Cover image for The Battle of Jericho
The Battle of Jericho
Draper, Sharon M. (Sharon Mills)
Publication Information:
Prince Frederick, MD : Recorded Books, [2003]

Physical Description:
7 audio discs (8 hours 15 min.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in.
At Douglass High School, the Warriors of Distinction throw the best parties, go out with the hottest girls, and breeze through their classes without even trying. When he's chosen as a pledge, Jericho vows to do whatever it takes to become a full member. But as his initiation becomes more and more harrowing, he faces some uncomfortable choices. Exactly when do the fun and games of initiation cross into the life and death realm of hazing?
General Note:

Compact disc.
Reading Level:
Ages 12 and up.
Added Author:
Format :
Audiobook on CD


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Author Notes

Sharon M. Draper was born in Cleveland, Ohio on August 21, 1952. She taught high school English for twenty-five years and received numerous honors including Ohio Teacher of the Year and the NCNW Excellence in Teaching Award. She has also written numerous books including Romiette and Julio, Darkness before Dawn, Double Dutch, and the Ziggy and the Black Dinosaurs series. She is a a five-time winner of the Coretta Scott King Literary Award for Copper Sun, Forged by Fire, Tears of a Tiger, The Battle of Jericho, and November Blues. Her title Out of My Mind made The New York Times Best Seller List.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 7-10. The Warriors of Distinction has been the school's most exclusive club for 50 years, so when 16-year-old Jericho is asked to pledge, he's excited--and intimidated. He is also disappointed after he realizes that he'll have to give up a music competition because he can't miss a night of the initiation week. When the ceremony turns cruel--with the one girl pledge being singled out for abuse--Jericho begins to have second thoughts. Then the affair turns deadly. There are several problems here. To her credit, Draper offers a story that is profanity free, but this makes the dialogue less credible. It's difficult to imagine teens not using swear words in some of these situations, and the slang used instead often makes conversations sound stilted. The plot is also chock-full, making it hard to focus on everything that's going on, even though Jericho helps center the story. Draper does portray a timely scenario, however, with middle-class African American kids (and others) put into a situation that many young people face: the wish for inclusion butting up against the knowledge of right and wrong. --Ilene Cooper Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Draper (Forged by Fire; Double Dutch) conveys the seductive power of teen clubs and the dangers of hazing rituals in this timely novel about a talented trumpet player. Jericho is ecstatic when he and his cousin Josh get the coveted invitation to join the Warriors of Distinction, a prestigious organization known for its community service. Both boys enjoy raised status at Frederick Douglass High when word gets out that they've pledged, but becoming a Warrior comes at a high price. During initiation week, Jericho compromises his dignity, his morals and, as the nightly rituals become increasingly intense, even his dreams of attending Juilliard. Other pledges suffer as well. One engages in strenuous physical activity despite his heart condition, and Dana, the only female member of the group, is continually harassed by a sadistic senior Warrior. The novel is not without flaws. Many characters border on stereotypes and much of the plot is fairly predictable, but these problems may be overlooked by audience members who are anxious to find out how extreme Jericho and others can be. As tragedy inevitably strikes, the author drives home an important message about peer pressure. Ages 12-up. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 7-10-When an elite club, The Warriors of Distinction, invites Jericho and his cousin Josh to pledge, the teens look forward to wearing the black silk jacket, going to great parties, and receiving the admiring glances of the other students at their Ohio high school. Even the girl Jericho has a crush on begins to show an interest in him. The initiation process begins rather tamely with the new pledges helping with the Christmas toy drive, but as it progresses, Jericho becomes increasingly uncomfortable with what they are asked to do and the way they treat Dana, the first-ever female pledge. Adopting the group's "All of us or none of us" creed, the 15 inductees decide to continue. In an intense climax, pledging goes tragically wrong and the repercussions are felt throughout the community. Draper has captured the essence of teens caught up in peer pressure who must ultimately live with the results of their actions. Her characters are deeply human and the strong plot mirrors the difficult choices that young people must make as they try to reconcile their need for acceptance with their inner values. Mostly, though, this title is a compelling read that drives home important lessons about making choices.-Janet Hilbun, formerly at Sam Houston Middle School, Garland, TX (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



