Excerpt from YA title: A Slip In The Right Direction
by author and poet Rachel Berry
I would like to introduce you to a fantastic gift book for young adult male readers. Everyone experiences unique challenges and celebrations when coming-of-age. Young men and women need special support during this difficult time in life. This book offers a chance to reach our African American males and show them love during their difficult teen years. Please read on for more details and reviews on this incredible book. The author of this book has also pointed out how this book could help the entire family and this group/community start important discusssions. I would like your feedback. Thanks! Ella Curry
Five questions that this book asks of the readers or society
1. What do you feel are some of the reasons that make our youth turn to gangs, and what as a society can we do to change this?
2. Can good home training and instilling family values totally prevent our kids from making bad choices?
3. Does creating a good family image mean we should push our children to make choices or responsibilities they might not be ready for?
4. How does the coming-of-age process effect boys differently from girls and then later on as an adult?
5. What are the pros and cons of discreetly involving and relaying family challenges and situations to our children when they reach a certain age, and what is that age?
» Hear An Excerpt Read By The Author
The story of life, puppy love, and lessons, as seen through the eyes of a 14-year-old young man coming-of-age in Chicago.
Setting the scene from A Slip In The Right Direction:
Fourteen-year-old Clifton Henderson aka Slip has witnessed and become unwillingly involved in a robbery by Chicago gang members. He’s back at home; reported the crime to the police, and is being questioned by a detective who wants to take him down to the station. His parents are not home, but in the streets anxiously looking for him …
Part 1 of The Clifton Henderson series
I took another long stare at him. Something about the way he said this thing made me know he didn’t believe I was innocent. His offer for me to leave was probably not for the safety of a good citizen but thinking I’d be fingered as a snitch among the gangbangers and they’d be hot on the lookout for me. This was his way of stopping more violence. But it didn’t matter what he believed or didn’t believe; he had a point. If I didn’t go with him, I couldn’t leave the apartment without worrying and my folks couldn’t come back home without me worrying. This was really turning into a thing—a bad thing—especially for me. I made my decision.
“I’ll go with you.”
”He said, “Something else you need to understand, kiddo.”
He wrote in his pad while talking. I desperately wanted to snatch the pad out of his hand and read it.
“Until this thing is sorted out, it’s not clear as to whether you are a participant or you’re actually a victim, namely a witness. Do you understand that? I mean, have I made myself clear here?”
Oh, you’re as transparent as they come, my mind whispered. But my mouth just said, “Yep.” Funny, I heard Momma’s voice in my head say, Slip, now you know you’re always suppose to say “yes sir” and “yes ma’am” to your elders. But somehow, I don’t think she meant elder jerks. I was good on this one.
Cop dude sat there, still looking around the room suspiciously. He focused in on Momma’s Betty Boop doll collection that lined the wooden mantelpiece. “Are you the only child in the house?”
“I’m the only child in the house,” I repeated irritably.
“Any siblings? That means brothers or sisters.”
I began a silent countdown in my head, Mom’s method of anger management. Then I exhaled.
“I have an older sister. She doesn’t live here. She’s twenty-six years old and lives a few blocks away.”
“How about we get her on the phone?”
He was doing it again, talking without looking at me and writing in that dumb pad of his.
“She might not be home; she was supposed to be coming over for dinner tonight.”
He gave his watch another look, then went back to writing.
“How ’bout we try her anyway?”
By now, I was standing with my hands on my hips, mean-mugging him. Mom would have lost it had she seen me. I massaged my temples, shook my head, and dragged my feet over to the telephone. I saw cop dude cut his eyes over at my feet, as if my feet and sneakers were all that existed of me. He then turned back to his pad, doodling.
I wished I could shut my eyes and make the whole night disappear. I thought back to the scene that played out earlier. I pictured Demon’s bloody body being carried away on the stretcher. He looked unconscious as the paramedics pushed him into the back door of the ambulance, a complete opposite of the strong, cocky guy who had been bragging earlier. A tiny object like a bullet had cut through all that talk. Erskine, handcuffed and pushed along toward the squad car by two cops, had called to his brother to hang on before he was pressed, headfirst, down into the backseat. I gotta admit, for a minute, I did feel sorry for Demon. Thoughts rushed angry tears to my eyes for a fleeting moment, making the phone pad fuzzy as I dialed Christine’s number. And then, from out of nowhere, I got that feeling again.
This time, it was a little different than the rest—more intense and very vivid. I knew immediately it had nothing to do with me or the Dragons or the robbery. It was about the mystery person in Apartment 6. I swayed for a dizzy moment, and then the feeling was gone. Slowly, I turned around to see if Officer Know-So-Much was looking. But he was busy still writing in that dumb pad.
I took a long sigh. What a night! But who knew? It was long from over.
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Praise for Young Adult Novella: A Slip In the Right Direction
"A Slip In The Right Direction speaks to an all too familiar reality of America's Black and Brown folk who are in a day-today struggle to survive."
---Bruce George, Co-Founder of Def Poetry Jam and Founder of The Bandana Republic
"...Thought provoking and well written. Young readers will be texting their friends about the book and eagerly awaiting the sequel."
----Brian W. Smith, Best Selling Author of the novel BEATER
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» A Slip In The Right Direction by Author & Poet Rachel Berry
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