A Blog Tour: Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi & Yusef Salaam ( A Review, Book Aesthetic, Quotes & A Giveaway )


organized by the amazing Karina,  in partnership with HarperCollins International!

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary, Fiction, Poetry

Publisher: Balzer+Bray

Publishing Date: Sept. 1st 2020

Pages: 400

T/CW: racism, microaggression, violence, use of racial slur.

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Cream and Yellow Hand Drawn English Class Education Presentation (1)3

**Thank you to HarperCollins International and Edelweiss for providing me an eARC. This, by any means, did not affect nor does it influence my review.**

This book although highly empowering, makes you so sad and SO ANGRY. It pulls you in and gives you an insight of a Young Black teenage full of angst, passion and emotion just going through the system of never ending systematic injustice.

Amal just comes off the page, to us in a burst of powerful prose and his deep beautiful, yet haunting observations about the world. Leaving us reeling with emotions just by his shot impactful and poignant prose.

I think stories told in prose and verses just add so much more power and impact to narrative and it works so well for this one. It just tells events, expresses emotions and introduces characters in a short to the point but in such an impactful way. I don’t know, but i think it adds so much more to the essence of the story and just creates an emotional connection with the reader instantly, without actually having to add lengthy backstories, scenes and description.

This books just goes through life as Amal’s hearing progress and conviction happens, life through the eyes of someone going through trial, but also not been given a fair chance but judged more on the colour of skin than actual crimes. And as he trudged through life in juvie….tries to go through his time dealing with his emotions, anger, trying to get used too things.
It shed light of the systematic oppression and racism. How deep it goes. And how justice is kinda the black and white (literals) of our society.

One thing i do have a gripe is about the ending. I was so into the reading, my earc that i didn’t even realize i was close to the end. And i didnt realize the last poem would be the last and was so confused. This has happened to me back to back twice with my reads ahhhh!! Anyway i just thought it was very abrupt and i wish there was more and some type of closure i don’t know i would have liked to read more. But i also understand why it ended where it did. Because it fits the narrative and story being told.

One of the most important fact about this book is that it is inspired and takes from YUSEF SALAAM’s own experience as one of the exonerated fives (he was wrongfully incarcerated when he was a teenager, along with other Black and Latino teenage boys on the Central Park jogger case.) ( the documentary on it When They See Us  on Netflix has been on my list for so long i just havent found the right time to watch it, You should definitely add it to your list!!!) , and i learned some of the poems are from the time he himself was in prison and it gives me goosebumps.

Overall, this books is beautiful, emotional and so sooo important in the current narratives and talks happening. Things that need to be talked about,  andt way the judicial system and prison system in America disproportionately and constantly fails and oppresses black people.


Cream and Yellow Hand Drawn English Class Education Presentation 333

Unjustly tried an indelible conviction

the usual result of five shades of darker skin

Justice unjust, black robes and pale face


All because

we were in the wrong place

we were in the wrong skins

we were in the wrong time

we were in the wrong bodies

we were in the wrong country

we were in the wrong

were in the wrong

in the wrong

the wrong



All because

they were in the right place

they were in the right skins

they were in the right time

they were in the right bodies

they were in the right country

they were in the right

were in the right

in the right

the right



We were

a mob

a gang


a pack of wolves





They were


having fun





full of potential



But with us, it’s

guilty until proven innocent


Ms. Rinaldi gave me hell

because I didn’t fit

into her definition of weird

I was a different kind of weird

my hair too wild

my skin too dark

my voice too deep

my paintings too colorful

my art too free


I write poetry and I paint too

That’s all I wanna do

I just wanna do my time and—

I don’t know if y’all give a fuck about

that, but—if I write and draw and paint

maybe I’ll get out of here alive


That’s the point

Locking you up isn’t enough

for them. They will try

to crush your spirit until

you’re nothing but—


we both say together

And what does dust do, Amal?

What did Maya Angelou say about dust?

Umi asks

It rises, I whisper


“This is what I want the world

to know about me

My art—

My truth”


Cream and Yellow Hand Drawn English Class Education Presentation (1)


Cream and Yellow Hand Drawn English Class Education Presentation (1)2


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 author of Pride and My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich, a New York Times bestseller, and Punching the Air with co-author and Exonerated Five member, Yusef Salaam. She is the editor of the anthology Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America. Raised in New York City, she now lives in New Jersey with her husband and their three children.



Dr. Yusef Salaam was just fifteen years old when his life was upended after being wrongly convicted with four other boys in the “Central Park jogger” case. In 2002, after the young men spent years of their lives behind bars, their sentences were overturned. Now known as the Exonerated Five, their story has been documented in the award-winning film The Central Park Five by Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, and David McMahon and in Ava DuVernay’s highly acclaimed series When They See Us. Yusef is now a poet, activist, and inspirational speaker. He is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from President Barack Obama, among other honors. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with his wife, Sanovia, and their children. You can find him online at http://www.yusefspeaks.com.


Cream and Yellow Hand Drawn English Class Education Presentation

Enter below to win a copy of Punching the Air! This giveaway is open internationally and sponsored by HarperCollins International. And will end on September 30, 2020.

A Rafflecopter giveaway 


Thank you so much for joining me on this tour. You can find other post and schedule on our wonderful hosts welcome post here .

Have you read this book? Will you be adding it to your tbr? Do you enjoy reading books in prose?


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