Punching the Air

Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam

Shortlisted for the 2022 Yoto Carnegie Medal and based on true events, this magnificent verse novel about a wrongly imprisoned 16-year old boy is a powerful read. 

Amal Shahid was looking at a future which involved art, poetry, family and friends. Instead, a wrong decision one evening shattered his life as he became involved in a fight that put him into jail. Through the medium of verse, which intensifies the emotions Amal experiences, the issues of race, discrimination and justice are exposed as Amal uses his art to maintain his dignity and fight for truth.

This is a moving, profound story which will appeal to fans of The Hate U Give or Noughts and Crosses whilst the format of the verse novel should engage the reader who wants a “quick” read. We hIghly recommend this for KS4.

Published by HarperCollins Children’s Books

Reviewed by Rachel Bolton