so many things I loved about this book, I’m not sure where to start. Once I started reading, I couldn’t put the book down. First, there are the outlines of this story: losing her brother to gun violence before he turned twenty; growing up in Oakland, the daughter of a white father—an eccentric landscaper prone to collecting things strewn everywhere from his truck to their front yard—and a Black Southern mother who works nights and sleeps days; the hilarious stories of “pitchforking” to There are so many things I loved about this book, I’m not sure where to start. Once I started reading, I couldn’t put the book down. First, there are the outlines of this story: losing her brother to gun violence before he turned twenty; growing up in Oakland, the daughter of a white father—an eccentric landscaper prone to collecting things strewn everywhere from his truck to their front yard—and a Black Southern mother who works nights and sleeps days; the hilarious stories of “pitchforking” to clean up the house with her siblings when relatives come to visit; her brother’s struggles to find his place in the world—not fitting into the Black or white world, he shapes an identity meant to protect himself. This memoir beautifully fills in those initial outlines. I was moved by the author’s rendering of her love for her brother—stories that show us how she looked up to him, ways he protected and looked out for her when she felt no one else did (I especially love her recounting of the time he bought her Nikes for her first day of high school); how they were left to their own devices as kids in the “lawless” days of summer in Oakland. Her words bring Junior to life. There are clear themes, in beautifully rendered prose, of what it is to grow up in a Black boy body; how Junior was labeled as bad (as she tried to be the good, silent daughter); how powerless he felt; how, try as they might, his parents were powerless to protect him. In one of the most painful scenes in the book she describes the violent bullying he endured in middle school, making it clear why he built up an armor to protect himself, choosing among few options given to a Black boy growing into a man Her writing puts you in the moment as she navigates the streets of Oakland, observes the annual family reunions in “mythical” Alabama, shares her joy—yes, joy—when their cluttered family home burns to the ground, making her feel like she can make a fresh start. Humorous, realistic dialogue captures each of her siblings’ character. She makes her own and Junior’s desires clear—they both want to be big, visible, free, to take up space. Junior in particular wants to feel unafraid, powerful, fearless—a Black boy “ravenous for power”. She observes as Junior builds a fortress, a shield, around himself—his tough, mean, strong costume, as she calls it—that will show the world that he is master of his own body, that only he can protect himself. But as she says, “there is no protection from Black boyness.” There is no good, safe place. So, he goes out looking for examples of who he can be. He starts stealing to fight against feeling so powerless and confused. Melissa doesn’t want to be shut out of his world, so she’s ready to participate in anything he’ll include her in, no matter how much it scares her, from stolen candy to the first time smoking weed to the gun he places in her hand. “I don’t worry. I feel cloaked, because my brother protected me.” Meanwhile, Melissa is working on creating the “texture” of her own shield—apathy, which masks loneliness. She observes that they’re both failing, not blooming—but that Junior fails loudest, while she fails “slowly, quietly.” In this book Melissa makes sense of Juniors actions. She observes his transformation. “The cold hard thing that lives inside my brother is growing larger.” I found the section toward the end of part two particularly compelling where she shows us how the separation she’s made of the different men inside her brother painfully begin to mix. “I will bear witness to who you are in your mask, so I can be there when you return: I must be willing to see it all if I am to see you.” This mixing is particularly painful in part three where she pieces together the crime that lands Junior in prison. Every time she tries to re-enact the scenario in her mind, she cannot make Junior do it. It all comes crashing down when Junior is put in jail. “I was a good accomplice…I was a good sister. All of it was my investment in some future I imagined for us. Some future where we could be free and happy…” Her disappointment is heavy when she realizes nothing she’s done, nothing her family did, could keep him from the street, could protect him from the few options he and other Black boys like him are given in our society. In the final pages of the book you experience the shock and grief that just as quickly becomes the realization that Junior is one of “endless black boys” who will die “chasing some kind of power.” She focuses on not forgetting, on holding onto every memory of him, on surviving the trauma, and ultimately healing. In so doing, she unites Junior with all of the other Black boys who’ve died senselessly, and unites all of the families and loved ones who are left with this gaping hole. And she brings the rest of us into this pain and beauty to witness his singular, beautiful life. “His lost black life is every lost black life…my grief is part of a collective sorrow.” Melissa’s love for Junior is inked into every word. I could barely read the final pages through my tears. Highly recommend to anyone who loves great memoir writing. This book should be on all of the anti-racist, Black Lives Matter reading lists.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Tyanna Jaye

