93 pages 3 hours read

Brendan Kiely, Jason Reynolds

All American Boys

Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 2015

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Use this activity to engage all types of learners, while requiring that they refer to and incorporate details from the text over the course of the activity.

“What Does It Mean to Be All-American?”

In this activity, students will gather a variety of opinions on the meaning of the term “all-American” and connect these ideas to the novel.

Throughout the novel, Quinn, Rashad, and others question the meaning behind the term “all-American” and the deeper significance it represents regarding values of justice, honesty, loyalty, freedom, and equality. Explore this question further by investigating the potential connotations of the term and relating your findings to the messages prevalent in the novel.

In groups of 3-4, interview one person from each of the following demographic groups: a teenager (ages 12-17), a younger adult (ages 18-39), a middle-aged adult (ages 40-59), and an older adult (age 60+). These could be friends, family members, teachers, coaches, or others. Ask questions such as these and compile the responses:

  • When you hear the term “all-American,” what ideas or images come to mind?
  • What is at least one clear benefit to living in America? What is a clear negative?
  • What is a crucial step or action in gaining values such as equality and justice for all Americans?