82 pages 2 hours read

When I Was the Greatest

Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 2014

A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more. For select classroom titles, we also provide Teaching Guides with discussion and quiz questions to prompt student engagement.

Introduction

When I Was the Greatest

  • Genre: Fiction; young adult realistic
  • Originally Published: 2014
  • Reading Level/Interest: Lexile 740L; grades 7-9
  • Structure/Length: 16 chapters; approx. 250 pages; approx. 6 hours on audio
  • Protagonist and Central Conflict: Aspiring boxer Ali, 15 going on 16, lives in the Bed-Stuy neighborhood of Brooklyn with his mother and younger sister. He enjoys hanging out with his friend Noodles and Noodles’s older brother, Needles. Despite Noodles’s quick temper, the three manage to stay out of trouble—until one night when Ali throws a punch to protect his friend.
  • Potential Sensitivity Issues: Drug dealing; neighborhood violence; profanity; sexual content

Jason Reynolds, Author

  • Bio: Born in 1983 in Washington, DC; inspired to begin poetry writing through interest in rap; became an award-winning writer of middle-grade and young adult fiction and verse novels; honors include National Book Award finalist, a Newbery Honor, a Printz honor, and a CILIP Carnegie Medal
  • Other Works: As Brave As You (2016); The Boy in the Black Suit (2016); Ghost (2016); Patina (2017); Long Way Down (2017); Sunny (2018)
  • Awards: Coretta Scott King/John Stepnoe Award for New Talent               

CENTRAL THEMES connected and noted throughout this Teaching Unit:

  • The Complexities of Defining “Family”
  • The Effects of Inequality on the African American Experience
  • Fear of Embarrassment

STUDY OBJECTIVES: In accomplishing the components of this Unit, students will:

Related Titles

By Jason Reynolds

STUDY + TEACHING GUIDE

logo

All American Boys

Brendan Kiely, Jason Reynolds

All American Boys

Brendan Kiely, Jason Reynolds

Study Guide

logo

For Every One

Jason Reynolds

For Every One

Jason Reynolds

STUDY + TEACHING GUIDE

logo

Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks

Jason Reynolds

Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks

Jason Reynolds

Study Guide

logo

Miles Morales: Spider-Man

Jason Reynolds

Miles Morales: Spider-Man

Jason Reynolds

Study Guide

logo

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You

Ibram X. Kendi, Jason Reynolds

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You

Ibram X. Kendi, Jason Reynolds

Study Guide

logo

The Boy in the Black Suit

Jason Reynolds

The Boy in the Black Suit

Jason Reynolds