Natasha Reads

Natasha Reads

Welcome to the Club

As a very avid reader I’ve decided to begin sharing what I read on the blog. This year I’ve been reading a lot of nonfiction books and tons of young adult literature. I set a reading goal for myself this year and am working to read even more- especially books just for pleasure. The book I’m recommending today is considered young adult literature but I believe with my whole heart that all books are for everyone. 

The Hate U Give

The Hate U Give is beautifully written by Angie Thomas. I originally picked it up because it had shown up so many times on teacher friends’ Instagrams. Starr Carter is 16 years old and lives in two different worlds. She lives in a poor black neighborhood named Garden Heights and she attends a fancy prep school in the suburbs that reminded me of my own high school. Starr straddles these two different worlds by creating two almost different identities for herself. Things change suddenly when she attends a party in Garden Heights. As a fight breaks out she leaves with her childhood best friend Khalil. On the way home they get pulled over by the police, Khalil has to get out of the car and is ultimately shot and killed by a police officer. As this story hits the national news her best friend is described as a drug dealer and thug. The Khalil that Starr knows is not the Khalil that the media is portraying. She begins a journey of activism, to tell the truth of what happened that night and to paint the picture of the real Khalil. Starr’s voice in the book is one of confusion, devastation, and anger as she works through what happened that fateful evening. This gives the reader a sense of the true complexity of these tragic events. 

This story is one that should sound all too familiar to you. We see so many innocent black kids being murdered in the news almost every day. This story provides a fictional narrative to address a large and growing issue in the States. If Black Lives Matter makes you uncomfortable or if you respond with “all lives matter” then this book is a must-read for you. If you’re already supportive of the Black Lives Matter movement this will give you more of an insight into the structural and systemic racism that is happening today. This book is becoming a must read in many classrooms across America and is similarly getting banned in many classrooms that aren’t ready to discuss the racial issues happening in the US. As a teacher I want literature to be both a window and a mirror for readers. If your community has been affected by police brutality this provides a mirror into situations occurring in your community. If you’ve just seen police brutality stories in the news each night this will provide you with an essential window into what communities go through when police shoot innocent kids. It is a must read for all readers. 

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