    Beautifully impactful. A read that will stick with you long after you've put it down.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Riley Hughes

    Valentine paints a beautiful picture of family through this memoir. This book individualized an issue that is so often coined as “Black on Black” crime, which dehumanizes and minimizes the trauma felt on an individual. “The Names of All the Flowers” is sad, but beautiful and will definitely stick with me.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Aimee Garay

    The Names of All the Flowers by Melissa Valentine is a memoir about the author and her older brother, Junior, who was killed when she was 16. The story of their childhood offers us a chance to see Junior as a child: innocent. Before he is labeled a problem or scary or a monster as Black boys too often are. How an incident that resulted in his loss of control and power led him to the streets. The descriptions of the neighborhood they grew up in in Oakland and the trips to Alabama to visit their m The Names of All the Flowers by Melissa Valentine is a memoir about the author and her older brother, Junior, who was killed when she was 16. The story of their childhood offers us a chance to see Junior as a child: innocent. Before he is labeled a problem or scary or a monster as Black boys too often are. How an incident that resulted in his loss of control and power led him to the streets. The descriptions of the neighborhood they grew up in in Oakland and the trips to Alabama to visit their mother’s family are poetic. The desperate feelings she had of wanting her brother to just “be good” are heartbreaking. It’s hard for me to imagine the trauma of losing a sibling. Let alone revisiting it and sharing it with the world. Melissa does this and does it masterfully. I don’t usually cry with books, but this one definitely brought the waterworks out. The author shares her brother’s story but also her trauma and the retrauma with the deaths of so many other Black boys and men. Too often the media reports these deaths and we never really learn about who these boys and men are. This book is a beautiful tribute to Junior and I highly recommend it. 5/5 CW: physical violence, drug use, self harm, grief

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    The intimacy of Valentine’s smitten-sibling adoration for her brother as she witnesses the forces of racism and white supremacy encroach on his body make this book required reading for anti-racist positionality and work. It is precisely in the tenderness of how Valentine cherishes her older brother that we as white-identified readers acknowledge the weight of responsibility we carry to take action. Anti-racist work is not cognitive, nor, ideological alone - it is in fact an intimate pact we make The intimacy of Valentine’s smitten-sibling adoration for her brother as she witnesses the forces of racism and white supremacy encroach on his body make this book required reading for anti-racist positionality and work. It is precisely in the tenderness of how Valentine cherishes her older brother that we as white-identified readers acknowledge the weight of responsibility we carry to take action. Anti-racist work is not cognitive, nor, ideological alone - it is in fact an intimate pact we make to honor where love has been ruptured by systems of violence. A violence that we must find and feel in order to heal. Valentine makes this reckoning of heart-breaking responsibility impossible to escape. As it should be. Nothing less than being haunted by what has been lost is acceptable.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Naomi

    Not in a long time have I read a book that literally took me to the childhood of the author. I could feel myself in Selma, AL and in California and in all of the other places with Valentine as she masterfully retold the truth of her youth. This book is a testament to the power of family, as messy as it can be, and a hearkening to the pain of loss and suffering. The Names of All the Flowers is a story that many will find parts of themselves in the pages. For those who have never experienced a sim Not in a long time have I read a book that literally took me to the childhood of the author. I could feel myself in Selma, AL and in California and in all of the other places with Valentine as she masterfully retold the truth of her youth. This book is a testament to the power of family, as messy as it can be, and a hearkening to the pain of loss and suffering. The Names of All the Flowers is a story that many will find parts of themselves in the pages. For those who have never experienced a similar set of circumstances, Valentine gracefully allows the reader to come alongside her pain, lessons learned, and in the end, we can all celebrate Junior's life - in spite of, and because of the tragic loss.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lara Lillibridge

