Punching the Air Quotes

Punching the Air Quotes. Punching the Air Book (2020) is a young adult novel in verse by award-winning author Ibi Zoboi and prison reform activist Yusef Salaam.

The novel won a Walter Dean Myer’s Award for Outstanding Children’s Literature, was a New York Times bestseller, and was awarded the New York Public Library Best Book of the Year. Ibi Zoboi, a Haitian American writer, has earned numerous awards for her previous books, including American Street, which was a finalist for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature in 2017, and Pride.

Dr. Yusef Salaam is one of the Central Park Five, an exonerated group of Black men who were wrongfully convicted as teenagers and spent years in jail before receiving overturned sentences. Now known as one of the Exonerated Five, Salaam received the Lifetime Achievement Award from President Barack Obama.

Punching the Air Quotes, punching the air quotes with page numbers
Punching the Air Quotes

Punching the Air Quotes

  • In “Birth,” the narrative reveals Amal’s sense of self for the first time. He considers himself an old soul in a young body. This starts off the serious tone of the novel. It also highlights the disconnect between the image others see of Amal as a lazy, violent teenager and his own identity as a wizened individual.
  • Amal feels that the trial is shaping him into a violent and monstrous person instead of portraying the artful, loving person he really is. He reveals this astute perception in “The Thinker,” realizing that people want to blame him for a crime he didn’t commit because he fits their image of what a monster should look like because he is Black.
  • After the jury convicts Amal for putting Jeremy Mathis in a coma, he feels as though there is no point in trying to scream his innocence anymore, a sentiment he expresses in “Refrain.” He doesn’t want to be another Black kid saying he didn’t do the crime as though his words meant anything. He knows that saying it won’t make a difference to his conviction.
  • “Don't ever stop dreaming big But for now, put that dream on paper It's easier to carry around”.
  • “When you find yourself in dark places, there's always a light somewhere in that darkness, and even if that light is inside of you, you can illuminate your own darkness by shedding that light on the world.”
  • “The only way to survive hell is to walk through”.
  • “school teaches you what to think not how to think and nobody raises their hands except to give the right answer”.
  • “English requires two mouths to speak and four ears to understand”.
  • “Umi told me to wear a gray suit because optics But that gray didn’t make me any less black”.
  • “And we stepped onto the tipping scales of Lady Justice with her eyes blindfolded, peeking through slits because that rag is so fucking old worn-out, stretched thin, barely even there”.
  • “were a mob a gang ghetto a pack of wolves animals thugs hoodlums men They were kids having fun home loved supported protected full of potential boys”.
  • “We were a mob a gang ghetto a pack of wolves animals thugs hoodlums men They were kids having fun home loved supported protected full of potential boys”.
  • “Amal Shahid to the left​Jeremy Mathis to the right perfectly imbalanced because where I come from jail or death were the two options she handed to us because where he comes from the American Dream was the one option she handed to them So here we are, blind Lady Justice I see you, too”.
  • “On the day of my conviction I memorize my inmate number my crime my time On the day of my conviction I forget my school ID number my top three colleges my class schedule”.

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