by Richard Wright
"Johnny, you're leaving us tonight . . . "
Fifteen-year-old Johnny Gibbs does, well in school, respects his teachers, and loves his family. Then suddenly, with a few short words, his idyllic life is shattered. He learns that the family he has loved all his life is not his own, but a foster family. And now he is being sent to live with someone else.
Shocked by the news, Johnny does the only thing he can think of: he runs. Leaving his childhood behind forever, Johnny takes to the streets where he learns about living life—the hard way.
Richard Wright, internationally acclaimed author of Black Boy and Native Son, gives us a coming-of-age story as compelling today as when it was first written, over fifty years ago.
‘Johnny Gibbs arrives home jubilantly one day with his straight ‘A’ report card to find his belongings packed and his mother and sister distraught. Devastated when they tell him that he is not their blood relative and that he is being sent to a new foster home, he runs away. His secure world quickly shatters into a nightmare of subways, dark alleys, theft and street warfare. . . . Striking characters, vivid dialogue, dramatic descriptions, and enduring themes introduce a enw generation of readers to Wright’s powerful voice.’—SLJ.
Notable 1995 Children's Trade Books in Social Studies (NCSS/CBC)
When fifteen-year-old Johnny Gibbs is told that he is really a foster child, he runs off into the streets of Harlem and meets up with a gang that wants him to participate in a mugging. Includes criticism of Wright's fiction.
Negative images for a teenager are rampant throughout this story. The foster care system that we have is not the best but it is not as insensitive as depicted in this story. Since our social service programs are currently undergoing scrutiny, this book may just muddy the waters with misinformation. Positive images are what teenagers need, not negative, hostile ones. To sum it up, this story is out of date and irrelevant.
A trailblazing African-American novelist, playwright, and memoirist, Richard A. Wright brought the experiences of the twentieth-century ghetto into the realm of high art with his blockbuster 1940 novel Native Son. He went on to mix autobiography and fiction, and to become one of the most celebrated writers -- black or white -- of his era.
Paperback: 160 pages