When We Was Fierce
Candlewick Press, 2017
T’s bad day started with a good kid named Ricky-Ricky. What happens next will
change the way readers think about young adult literature. As a group of friends
struggle to stay out of gang warfare, the reinvention of language and take on a life
lived hard will bring into focus the power of choice, the pain of loss and the limits
youth are pushed. Ethnically diverse, When We Was Fierce will grab fans of
The Outsiders, The Crossover and Crank.
Why This Book:
- Will entice reluctant readers
- Discussion of Ebonics and historical use of language
- Conversations about: Systemic racism in America, Media Perception of Race, Police Brutality +
- Issues: Racism, community divisiveness, family, friendship, community unity, gangs, loss, gun violence, facing fears, being in choice
We wasn’t up to nothin’
Me and Jimmy, Catch and Yo-Yo.
We just comin’ down the street keepin’ cool.
We was good at stayin’ low
Especially around the Wooden Spoon.
Guys hang around there, they got teeth on ’em
Sharper than broken glass.
Words that slit ya’ from chin to belly. And that’s just their words.
Quotes From The Trenches
—G. Neri, author of the Coretta Scott King Honor Book Yummy
—A. S. King, author of the Michael L. Printz Award Honor Book Please Ignore Vera Dietz
—Beth Kephart, National Book Award Finalist
– Kiera Parrott, Reviews Director for Library Journal & School Library Journal
Short List of Books By People Of Color To Discuss With Readers
All American Boys – Jason Reynolds & Brendan Kiely
Tyrell – Coe Booth
Yummy: The Last Days of a South Side Shorty – G. Neri
The Crossover – Kwame Alexander
Jumped – Rita Williams-Garcia
Monster – Walter Dean Myers
When I Was The Greatest – Jason Reynolds
They’re Eyes Were Watching God – Zora Neale Hurston
How It Went Down – Kekla Magoon
Push – Sapphire
The First Part Last – Angela Johnson
The Skin I’m In – Sharon Flake
Monster: A Graphic Novel – Walter Dean Myers, Guy A. Sims, Dawud Anyabwile
X: A Novel – Ilyasah Shabazz and Kekla Magoon
Manchild In The Promised Land – Claude Brown
March Book 1 & Book 2 – John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell
We Were Here – Matt de la Peña
Always Running: La Vida Loca: Gang Days In LA – Luis J. Rodriguez
Books To Further The Discuss Of Racism In America
Just Mercy – Bryan Stevenson
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Color Blindness – Michelle Alexander
Between The World And Me – Ta-Neshisi Coates