    “This book is an ode to our collective grief and trauma. It deserves to have a name. It deserves discussion." (5) Melissa Valentine grew up in Oakland (born in 1984) and although she was raised in a two-parent home in a decent neighborhood, still she lost her brother to the streets. This memoir is a recounting of her childhood and the tragic loss of Junior right before his 20th birthday. Valentine writes beautifully about her life and loss with a lyrical voice. A must-read for 2020. "There aren’t “This book is an ode to our collective grief and trauma. It deserves to have a name. It deserves discussion." (5) Melissa Valentine grew up in Oakland (born in 1984) and although she was raised in a two-parent home in a decent neighborhood, still she lost her brother to the streets. This memoir is a recounting of her childhood and the tragic loss of Junior right before his 20th birthday. Valentine writes beautifully about her life and loss with a lyrical voice. A must-read for 2020. "There aren’t enough walls to fit all the names of all the lost ones and all the poetry they incite." (288)

  10. 4 out of 5

    Cassandra Lane

    As police brutality and state-sanctioned murders of black people continue, we often hear the rallying cry: "But what about black-on-black crime?" This-- from the same people who are not willing to explore the historical and present-day racism, the school-to-prison pipeline, the deep economic disparities and the kind of debilitating self-loathing this country attempts to plant inside every black baby born here. The kind that whispers to you when you are just a wee thing, watching movies and comme As police brutality and state-sanctioned murders of black people continue, we often hear the rallying cry: "But what about black-on-black crime?" This-- from the same people who are not willing to explore the historical and present-day racism, the school-to-prison pipeline, the deep economic disparities and the kind of debilitating self-loathing this country attempts to plant inside every black baby born here. The kind that whispers to you when you are just a wee thing, watching movies and commercials and reading books that try, over and over again, to get you to buy into the lie that you are less than. That whisper turns into a roar that rips from the inside out. I have not read a book like Melissa Valentine's THE NAMES OF ALL THE FLOWERS, which is a beautiful, painful and exquisitely written narrative about her brother Junior, who was gunned down on the streets of Oakland when he was 19. "Say his name, Say her name," we chant when yet another one of our brothers or sisters is killed. In this memoir, Valentine gives us not only Junior's name, but an intimate look into his head, his heart, his fear, his dreams, his joy. While we know upon opening this book that her brother does not make it, her storytelling powers help us get lost in the "now" of watching these kids grow up. We hope with and for them, for the whole family. We see how easy it is to get lost in our schools, to get caught up, to view the streets as a way out. A way out of what? The constructs this country created as the American Dream, a dangled carrot that might as well be a rainbow for far too many. While Valentine's parents worked hard to build their own piece of that dream, to live in a middle-class neighborhood, they, too, are victims of the machine. Through telling this personal story, Valentine gives us a story that is global and whole, bursting with life in the middle of such pain. Every parent and guardian of black children should read this. Every teacher and administrator should read this. Every person who's ever uttered that statement about "black-on-black crime" should pick this book up today.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Wendy Millstine

    Dear Melissa, and author-extraordinaire! I just finished devouring your memoir. It’s going to take me some time to process the weight of emotions and reactions that your words and story have conjured for me. Having lived in Oakland for 27 years, your family is familiar to me. I walked those same streets and I got to know my neighbors. Their stories pierced my heart and still affect me to this day. I didn’t know your family, but I recognize Junior and your parents and your siblings and your friend Dear Melissa, and author-extraordinaire! I just finished devouring your memoir. It’s going to take me some time to process the weight of emotions and reactions that your words and story have conjured for me. Having lived in Oakland for 27 years, your family is familiar to me. I walked those same streets and I got to know my neighbors. Their stories pierced my heart and still affect me to this day. I didn’t know your family, but I recognize Junior and your parents and your siblings and your friends and you. You and your family now live permanently inside me, and I carry them with me with great care and tenderness. Your memoir is a brave and courageous political act. Memoirs shape and affect society, history, politics, culture, and the discourse in the media. The timing of your book will no doubt fuel and be an important contribution to the current Black civil rights movement of our time. I also want to share how much I value and was memorized by your craft. I found myself entranced by your poetic passages and your youthful perspective maintained throughout. Chapter after chapter, I felt swept up in your unique rhythmic language. Page after page, I was in a constant state of awe and wonder and horror and fear and empathy and compassion and humbling revelation. Thank you sounds so inadequate and incomplete for the brilliant and moving gifts that you’ve shared with the world. But what I feel is genuine gratitude. I am singing your praise and sharing your book with others. Word is spreading! Only love, only respect, wendy

