Autobiography of My Dead Brother

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The thing was that me and Rise were blood brothers, but sometimes I really didn't know him. . . .

As Jesse fills his sketchbook with drawings and portraits of Rise, he tries to make sense of the complexities of friendship, loyalty, and loss in a neighborhood plagued by drive-bys, vicious gangs, and abusive cops.

Curriculet Details
35 Questions
45 Annotations
3 Quizzes

Designed for students in 7th grade, this free digital curriculum contains annotations explaining plot structure, cultural references and historical context. It also contains interactive videos that support comprehension, such as videos about character development and conflict. Over the course of the book, students will answer Common Core questions and quizzes related to the subjects of plot development, literary devices, and identifying theme. This free online unit will increase student engagement while building reading comprehension.

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Chapter 1

Below you will see a video of a traditional New Orleans funeral with its use of jazz music.  (This annotation contains a video)
This phrase is an example of a(n) 
Below you will see a video of how to identify character development.  (This annotation contains a video)
Based on what you have read so far, how would you describe the dad? Cite a specific detail that leads to your conclusion.  
Watch this video to better understand the effects of Alzheimer's disease.  (This annotation contains a video)

Chapter 2

Details such as these can give an indication of a time period instead of coming out and saying it. When do you believe the picture was taken if the gentlemen are wearing "powder-blue tuxedo and bushy Afros"? 
Why do you think the members of the Counts reject Little Man? Use one piece of textual evidence to support your answer. 
A midnight league is a basketball program that encourages urban youth to stay off the streets and provides an alternative to drugs and violence.  
Below is a video of jazz saxophonist John Coltrane.  (This annotation contains a video)
Watch this short video about literal versus figurative language. Consider how "the lines" is an example of figurative language.  (This annotation contains a video)

Chapter 3

This statement is an example of  
When writing in first-person point of view, the author must accurately portray the narrator's voice. Third-person point of view will typically have a more formal style; however, first-person can use more informal style. This is why words and phrases such as "chill prowling" and "bizness" are appropriate for the book because the narrator is a teenage boy.  
How are Jesse's drawings, C.J.'s music, and Rise's change in style revealing of their characters?  

Chapter 4

What is C.J. implying about the little girl? 
Watch this video about simile and metaphor to better understand the use of simile in this sentence.  (This annotation contains a video)
Why is it significant that Jesse's drawing of Rise came out wrong?  

Chapter 5

The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art is a college located in New York. From 1859-2013 the school offered full-tuition scholarship to each admitted student.  (This annotation contains an image)
Jesse's parents are asking so many questions because they are 
Watch the video below about motif. Consider how Jesse drawing Rise here has become a motif.  (This annotation contains a video)
At this moment, what is Jesse's internal conflict?  

Chapter 6

Shea Stadium was the famous home of the New York Mets. It was demolished in 2009.  (This annotation contains a link)
Which theme is most prevalent in this last paragraph? 

Chapter 7

The drawings provide more insight into Jesse's thoughts and feelings. Why does he have a drawing of a padlock with a dog on it?  
Why do Rise and Jesse say no?  

Chapter 8

When analyzing character development, the detail about Rise's father is important. How are Rise and Jesse's home lives different, and how do these differences influence their behavior?  
Rise's comment about money is  
Below is a video about internal and external conflict. Which kind of conflict do you see in this dialogue?  (This annotation contains a video)
The train here is a(n)  
Chapters 1-8 Quiz 

Chapter 9

What is the meaning behind the drawing? Use textual evidence to support your interpretation.  
A Kalishnakov is a type of gun, an AK-47  (This annotation contains an image)
Caballeros is Spanish for gentlemen.  

Chapter 10

Below is a video about tension. Consider how the author effectively creates tension in this moment.  (This annotation contains a video)
In terms of plot, this moment is part of the  
An allusion is a reference to a person, place, or thing in history or another work of literature. Allusions are meant to summarize broad, complex ideas of emotions in one image. How are Malcolm X, a famous African-American civil rights activist, and his assassination significant to this moment in the book?  

Chapter 11

What did Rise learn from the game, and how is this important to understanding his character?  
Below is a video about point of view and cultural perspective. Consider how the culture perspective is important to the point of the view of this book.  (This annotation contains a video)
Below is an image of the exterior of an apartment in Harlem. Consider how the environment influences Tania's view on life.  (This annotation contains an image)
One theme to this book is becoming a man. Jesse is seeing friends, such as Rise, change, and Jesse himself is changing. The introduction of Tania adds another layer to Jesse growing and changing.  

