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.