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jeannine Perez

    I felt like i knew young Melissa, like she could have been someone i played dolls with or hung out at each others house growing up. I would read certain parts about her childhood and think, "Ha, yea i remember that from when i was little, too." It saddens me to see how overlooked and alone i felt she was sometimes, the heartbreak that was inevitable as her and Junior got older. In the last chapter, however, i love how filled with joy she is when she's back in Selma with her Mom and Aunt's. The dr I felt like i knew young Melissa, like she could have been someone i played dolls with or hung out at each others house growing up. I would read certain parts about her childhood and think, "Ha, yea i remember that from when i was little, too." It saddens me to see how overlooked and alone i felt she was sometimes, the heartbreak that was inevitable as her and Junior got older. In the last chapter, however, i love how filled with joy she is when she's back in Selma with her Mom and Aunt's. The driver to the ocean is sort of a symbol of being able to pick herself up and continue living and fighting. This book had me in tears! If you haven't read this book, you definitely need to add this to your list!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Brinda Gurumoorthy

    This memoir is compelling and beautiful and paints a vivid picture of Valentine's family and her relationship with her brother. Because I teach high school students, this book made me think a lot about how young people can lose their way and make mistakes when they don't have enough support or sense of community. I wanted to hear more of the author's thoughts about systemic factors behind poverty / gun violence / the criminal legal system, and she hints at some of that but focuses more on her pe This memoir is compelling and beautiful and paints a vivid picture of Valentine's family and her relationship with her brother. Because I teach high school students, this book made me think a lot about how young people can lose their way and make mistakes when they don't have enough support or sense of community. I wanted to hear more of the author's thoughts about systemic factors behind poverty / gun violence / the criminal legal system, and she hints at some of that but focuses more on her personal meditations (which is totally valid!)

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kayti

    In her debut memoir, Melissa Valentine writes about the life and death of her older brother, Junior, and the larger collective grief experienced by Black communities as a result of school to pipeline systems and Black boys dying too young. Valentine tells her story with captivating lyricism and does a fantastic job at creating vivid imagery and complex characters. I very much look forward to reading future work from this author and will be recommending her book to friends and colleagues all summ In her debut memoir, Melissa Valentine writes about the life and death of her older brother, Junior, and the larger collective grief experienced by Black communities as a result of school to pipeline systems and Black boys dying too young. Valentine tells her story with captivating lyricism and does a fantastic job at creating vivid imagery and complex characters. I very much look forward to reading future work from this author and will be recommending her book to friends and colleagues all summer.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Julie Zigoris

    This is a beautiful, haunting memoir that should be required reading for every American. Not only is the prose insanely gorgeous, but the story is unforgettable. I feel so lucky that I came to know Junior through Melissa's eyes, to understand his path, and to see the inequities of racism that can "stamp" someone as bad from the beginning. I loved being inside this big family from Oakland—full of heartache but also full of love—and understanding a bit more about the overwhelming injustice of bein This is a beautiful, haunting memoir that should be required reading for every American. Not only is the prose insanely gorgeous, but the story is unforgettable. I feel so lucky that I came to know Junior through Melissa's eyes, to understand his path, and to see the inequities of racism that can "stamp" someone as bad from the beginning. I loved being inside this big family from Oakland—full of heartache but also full of love—and understanding a bit more about the overwhelming injustice of being Black in the United States.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Brittany

    The way Melissa Valentine’s prose poetically presents the dichotomies of black identity, along with the complexities around also having a white parent, is utterly, painfully, ironically beautiful. But the story itself stings the heart as much as it warmly draws it in. Melissa illustrates a raw, vulnerable perspective through the eyes, mind, and heart of a very endearing young black girl who is viewing, piecing together, and defining her world by her immediate reality- a complex reality, and one The way Melissa Valentine’s prose poetically presents the dichotomies of black identity, along with the complexities around also having a white parent, is utterly, painfully, ironically beautiful. But the story itself stings the heart as much as it warmly draws it in. Melissa illustrates a raw, vulnerable perspective through the eyes, mind, and heart of a very endearing young black girl who is viewing, piecing together, and defining her world by her immediate reality- a complex reality, and one that should be so different. This exploration of that reality calls out for justice. It grasps your attention as it should, it brings you into close proximity with heartache and trauma as it should, and it shows how one story bleeds endlessly into time and space of all humanity, as it should. I’ll carry this one with me. Everyone must read this story.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Brenda Miles

