My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Alfonso Jones was just a kid. One with dreams and aspirations both for his distant and immediate future. He played the trumpet, had a crush on his best friend Danetta, liked to act and was hoping for a lead role in Hip-Hop Hamlet at his high school. He was a bike messenger and on the weekends would ride all over the city, on a mission to capture photos and collect quotes as he worked on his book of Black legends. Alfonso Jones was a 15-year-old kid who was shot and killed by a police officer while buying his first suit. The officer believed the suit’s clothes hanger to have been a gun.
I Am Alfonso Jones follows the aftermath of his death and its impact on his family, community, and the nation as justice is pursued. It is an incredibly honest work of fiction with real-life tragedies woven into the fabric of the story throughout, giving homage to the fallen. It grieved my heart deeply as Tony Medina made me remember because if you listen closely as you turn the pages, you can hear them call out from beyond the grave. Those who were unjustly murdered by police. We need to remember them. We cannot just let each instance come and go with the wind as trending topics that we stand on our virtual soapboxes to speak out against for 48-72 hours until it becomes old news.
This book is necessary. Chew on it for a little while and pause at the end to make sure you digest it all. Spend some time at the Ancestors Wall where I shed several tears. Read the Author’s Note to understand what inspired this story and when you get to the brief bios of the Real-Life Ancestors of This Book…just know that tissues can’t even begin to do a thing for the inconsolable cries of the soul. My heart still aches but I loved this read so much. I pray that it would stir all of our hearts to action.
Tony Medina, Stacey Robinson, and John Jennings, I appreciate your work. Thank you for making me remember. I Am Alfonso Jones will stick with me for a long, long time #IAMALFONSOJONES
Tony Medina | http://tonymedina.org/
Stacey Robinson | https://obsidianlit.org/stacey-robinson/
John Jennings | http://www.johnjenningsart.com/
An Imprint of Lee & Low Books