Jamal Joseph, at 16, was the youngest member of the Panther 21 to be arrested in New York City in 1969 and his memoir, Panther Baby, opens with a gripping scene of Panther weapons training. Just the thing to draw in readers who may be a bit younger and stand to benefit the most from his look back on his life experiences thus far, including his political participation in the Black Panther Party and the Black Liberation Army, through his six year bid at Leavenworth and into the present. Joseph displays a rare lighthearted humor, inviting the reader to laugh with him at some of the choices he made as a young man and with hard-won deep insight into some of those choices. Highly recommended for independent readers interested in history, American history, “real life stories,” and Black history. Teachers may be interested to know that the author uses adult language to authentically capture voices throughout his tale.--Jessica Fenster-Sparber
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Joseph, Jamal. Panther Baby. New York: Algonquin Books, 2012.