Dear Martin is a young adult fiction novel written by Nic Stone. It was published on October 17, 2017 and consists of 224 pages. The awards and nominees for the novel were:
- 2018 Finalist for the William C. Morris Debut YA Award.
- 2018 American Library Association’s (ALA) Top Ten Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults.
- 2018 ALA’s Top Ten Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers.
- 2018 Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award Nominee.
- 2020 South Carolina Book Award Nominee for Young Adult.
- 2020 Lincoln Award Nominee.
Dear Martin is about a high school student named Justyce McAllister who goes to a school where that is mostly white people. He goes to the school with a scholarship and one day, when he is arrested by a white police officer, he tries to understand life as a black person, especially the current times.
I wanted to read this novel because we’ve been hearing countless stories of black teenagers falling victim to the police because of their skin color. I wanted to read a story from the perspective of a black teenager who has actually gone through the experience and with the consideration that this novel is loosely based on true events of the shootings and deaths of unarmed African American teenagers. Although I’m African American, I wouldn’t say that I’ve had any experiences that were to the same extent.
I would recommend this novel to fifth graders and up and I would read it as a group. A person doesn’t necessarily need to be African American in order to read the novel and considering that we live in a time where the existence of the struggles of African Americans in the United States is being denied, it’s important that we expose young adults to this novel, as well as similar types of novels.
For a read aloud, I would especially read:
- Pgs. 8 – 15, “Justyce Gets Arrested”.
- Pgs. 20 -25, “Justyce’s Train of Thoughts About Injustices”.
This novel does an amazing job of telling a story about injustices against African Americans in the United States through an African American teenager’s perspective. Not only that, but also an African American teenager who has experienced injustice himself. What’s very unique about this novel is how it is less about injustices against the African American community in general and more about Justyce trying to make sense of it all while writing letters to Martin Luther King Jr. This novel was very well written and unique in not simply just stating events that have happened.
I would love to explore more novels written by BIPOC authors (not just African American authors) and the story of injustices be told from the perspective of a BIPOC author. It feels more authentic and credible as opposed to hearing it from people who although are against it, do not and will not share the same experiences of injustices.
2 thoughts on “Dear Martin Reflection”
Hi Mazin – First off, this is an awesome analysis! I also read Dear Martin as a part of my first 5 books and found myself nodding along to all of your points while reading; this book was very moving with its phenomenal storytelling.
You mention, “What’s very unique about this novel is how it is less about injustices against the African American community in general and more about Justyce trying to make sense of it all while writing letters to Martin Luther King Jr.” It’s obvious that racial injustice is still so prevalent today, especially for African Americans; unfortunately, this is a well accepted fact that has even come to be understood by our youngest white and BIPOC students. As you artfully articulate, this book is not just recounting injustice (something so important to keep progress ongoing) but the author goes even further in narrating the injustice by inviting the reader into the feelings and thought processes behind one single person who is involuntarily forced into shouldering the unwarranted hate and assaults of others. It’s for this reason and your many other points within your analysis that then reinforce how “A person doesn’t necessarily need to be African American in order to read the novel…” as all of us, regardless of race, are motivated to fight stronger for change when we expose ourselves to opportunity to internalize the experiences others, those like Justyce’s.
First of all, you created an amazing blog! It’s very visually engaging. Thanks for your thoughts on Dear Martin – this book has been on my Amazon wish list for a minute! For one of my YA books, I read The Hate U Give and I believe it would pair well with this book. If you are looking for a book similar to this one, I would recommend checking it out (it’s also a decent movie). I appreciate how this novel is less about analyzing systemic injustice and more about Justyce coping with his experience by writing letters to MLK. I think this would be a good book for students to read when they are trying to grapple with/understand the horrors of systemic racism. Perhaps it would go well with a nonfiction text analyzing policing and racism? It may go well with Paul Butler’s Choke Hold or the 13th documentary. Choke Hold may be too intense for schools, but DCIS did a showing of 13th for 8th graders and it went well. Thanks for sharing!