Review of This Is My America

This Is My America
by Kim Johnson
High School    Random    416 pp.    g
7/20    978-0-593-11876-4    $17.99
Library ed.  978-0-593-11877-1    $20.00
e-book ed.  978-0-593-11878-8    $10.99

Tracy is running out of time. It’s been seven years since her father was wrongly convicted of a double murder. Every week, Tracy writes to Innocence X, an organization that represents people who are unjustly convicted and sentenced to death, and tries unsuccessfully to convince them to work to get her father absolved and released. As if that burden weren’t enough, Tracy’s older brother Jamal is accused of killing Angela, a young white woman with whom he was secretly romantically linked. Now, Tracy not only has to get help for her father, whose execution date is less than a year away, but also must solve the mystery surrounding Angela’s death, so that her brother doesn’t suffer the same fate. This suspenseful story is unfortunately all too familiar — Black people suffering at the hands of police violence, an unjust legal system, and disproportionate incarceration rates — a narrative that is at once heroic and heartbreaking. Tracy is left to unravel a mystery that highlights and humanizes a number of pertinent issues regarding racism in America, the role of media and social bias in our perceptions of one another, and the grief and despair of the families of the incarcerated.

From the September/October 2020 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Monique Harris

Monique Harris is a public educator, reading specialist and independent educational consultant. She holds a Master of Science degree in Education from Simmons University, and is enrolled in a PhD program at Florida State University.

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