Kim Johnson took the literary world by storm with the debut of her novel, This Is My America. It’s hard to believe that this story is a work of fiction because the storyline could easily play out today.
In the story, 17-year-old Tracey Beaumont has written letters every day for seven years petitioning on behalf of her father who has been sentenced to death. Tracey only has 267 days left before her father is set to be executed by the state of Texas.
As if life couldn’t get any harder, in the blink of an eye, her older brother Jamal goes from being a track star with a bright young future to a “thug,” on the run–he’s been accused of killing a white girl.
Tracey is determined to save her brother and father as she investigates the events that led up to Angela’s death. Time is ticking and it isn’t on the Beaumont’s side.
This story is one that all too often gets swept under the rug, it deals with the trauma Black kids face when their parent or guardian goes to prison. It also covers topics like the school to prison pipeline, racism, and white supremacy.
While the story is heavy it also highlights the Black family, young Black love, and showcases black joy in the midst of pain.
This Is My America should be required reading for all kids in America.
I got the chance to interview Kim Johnson, we talked about the story, her writing process, and what she has coming up next.
Listen to my full interview with Kim Johnson below…
Listen on Apple Podcasts
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