    so effing good. Melissa paints her story with lights and darks. so vulnerable. every page. emotional and poignant. the life in Oakland the life in Selma. and unconditional love. a book that makes me question the length I will go for loved ones. unconditional love and eagerness to display what could hurt and what could heal.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    This book took me by surprise. I picked it up expecting just another coming of age story, but this book is so much more. It's about family and love and understanding in a world complicated by race, history, geography, birth order, and gender. Beautifully written. I read the entire book in a single sitting.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Daphne

    This incredible memoir by Valentine is a composite of memories of her brother, sisters, parents, and Oakland in the 90s. Nostalgia abounds. She unearths her experience with trauma vividly and bluntly, telling us a painful story of part of her life as matter of fact. It is relatable on many levels and I highly recommend.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

    I was lucky enough to get this book early from my local bookstore. The writing is so beautiful and so memorable; Valentine weaves a vivid narrative of her life growing up and the places she and her brother went. It's a beautiful homage to her brother, and a call for justice.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jane

    Beautifully written.

  22. 4 out of 5

    lifebymaddie

    Stunning, resonant, gut-wrenching, resilient, and necessary: these are just a few of the words that come to mind. This should be required reading for everyone—please, go order this book.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kaitlynn Cassady

    a stunning and difficult memoir on violence, trauma, and family. Melissa writes of the Valentines and her family’s coming of age in Oakland throughout the 90s, as well as her mother’s roots in Selma, Alabama - a place the Valentine’s spend many summers. born to a white father and black mother, Melissa and her siblings navigate a world both outside and inside the home that is tumultuous but also beautiful; a world filled with an anti-blackness that doesn’t wish to see them succeed; particularly J a stunning and difficult memoir on violence, trauma, and family. Melissa writes of the Valentines and her family’s coming of age in Oakland throughout the 90s, as well as her mother’s roots in Selma, Alabama - a place the Valentine’s spend many summers. born to a white father and black mother, Melissa and her siblings navigate a world both outside and inside the home that is tumultuous but also beautiful; a world filled with an anti-blackness that doesn’t wish to see them succeed; particularly Junior, Melissa’s older brother. Melissa explores the nuances of racism as its enacted on boys like Junior - a school system that sees them as trouble rather than troubled, neighborhood gangs ready to recruit them for violence since alternative options for at-risk youth are underfunded and grossly mismanaged, a system that consistently fails black communities. she questions where one might draw the line between protection and punishment, care versus control: as her parents desire to protect Junior, but don’t have the language or resources to make that clear through action. Junior is drawn to ‘the street’, to being known, to community, to the semblance of power it brings. around his 18th birthday, Junior is imprisoned on drug charges; his imprisonment brings a cacophony of emotions to the Valentine house: relief that he is alive, anger at a system that swallows entire communities, a sense of guilt coupled with abandonment. for more than a year, Junior is imprisoned, celebrating his 19th birthday behind bars; then near his 20th birthday, he’s released. his homecoming is again a mixture of emotions, bouncing between fear and joy, lightness and trembling. things feel optimistic; Junior is optimistic. yet only one week after his homecoming, Junior is fatally shot in an act of gang violence; a grief, a death, a loss that is as political as it is private to Melissa. in many ways, The Names of All the Flowers, is a love letter between siblings, while also connecting the loss of Junior to the collective tragedy of black death in America; this book demands you to not look away; to reckon with a country that constantly fails black men. it is heart-rending, poignant, and an outpouring of grief and healing that you won’t soon forget. Valentine writes, “We ready black boys for prison, not life. We ready black boys for death, not life. One in three of all black babies born today will spend time in prison. The American criminal justice system hold more than 2.3 million people in approximately 1,719 state prisons, 102 federal prisons, 942 juvenile correctional facilities, and 3,283 local jails. These facilities are overwhelmingly filled with black bodies.”

  24. 5 out of 5

    Aridj Yasmine

  25. 4 out of 5

    Laura Weldon

  26. 4 out of 5

    Song-My

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sophie Whelchel

  28. 4 out of 5

    K.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

  30. 5 out of 5

    Evan

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