When I Was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds

Recommended by Stephen Dilley @stephenjdilley

Author: Jason Reynolds

Form: available as a prose novel AND a graphic novel

Length: 272 pages

Brief synopsis: A coming-of-age story set in Brooklyn which deals with the everyday of experiences of teenage narrator Ali, his best friends Noodles, and Noodles’ brother Needles who has Tourette’s syndrome. Life gets more complicated when they’re invited to an adults-only party and get into trouble.

Age recommendation and challenging content: Explores Tourette’s syndrome, family separation with some violent scenes and mild swearing. Y8 upwards.

Notable reasons to recommend this book: A beautifully written and very positive representation of life in a predominantly Black urban community which features well-drawn characters living their lives and learning about themselves with lots of humour.

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