Now a feature film, Concrete Cowboy, starring Idris Elba
A street-smart tale about a displaced teen who learns to defend what's right-the Cowboy Way.
When Cole’s mom dumps him in the mean streets of Philadelphia to live with the dad he’s never met, the last thing Cole expects to see is a horse, let alone a stable full of them. He may not know much about cowboys, but what he knows for sure is that cowboys aren’t black, and they don’t live in the inner city. But in his dad’s ’hood, horses are a way of life, and soon Cole’s days of skipping school and getting in trouble in Detroit have been replaced by shoveling muck and trying not to get stomped on. At first, all Cole can think about is how to ditch these ghetto cowboys and get home. But when the City threatens to shut down the stables— and take away the horse Cole has come to think of as his own— he knows that it’s time to step up and fight back. Inspired by the little-known urban riders of Philly and Brooklyn, this compelling tale of latter -day cowboy justice champions a world where your friends always have your back, especially when the chips are down.
About the Author
G. Neri is the winner of a 2011 Coretta Scott King Author Honor Award for his graphic novel Yummy and the 2010 Lee Bennett Hopkins Promising Poet Award for Chess Rumble, a middle-grade novel in verse with illustrations by Jesse Joshua Watson. G. Neri lives in Tampa, Florida.
Jesse Joshua Watson is the illustrator of Chess Rumble by G. Neri and I and I by Tony Medina. He is also the author-illustrator of Hope for Haiti. Jesse Joshua Watson lives in Washington State.
Once again, G. Neri has done what he does best: taken a real-life scenario and turned it into compelling fiction. Cole's authentic voice will resonate with readers—it grabbed me right from the start and wouldn’t let me go. An outstanding book! – Coe Booth, author of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize Winner Tyrell
The unique subject matter alone makes this a book worth picking up. Cole’s heartwarming, heartrending voice, his struggle, and his triumph, make this a book worth reading to the end.–Sundee T. Frazier, author of the Coretta Scott King / John Steptoe New Talent Award Winner Brendan Buckley's Universe and Everything in It
Ghetto Cowboy is an exceptional and deeply moving story about a father and son finding their way to each other and a community daring to fight for what they believe in. G. Neri has created a story that ropes us in and saddles us up for a heartwarming ride. – Hope Anita Smith, author of the Coretta Scott King Honor Winner Keeping the Night Watch
This well-written book is based on a true story of urban cowboys in Philadelphia and New York. Cole's spot-on emotional insight is conveyed through believable dialogue and the well-paced plot offers information about a little-known aspect of African-American history as well as a portrait of contemporary urban stable life. Watson's illustrations punctuate the intriguing aspects of the story and make the novel more appealing. —School Library Journal
A fascinating glimpse of a culture most readers will not have heard of. —Kirkus Reviews
Neri's story is original in theme and inspirational in tone and content. —Booklist
Coltrane's narration is written in easy-reading colloquial language, making the book a likely sell to reluctant readers and possibility for older readalouds. —Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
There’s an honesty to the book and to the changes Cole experiences. And while the story itself may contain a happy ending for both boy and horse, that doesn’t mean it’s an easy ending for either of them...Definitely recommended for everyone. —A Fuse 8 Production (SLJ blog)
A heartwarming story about inner-city kids who bond with a band of forgotten race horses. . . . The great morality lesson here is not the only beauty of the story. The rhythm of the writing, the smells and sounds of the neighborhood, the developing relationship between a boy and his estranged father add up to an appealing novel, especially for an under-written-for segment of young male readers. —The Christian Science Monitor