Reading Pays–Pass it On! With Jewell Parker Rhodes

Ghost Boys book cover

Meet an author at your local library!

Reading Pays – Pass it On! is a St. Louis Public Library program which promotes literacy and offers younger patrons an opportunity to meet an author, hear how they practice their craft, and learn what it’s like to write and publish a book. Each spring and fall, an author is invited to visit St. Louis and speak at two local schools and one of SLPL’s neighborhood locations.

As part of the program, free copies of the chosen book by the visiting author are given out at all SLPL locations . Kids in grades 3rd through 6th can visit their library to get their free copy of this fall’s chosen book, Ghost Boys. Also, everyone has a chance meet the author, Jewell Parker Rhodes, on October 3rd at 6:30 p.m. at the Buder Branch  library.

Ghost Boys Book Summary:

"Twelve-year-old Jerome is shot by a police officer who mistakes his toy gun for a real threat. As a ghost, he observes the devastation that’s been unleashed on his family and community in the wake of what they see as an unjust and brutal killing. Soon Jerome meets another ghost: Emmett Till, a boy from a very different time but similar circumstances. Emmett helps Jerome process what has happened, on a journey towards recognizing how historical racism may have led to the events that ended his life. Jerome also meets Sarah, the daughter of the police officer, who grapples with her father’s actions. Once again Jewell Parker Rhodes deftly weaves historical and socio-political layers into a gripping and poignant story about how children and families face the complexities of today’s world, and how one boy grows to understand American blackness in the aftermath of his own death." 

Author Bio:

Jewell Parker Rhodes has always loved reading and writing stories. Born and raised in Manchester, a largely African-American neighborhood on the North Side of Pittsburgh, she was a voracious reader as a child. She began college as a dance major, but when she discovered there were novels by African Americans, for African Americans, she knew she wanted to be an author. She wrote six novels for adults, two writing guides, and a memoir, but writing for children remained her dream.

Now Jewell has published five children’s books: the Louisiana Girls Trilogy of Ninth Ward, Sugar, Bayou Magic,Towers Falling, and most recently the New York Times bestseller, and #1 Kids’ Indie Next Pick, Ghost Boys. When she’s not writing, she’s visiting schools to talk about her books with the kids who read them, or teaching writing at Arizona State University, where she is the Piper Endowed Chair and Founding Artistic Director of the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing. Jewell has received numerous honors including: the American Book Award, the National Endowment of the Arts Award in Fiction, the Black Caucus of the American Library Award for Literary Excellence, thePEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Award for Outstanding Writing, and two Arizona Book Awards. Ninth Ward, her first novel for young readers, was named a Coretta Scott King Honor Book, a Notable Book fora Global Society, and a Today Show Al’s Book Club for Kids Selection.

Author Jewell Parker Rhodes with Ripley, Gurgi. Menlo Park, CA | Kirkpatrick Foundation

Check out more of Jewell Parker Rhodes' books in our catalog: 


Towers Falling

Ninth Ward

Bayou Magic


Ghost Boys

We welcome your respectful and on-topic comments and questions in this limited public forum. To find out more, please see Appropriate Use When Posting Content. Community-contributed content represents the views of the user, not those of St. Louis Public Library