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“I am the greatest! I said it even before I knew I was.”

Learn how your comment data is processed. You know that person who always has a book in their purse and a glass of wine on hand? In my free time I can be found binge watching The Office with my husband and baby, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring my neighborhood. Read More…. Enter your email address to subscribe to Good Books And Good Wine and receive notifications of new posts by email.

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Built on the Genesis Framework. The setting — who does not love a tightly knit community? The multifaceted characters — there are different layers to all of the characters. The feeling of acceptance throughout the book.

I just came away from it feeling pretty peaceful. Share this:. Like this: Like Loading Related Posts.

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Table of Contents

January 5, at am. January 14, at am. August 28, at am. It was thrilling to be among such a crowd. The Good Friday I remember best was that of my last eligible year. I was due to turn thirteen in June, and then I would never again be able to enter my name to take part in the service. I had entered every year before then since I turned nine, but had never once been selected.

Summary and reviews of When I Was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds

I remember holding my little ticket with the long number printed on it, hoping I would hear the pastor call it out. My little brother, Frederick, had also entered the contest that year. I dare say, he was more excited than I was. When the pastor announced that it was time to select the special winner, I recall how Frederick jumped up out of his seat and cheered louder than anyone else.

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We all cheered wildly. The pastor continued. Dale, would you bring me the basket? Dale, the pastor's wife, dutifully did as her husband asked. She held the basket full of tickets up, and Pastor Francis fished around, rather dramatically, for the winner. At last, he had made a selection. The winner, and very special participant in this year's Good Friday ceremony is whoever holds the ticket numbered six As he read the numbers, I began to shake.

So far, each number had perfectly matched my ticket! I listened intently as the pastor went on. Groans erupted all around. Apr 27, Beth rated it it was amazing Shelves: ya-lit , favorites , boy-appeal , novel-length-reads , we-need-diverse-books , family , resilience-literature , own , in-classroom-library , heartprint-books.

Ali knows his neighborhood in Brooklyn has a bad rap, but he likes to stay above the fray. He's a kid who looks after his mom and his sister, and avoids the guns, drugs, and gangs that sometimes plague Bed Stuy. One day, two boys Ali's age move in next door, and they immediately strike up a friendship. Noodles and Needles are brothers and Needles has Tourette's. Needles frequently has tics and shouts out inappropriate words, but Ali's mom has discovered a way to help calm his tics: knitting thus Ali knows his neighborhood in Brooklyn has a bad rap, but he likes to stay above the fray.

Needles frequently has tics and shouts out inappropriate words, but Ali's mom has discovered a way to help calm his tics: knitting thus his nickname. Despite the fact that Needles' condition seems to bother no one in their neighborhood, Noodles clearly harbors a great deal of resentment towards his brother that eventually comes to a boiling point when Needles takes a hit for something that was Noodles' fault. Reynolds' debut novel is a much-needed counter-narrative in the canon of young adult literature that prominently features black characters.

So often books with African Americans are either historical fiction or gritty narratives that feature protagonists who are part of gangs or other criminal activities. Jason Reynolds, however, has written a gentle story about a young man who always wants to do right by his family and friends. Ali's tenderness towards his mom and sister and even his mostly absent father is not only touching, it is a desperately needed narrative for kids and young adults -- as both a mirror and a window.

Fans of Jacqueline Woodson's After Tupac and D Foster will enjoy this character-driven story and want to keep sitting on the stoop with Ali, Noodles, and Needles long after the last page is turned.

When I Was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds

Read my entire review on my blog. Another phenomenal book by Jason Reynolds. Need I say more? I think not! Jun 01, Leah rated it really liked it. This is the second book of Jason Reynolds that I read, but the first one that told a fictional story, and I loved it. I loved Ali, and his story, the setting, his friends, and honestly just everything about this book.


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I think Mr. Reynolds really allowed the reader to learn so much from these characters and what they went through in here.

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Mar 21, Dan rated it it was amazing. His idol and mentor Walter Dean Myers would come a few years later, but in his formative years Reynolds could not get into books because the people he knew were not written into the books. In his Coretta Scott King award winning novel When I Was The Greatest Reynolds succeeds in creating compelling human characters who stand out in stark contrast to the cardboard caricatures that pass as African-American characters in what is popularly referred to as street lit or hood books.

Ali lives in Bed-Stuy with his mother, Doris, and younger sister, Jazz. The novel begins when we meet Noodles and Needles, two boys that move into the rundown brownstone and former crack house next door. The author references Spike Lee toward the end of the book, and the neighborhood has that nostalgic Crooklyn feel even though it is set in present day. There is the woman downstairs that watches after the kids when Doris is at her second job.