I received this email from a listener of my SiriusXM’s Urban View show: “I was very happy to see the trailer for the movie, The Hate U Give, when I went to the movies over the weekend. I bought the book for my 11-year-old niece last year after hearing about it on your show. She got very much into the characters, crying hysterically when the young man was killed by police. Her teachers had to call my sister to calm her down, thinking a real person was killed. She also was telling her white teachers they don’t understand. I may have exposed her to that too soon. Now I’m thinking of Children of Blood and Bone for her. What do you think?”
My reply: I think both books are great choices for young people from the age of 10 and beyond. The subject matter of Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give is very real, but today’s youth cannot be shielded from the truth. It’s an important conversation. I believe that parents should read this book with their children and have that conversation.
This list is one of my favorites because I wish these books were available when I was coming of age. The only one I read as a youth was Maya Angelou’s I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings and it opened my world.
That’s the power of books. It stretches you. It exposes you. It broadens you. This list, while assembled for the young, is also highly recommended for adults.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
The book follows a teenage girl straddling two worlds—one black, one white. She lives in the hood, but attends a predominately white school and is even dating a white boy. Her two worlds collide when one of her best friends is killed by police in front of her. She is forced to choose between these worlds as her neighborhood erupts and her family is ripped apart. From this book, I learned what Tupac Shakur’s T.H.U.G. L.I.F.E. tattoo really means. (Thomas is a huge Tupac fan and hip-hop music is one of the characters that shapes this book).