The Battle of Jericho THE BEGINNING OF THE END: JANUARY 28 THE PLEDGE MASTERS MARCHED THE FIFTEEN pledges to the middle of the soggy yard. The ground was muddy and squished as they walked, and the frigid air whipped across the pledges' wet T-shirts. Sharp needles of rain stung them as they stood there silently waiting for instructions. "Kneel!" Rick Sharp shouted to Jericho. Jericho wanted to disobey, but instead he knelt immediately. Cold mud soaked through his jeans in seconds. "Take off my boot, Pledge Slime!" the six-foot, broad-shouldered senior shouted to Jericho over the noise of the pouring rain. He glanced down at Jericho, who huddled at his feet. Jericho shivered as the rain came down harder and made him sink deeper into the mud of the desolate warehouse yard. His fingers were wet and stiff, but he reached for Sharp's big, black army boot and slowly began to untie the laces. "Hurry up, Pledge Slime!" Sharp shouted. Jericho dejectedly struggled to untie the wet lace of the pledge master's boot, his fingers aching. He wasn't sure what to do when he finished. He had no idea how to get the boot off Rick's foot. He glanced over to see, if he could, the line of the other pledges, also kneeling in the mud at the feet of their pledge masters. But the rain and the darkness made it difficult to see very much. Jericho could barely even see Josh, who was closest to him in the line, but he could hear Mad Madison shouting at him in the darkness. Jericho couldn't see Kofi or Dana at all. "All of us have been where you are tonight," Sharp told Jericho. "A Warrior of Distinction is not afraid to lower himself for his brother. A Warrior of Distinction does not show fear. Are you afraid, Pledge Slime?" "No, sir," Jericho replied. "I'm not afraid." "Then get busy! The rest of your pledge class, slimy and disgusting as they are, seem to be doing fine. Do you want to let them down?" Jericho inhaled slowly. It was all of them or none of them. "Can you lift your foot, Master Senior Sharp, sir?" Jericho asked timidly. As he raised his face to look at Sharp, he gasped as the icy rain stung his eyes. "Did I give you permission to speak, Pledge Slime?" Sharp snarled. Jericho said nothing, but Rick lifted his right foot, using Jericho's head to balance himself. Jericho pulled the boot off with difficulty. He was afraid that he would fall or would make Rick fall as he tugged at the boot. Either would have been disastrous, but he managed to get the boot off smoothly. The stench of Rick Sharp's foot was enough to make Jericho choke. "Now take off the sock," Rick barked. Jericho hesitated and hoped they would be able to go home soon. He slowly peeled off Rick's sock. Rick's foot reeked of sweat. "Place the sock on the ground, then set my foot down on it. Make sure not a speck of mud touches my foot," he commanded. Jericho did as he was told and Rick Sharp removed his hand from Jericho's head as he lowered his foot to the ground. Then he bent down and whispered into Jericho's ear, "You havin' fun yet?" Jericho didn't dare tell the truth--that he had stopped having fun long ago. "You really want to be a Warrior of Distinction?" Rick asked. Jericho nodded. He thought of the prestige of having one of those black silk jackets, the admiring glances in the halls at school, but mostly he thought of Arielle. He tried not to think of the rain and the mud and the stink of Rick's feet. "Are you willing to do anything to be a Warrior of Distinction?" Rick demanded. "You have permission to answer." "Yes, sir! Yes, Master Senior Sharp, sir! I am willing to do anything to be a Warrior of Distinction, sir!" Jericho repeated the words that he and the other pledges had been chanting automatically since the whole process began. But he wasn't sure if he meant them anymore. "Are you willing to do anything to help the others become Warriors of Distinction?" Rick demanded. "Anything, sir." Jericho just wanted it to be over. "Then suck my big toe." "Sir?" Jericho wasn't sure if he had heard correctly. "If you want to be a Warrior of Distinction, you must suck my big toe. Now!" Jericho looked around desperately; he had no idea what the others were being forced to do. As he lowered his head close to the mud and closer to Rick Sharp's foot, Jericho wondered miserably how he could have sunk so low. Excerpted from The Battle of Jericho by Sharon M. Draper All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.