I Am Alfonso Jones

by Tony Medina, Stacey Robinson, and John Jennings

Alfonso Jones is a Black teenager shot and killed by an off-duty police officer working... read more

Alfonso Jones is a Black teenager shot and killed by an off-duty police officer working as a department store security guard in the opening pages of this graphic novel. Alfonso was shopping for his first suit when another customer reported him as behaving suspiciously. The cop said Alfonso had a gun. He didn’t: He was holding a hanger from a suit he was trying on. Alfonso’s story unfolds in chapters and scenes moving back and forth between the present— he is among ghosts on a subway car, looking in on the survivors of his own life—and the past. The past includes more of Alfonso’s life and family story. His dad was about to get out of prison, having just been exonerated with DNA evidence proving he did not rape and murder a woman years before. The other ghosts on the train are all other victims of police violence (based on real people). Their presence draws a direct line across decades: What happened to Alfonso has happened to so many others (notes in the back provide information about the “real” people who are ghosts on the train, including Henry Dumas, a black writer shot and killed by police in 1968 and for whom Alfonso’s school is named) in a work that also connects the activism of Black Lives Matter to the long history of Black resistance and protest. (Age 11 and older)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2018

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