"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

If you are a reader of my blog you will remember that this past February I decided to celebrate Black History Month in my library not by highlighting the accomplishments of African-Americans throughout history, but by highlighting books written by African-Americans. I was shocked first at how few titles I had in my library written by African-Americans authors and how few of these authors I was familiar with. I did an exhaustive search online and was shocked to learn that the problem was not unique to my library. In fact after reading this article from the NYT I learned that while children's book with African-American characters is up over the last decade, the number of African-American authors is roughly the same as ten years ago. No wonder miscommunication and racial bias continue to plague our nation. Children of color have few characters in literature they can relate to and white children have no/few examples to help them appreciate and accept cultural and racial differences. That is until this year when finally, it seems, the literary world is waking up and publishing books for young adults written by African-American authors on topics in tune to what is what is happening in our culture today.

Angie Thomas, the author of The Hate U Give, started her book when she was in college in response to the news about an unarmed black boy being killed in Oakland. This book, about a black girl who witnesses the killing of her unarmed friend at the hands of a cop, is discouragingly all too familiar to us today. And it is about time that the literary world publish a fiction book which explores what it is like to live in fear of the police in a country which espouses but doesn't practice the motto "with liberty and justice for all."
“The Hate U Give” takes place in a neighborhood modeled on the community Ms. Thomas grew up in, where drugs and gang violence were inescapable but people looked out for one another. Starr shares many of the author’s traits — she loves basketball and Tupac, and shuttles between two worlds: her affluent, mostly white private school and her impoverished neighborhood (NYT).
As I read the book I had several ah-ha moments. It is so easy to sit on one side and judge the other side. But not until you walk across the divide can one truly appreciate what another person has to go through to survive and thrive in their world. A colleague who has two biracial children read The Hate U Give at my urging and she said this book is very important and speaks to many of the issues she has had to confront with her children. I book-talk the book by simply saying it is based on the theme of "black lives matter'" and my readers snap it up.

If you have ever wondered why some blacks are angry and sometimes take their anger out to the streets of their communities, you need to read The Hate U Give.

If you have never had to explain the "rules" to your children of what to do if they are pulled over by the police, you need to read The Hate U Give.

If you have ever wondered why people of color name their children such "weird" names, not sensible names like yours, you need to read The Hate U Give.

If you have thought to yourself that black kids are more likely to commit crimes so they deserve to be pulled over more often by the police, you need to read The Hate U Give.

If you truly want to help make our world a better place for everyone, you need to read The Hate U Give.

I will be shocked if The Hate U Give doesn't clean up when all the book awards are given out at the end of the year. In fact I will be surprised if it doesn't win them all: The National Book Award, The Printz Award, The Coretta Scott King Award, the Boston-Globe/Horn Book Award, The Morris Award, and The Walden Award. For that reason alone, you need to read The Hate U Give.






6 comments:

  1. We think we've come so far, but the reality is very different, isn't it? (as evidenced by what's been going on in our country lately)It seems worse and not better, sadly.

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    1. Yes, I agree, but with more fiction like The Hate U Give perhaps more Americans will finally come to understand the inequality which is at the heart of the problem.

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  2. I am so glad you loved this book, too. I think it is important and so well done!

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  3. Excellent review, Anne. I'm waiting on my hold on the audiobook arrives at my library for me.

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  4. Looking this up to buy right now. Thank you for highlighting it.

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  5. Excellent review, Anne - I was also very moved by this novel and found it very eye-opening for all the reasons you mention and more. I listened to it on audio, and it was like Starr was telling me her story - her family felt so real to me.

    You are right - this is SUCH an important book for everyone to read. And I do hope it cleans up with awards!

    Sue

    Book By Book

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