Punching the Air: Netflix Recommendations

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Hey y’all! Welcome to my stop of the Punching the Air book tour hosted by Karina @ Afire Pages. If you’d like to hear my full thoughts on the book itself, check out my review of Punching the Air. There’s also an international giveaway going on, so enter to win your own copy of Punching the Air!

This was originally going to be TV show recommendations but it somehow ended up being all Netflix originals. I tried to pick out a mix of heavy and light watches since this is a very heavy story. Whether you end up watching these before, during, or after reading Punching the Air, they’ll definitely make great additions to the ongoing conversation.

When They See Us

This series is truly heartbreaking. If you want to know more about the Exonerated Five and actually see part of Yusef Salaam’s own story, I’d highly recommend it.

Raising Dion

A Black boy with superpowers who’s just trying to live his life, I-


13th is such an informative documentary. I learned a lot about the prison system and why it is the way it is. It’s definitely a good pairing for Punching the Air.

Deidra & Laney Rob a Train

I honestly don’t understand why this movie isn’t talked about much. It’s a really good, fun movie that also discusses some serious social and class issues. It’s an enjoyable watching experience and I definitely need to give it a rewatch soon.

Imperial Dreams

When I say this movie took my heart and shattered it into a million pieces, just know I mean it.

And, those are my recommendations. I hope you check at least one of these out and love them as much as I did.

StoryGraph Synopsis

From award-winning, bestselling author Ibi Zoboi and prison reform activist Yusef Salaam of the Exonerated Five comes a powerful YA novel in verse about a boy who is wrongfully incarcerated. Perfect for fans of Jason Reynolds, Walter Dean Myers, and Elizabeth Acevedo.

The story that I thought

was my life

didn’t start on the day

I was born

Amal Shahid has always been an artist and a poet. But even in a diverse art school, he’s seen as disruptive and unmotivated by a biased system. Then one fateful night, an altercation in a gentrifying neighborhood escalates into tragedy. “Boys just being boys” turns out to be true only when those boys are white.

The story that I think

will be my life

starts today

Suddenly, at just sixteen years old, Amal’s bright future is upended: he is convicted of a crime he didn’t commit and sent to prison. Despair and rage almost sink him until he turns to the refuge of his words, his art. This never should have been his story. But can he change it?

With spellbinding lyricism, award-winning author Ibi Zoboi and prison reform activist Yusef Salaam tell a moving and deeply profound story about how one boy is able to maintain his humanity and fight for the truth, in a system designed to strip him of both.

Ibi Zoboi - Punching the Air

Ibi Zoboi was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and holds an MFA in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her novel American Street was a National Book Award finalist and a New York Times Notable Book. She is also the author of Pride andMy Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich, a New York Times bestseller, and Punching the Air with co-author and Exonerated Five member, Yusef Salaam. She is the editor of the anthology Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America. Raised in New York City, she now lives in New Jersey with her husband and their three children.

Yusef Salaam - Punching the Air

Dr. Yusef Salaam was just fifteen years old when his life was upended after being wrongly convicted with four other boys in the “Central Park jogger” case. In 2002, after the young men spent years of their lives behind bars, their sentences were overturned. Now known as the Exonerated Five, their story has been documented in the award-winning film The Central Park Five by Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, and David McMahon and in Ava DuVernay’s highly acclaimed series When They See Us. Yusef is now a poet, activist, and inspirational speaker. He is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from President Barack Obama, among other honors. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with his wife, Sanovia, and their children. You can find him online at http://www.yusefspeaks.com.

Have you seen any of these?

Is Punching the Air on your TBR?

What’s a book you think everyone should read?

Let me know in the comments below, let’s chat!

2 thoughts on “Punching the Air: Netflix Recommendations

  1. Pingback: September Wrap-UP | Rae's Reads and Reviews

  2. Pingback: Let’s Catch Up (#17) | Rae's Reads and Reviews

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