DeShawn Days ‒ Tony Medina

deshawn days
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  • Age Range: 7 – 11 years
  • Grade Level: 2 – 6
  • Lexile: NP
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Lee & Low Books (September 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1584302283
  • ISBN-13: 978-1584302285



I’m DeShawn Williams
I’m ten years old
come see who I live with —
who I love!

From this inviting opening, we are swept into ten-year-old DeShawn’s world where we meet his family, his friends, and learn about his hopes and dreams. DeShawn lives in the projects, where “You don’t just hear music / you hear sirens too /cop cars and ambulances /screaming all the time /real loud at you.” This is also a place where neighbors gather for barbecues, and where DeShawn and his cousin build a snowman in the winter. We experience the death of DeShawn’s grandmother, deeply feeling his sadness and loss. And we share the hope as he and his mother turn to each other for comfort. Readers from all backgrounds will be charmed by this upbeat, compassionate, and creative young boy.

In his first children’s book, author Tony Medina draws from his experiences growing up in the projects to create this dynamic character. Award-winning artist R. Gregory Christie beautifully captures the emotion, humor, and strength of the story through his powerful illustrations. An afterword from the author expands on his connection to the story and explains how he was inspired to become a writer.


Rationale for Inclusion: This is a unique children’s book in that it is based on the perspective of a 10-year old boy who is growing up in an inner-city housing project. This was a very important book to include in our collection due to the fact that many urban kids growing up in the projects seldom get a chance to see themselves depicted in children’s books. This book can therefore be used a mirror for which inner-city children can see themselves and their lifestyles being represented. Likewise, children who have not grown up in inner-city neighborhoods can get a window into the lives of urban children, which can broaden their understanding of the world around them as they draw parallels between how their lifestyles differ and how they are similar to children growing up in the inner city.

This book also incorporates humor and makes great use of rhymes, which is sure to entertain children and keep them engaged. The fact that this book also portrays a more positive, vibrant side to life in the projects in contrast to what has generally been depicted, makes it a great read for children.



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