Alfonso Jones is shot and killed by an off-duty cop while shopping in a store for his first suit. He’s 15 years old. Thus begins his journey as a ghost through the NYC subway system, interacting with other spirits who were also murdered through gun violence. In Tony Medina’s I am Alfonso Jones, these stories are juxtaposed with Alfonso’s family’s story as they fight for justice.
Alfonso’s story, though fictional, reflects the true stories we hear every day of lives that are lost unjustly. Alfonso is black and his killer is white. The off-duty police officer claims he saw Alfonso pull a gun out of his pocket, but he was actually holding was a hanger from the suit he had just pulled off the rack.
This story is poignant enough with its words. But in its form of a graphic novel, with vivid imagery that can’t be glossed over or ignored, the book is taken to new heights. Medina himself lost a relative to gun violence. He used the heartbreak and desperation he felt and still feels about that experience to pour out Alfonso’s story.
I would highly recommend this book for any teen or adult who is seeking a different perspective on how society judges people based on skin color. You will also find encouragement in Alfonso’s story; encouragement to keep on seeking truth and justice through activism even when there aren’t happy endings because people’s lives are worth fighting for.
You can put I am Alfonso Jones on hold through the Deerfield Public Library catalog. While you wait, be sure to check out the suggestions for other reads in the “You Might Also Like These …” section on the book’s catalog page.