Chapter 12

Do you believe C.J. is being serious about ratting out Jesse? Use textual evidence to support your answer.  
The highlighted word Boy is slang for heroin.  
Below is a video about flashback. How is this flashback important about Jesse and Rise?  (This annotation contains a video)

Chapter 13

Another word for stoop is  
Below is a video about static and dynamic characters.  (This annotation contains a video)
What issue is most evident here in the conversation with the cops?  
The drain is another example of figurative language, specifically a metaphor. What does the drain represent for Jesse?  

Chapter 14

Why is Sidney an important character in the book?  
Below is the picture of Huey Newton that Jesse is describing.  (This annotation contains an image)

Chapter 15

Rise's reaction is an example of situational irony. Watch the video below to understand what situational irony is.  (This annotation contains a video)

Chapter 16

What does Tania mean by "you don't know so much about me you're going to be tramping me out and stuff"? 
The role of the mother is important for the three characters of Jesse, Rise, and C.J. Consider the influence the mothers have on their sons.  
Watch the video below about emerging theme. What theme is emerging in this conversation between C.J. and Jesse?  (This annotation contains a video)
Chapter 9-16 Quiz 

Chapter 17

Jesse stops bringing his hand to his face out of _______________ toward his father. 
Below is a video about textual evidence. Consider this scene with Jesse's parents and how it could be textual evidence for character analysis.  (This annotation contains a video)
Using textual evidence, explain why Jesse's mother and father are behaving the way they are toward Jesse.  
Here, the issue of race comes up again. Jesse's mother says she doesn't want to be "another family of abusive black people" and that the police officer was white. Think back to Jesse's encounter with the white police officers. What do you think the author is saying about race and crime?  

Chapter 18

What does Jesse mean by "it didn't mean boo to me"? 
Below is an image of Sherlock Holmes, a famous detective created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Jesse not want C.J.'s mom to know that he is in the street?  
This moment is another example of Jesse's internal conflict. He doesn't tell Rise about his conversation with Sidney, and he doesn't tell his mother the truth about the phone call with Rise. He is torn between doing what is right and being a good friend.  

Chapter 19

This sentence uses __________ to describe Jesse's feelings toward drawing.  
Below is a video about foreshadowing.  (This annotation contains a video)
This sentence has an example of  

Chapter 20

The Harlem Renaissance was a cultural movement during the 1920s. There was a rise in poetry, music, visual art, and literature centered in Harlem, New York. Below is a painting from the era by artist Jacob Lawrence.  (This annotation contains an image)
The word "shorties" in the context of this sentence refers to someone's 
Mentioning a celebrity such as P. Diddy can give an indication of when the book takes place without coming right out and stating the date. Sean Combs, or Puff Daddy as he was once known, had changed his name to P. Diddy in 2001 and kept it until 2004, so this story probably takes place around the early 2000s.  (This annotation contains an image)
How does this conversation between C.J. and Jesse tie in with Jesse's struggle to draw Rise?  
Below is an image of an Uzi.  (This annotation contains an image)

Chapter 21

How is Jesse's mother behaving here?  
Jesse's father repeatedly told him to not say anything to Sidney without a lawyer; however, Jesse starts talking to him. Does this show that Jesse trusts Sidney or that Jesse is anxious?  
Who most likely set up the Diablos?  
Watch this video below about personification. What does the author personify in this sentence?  (This annotation contains a video)
Which word is closest to sophisticated in this sentence? 
Sometimes an author uses descriptive details to parallel the mood at the moment. Describing "the sky was gray with streaks of sunlight breaking through" ties in with the solemn mood.  

Chapter 22

Rikers is the name of a  
The italicized text represents Jesse's internal thoughts. His internal conflict with Rise continues to bother him.  
This moment in the book is the 

Chapter 23

Think back to how the book started with the same hymn for a different funeral. It creates a parallel between the beginning and ending of the book.  
Why does C.J. play jazz at this moment? Use textual evidence from earlier in the book to support your answer.  
Watch the video below about static and dynamic characters. Do you believe Little Man is a static or dynamic character?  (This annotation contains a video)
Below is a video of the famous jazz musician Duke Ellington.  (This annotation contains a video)
Chapters 17-23 Quiz