"The First Part Last" by Angela Johnson


TITLE: The First Part Last

AUTHOR: Angela Johnson

PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

PUBLISHED DATE: June 1, 2003

ISBN: 978-0689849220

PAGES: 144

A tender story about a single teen father trying to raise his infant daughter.

Winner of the Coretta Scott King Author Award and the Michael L. Printz Award, this book is solidly a classic and one thtat would attract a variety of readers. I listened to this book as an audiobook, and the reader was very believable. Sounded like any one of the young men I encounter everyday in my library, and I could imagine any one of them in similar circumstances saying the same things as Bobby. (...at least I hope they would. It's pretty amazing how at 16 he tries to step up to the responsibility of fatherhood, even when the young mother has bailed.

In the 13 years since this book was published, I'm glad that teen pregnancy is on the decline. In 2003 when this book was published, books had only focused on young teen girls, and this topic from the father's perspective was novel. Even today, if you browse any shelves housing parenting books - new father books are slim, and even slimmer are the new father books geared towards teenaged boys. There is one book that I know of: My Girlfriend's Pregnant: A Teen's Guide to Becoming a Dad. I read it a few months ago. Perhaps I should do a review.

Recommendation: Read it.

Audience: Young Adults (Grade 7 and up)

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