This is such an abrupt title, and when you think of it, almost funny. Except it’s not funny, because we have a murdered teacher here. The language is simple, and it flows so well that you think there’s nothing to it. But Benjamin Zephaniah is a poet, and it shows. I can’t quite describe it, but there’s something about this book that sets it apart.
So, we’ve got the poetry. And we’ve got the crime – a schoolboy stabbing a teacher in the school playground. One of the schoolboy witnesses, Jackson Jones, deals with the trauma by starting to investigate. Not who did it, because they all saw the teacher being killed. And the murderer confessed. No problem at all, there.
But Jackson isn’t satisfied and starts digging. I won’t say what he finds, but this book provides a marvellous description of how the people in and near this school live. I’m assuming most of them are black and poor.
I think that if we can all remember what Jackson finds, when we next see or hear of a crime, we’ll all be the better for it. Despite letting the reader meet so many people with deprived lives, Benjamin’s story leaves at least me with some hope. And there’s a great poem at the end.
Everyone should read Teacher’s Dead.