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Virtual Author Event: Ibi Zoboi & Yusef Salaam “Punching The Air”

October 8 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Uncle Bobbie’s is thrilled to have co-authors Ibi Zoboi and Dr. Yusef Salaam joining us to discuss their newly-released young adult novel “Punching The Air”. The authors will be joined by Chief Defender of the Defender Association of Philadelphia, Ms. Keir Bradford-Grey, in unpacking the book’s central themes of transformative justice and systemic racism.
Tune in for an engaging discussion and the open audience Q&A to follow! Sign-up for your free registration on Crowdcast.
PUNCHING THE AIR is a searing novel written in verse about Amal Shahid, a Black, Muslim teen wrongfully sentenced to prison.
“At the center of Amal’s story is the cycle of racial violence that continues to plague this country,”said Zoboi. “But this is not just a story about a crime or race. It’s about the power of art, faith, and transcendence in the most debilitating circumstances.”
Salaam shared, “PUNCHING THE AIR reflects not only my story, but the stories of millions of young boys and girls of color who face the injustice of mass incarceration and the criminal justice system. Books have the power to change the way we think and transform societies. This novel is a continuation of my work to shine a light on the reality of our criminal justice system and inspire young people to advocate for change.”
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 writing has been published in the New York Times Book Review, the Horn Book magazine, and the Rumpus, among others. Her novel American Street was a National Book Award finalist, received five starred reviews, and was a New York Times Notable Book. She is also the author of Pride and My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich, which was a New York Times bestseller, as well as being the editor of the anthology Black Enough.
In 1989, Dr. Yusef Salaam was just fifteen years old when he was tried and convicted in the “Central Park Jogger Case” along with four other Black and Latino boys. The Exonerated Five spent between seven to 13 years behind bars, until their sentences were overturned in 2002. Over the past two decades, Yusef has become a family man, father, poet, activist, and inspirational speaker. He continues to share his story with others to educate the public about the impact of mass incarceration and police brutality.
He regularly advocates for criminal justice reform, prison reform, and the abolition of juvenile solitary confinement and capital punishment. Yusef is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from President Barack Obama (2016), the Phoenix Award from the Congressional Black Caucus (2019), an honorary Doctorate of Humanities from Anointed by God Ministries Alliance & Seminary (2014), and a long list of Proclamations—most notably from NewYork State Senate (2018), and New York City Council (2013).


October 8
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Event Category:


Uncle Bobbie’s Coffee and Books
(215) 403-7058