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.