Wednesday, July 8, 2020
July 8, 2020

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‘Punching the Air’ to arrive in fall

One of the former “Central Park Five” is working on a novel


NEW YORK — One of the former “Central Park Five” is teaming with a children’s author on a young adult novel with a personal theme — being wrongfully sentenced to prison.

Yusef Salaam and author Ibi Zoboi are working on “Punching the Air,” according to Bray + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Children’s Books. The book comes out Sept. 1.

Salaam was among five black and Latino teenagers from Harlem who were coerced into confessing to a rape they didn’t commit in 1989. They were exonerated in 2002. They later received a multimillion-dollar settlement from New York City. Ken Burns made a documentary about them and Ava DuVernay directed a Netflix series.

“Punching the Air” tells of a gifted teen, Amal Shahid, who is convicted of a crime he didn’t commit.

“‘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,” he said.