Saturday, 25 January 2014

Ghetto Cowboy

Ghetto Cowboy by G. Neri, illustrated by Jesse Joshua Watson (Candlewick Press)
PB RRP $ 16.95
ISBN 9780763664534
Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

This highly interesting book brings into focus the obscure subject of black American cowboys.  It sent me straight to the computer to learn about the history of black cowboys which stems from prior to the Civil War.

Unable to cope with her recalcitrant son’s truancy, and living in fear of a pending juvenile facility for reform, Cole’s mother drives him thousands of miles to a father he’s never seen. The cowboy ghetto where the boy is dumped houses horses saved from the slaughterhouse, and is run by Cole’s father Harper as an initiative for young boys to stay out of trouble. 

Harper is a gifted horse whisperer and looked up to in the ghetto. Cole’s built up resentment slowly dissipates when he befriends and learns to ride the old hack, Boo. But their white Council moves to take over their land for development. What will become of the confiscated horses and the boys whose lives were saved from delinquency? Will the Cowboy Way defeat the scheme?

This is a moving story of fighting for what you believe in and finding your place in the world, wherever it may be. Written in authentic language, it addresses themes of broken lives, poverty, community and survival.

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