Punching the Air

By Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam


From award-winning, bestselling author Ibi Zoboi and prison reform activist Yusef Salaam of the Exonerated Five comes a powerful YA novel in verse about a boy who is wrongfully incarcerated. Perfect for fans of the Noughts & Crosses series and The Hate U Give.

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 Shahid’s bright future is upended: he 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.

Format: ebook
Ageband: from 12
Release Date: 01 Sep 2020
Pages: None
ISBN: 978-0-00-842215-8
Ibi Zoboi was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and holds an MFA in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her novel AMERICAN STREET was a National Book Award finalist and a New York Times Notable Book. She is also the editor of the anthology BLACK ENOUGH. Raised in New York City, she lives in New Jersey with her husband and three children. www.ibizoboi.net.Dr Yusef Salaam was just fifteen years old when he and four other boys were wrongly convicted in the ‘Central Park jogger’ case. After the young men spent between seven and thirteen years behind bars, their sentences were overturned and they were fully exonerated. Their story has been documented in the award-winning film THE CENTRAL PARK FIVE and the acclaimed Netflix series WHEN THEY SEE US. Yusef is now a poet, activist and inspirational speaker who lives in Atlanta, Georgia. He is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from President Barack Obama, among other honours. www.yusefspeaks.com.

”'Zoboi and Salaam have created nothing short of a masterwork of humanity, with lyrical arms big enough to cradle the oppressed, and metaphoric teeth sharp enough to chomp on the bitter bones of racism. This is more than a story. This is a necessary exploration of anger, and a radical reflection of love, which ultimately makes for an honest depiction of what it means to be young and Black in America.” - - Jason Reynolds, award-winning, bestselling author of Long Way Down

”'Punching the Air is the profound sound of humanity in verse. About a boy who uses his creative mind to overcome the creativity of racism. About a boy who uses the freedom of art to overcome his incarceration. About you. About me. Utterly indispensable.” - - Ibram X. Kendi, National Book Award-winning and #1 New York Times bestselling author of Stamped and How to Be an Antiracist

”'In this beautifully rendered book, we are reminded again of how brilliant and precarious our Black Lives are and how art can ultimately heal us.” - - Jacqueline Woodson, award-winning, bestselling author of Brown Girl Dreaming

Praise for BLACK ENOUGH, edited by Ibi Zoboi -

”'A powerful collection that opens the reader’s eyes to the breadth and diversity of contemporary experience in America” - - June Sarpong, author of Diversify

”'A breath of fresh air . . . nuanced and necessary.” - - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

”'The stories, all worth savoring, share a celebratory outlook on black teenagers fully and courageously embracing life.” - - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Praise for AMERICAN STREET by Ibi Zoboi -

”'Self-assured, elegant and utterly captivating.” - - The New York Times

”'Fierce and beautiful.” - - Booklist (starred review)