I’ve been trying to read books that I think might help kids (and adults) better navigate the world. I believe that if children read (and hear) the right books, they will be more able to handle difficulty, more able to understand multiple perspectives, and more able to move through the world with greater optimism and kindness, and less fear. I’ve actually been wondering if any of the people who have committed these horrible acts were readers.
The book I’m reading now is The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. This book was recommended to me by two colleagues and friends who I trust with book recommendations. This book has changed me.
After the shooting in Parkland, Florida, I was angry and desperate to do SOMETHING to stop these kinds of tragedies. I’ve had enough! That’s what actually got me started with this booklist and reading plan. I know the school shootings are horrific. I also know, from listening to the news and reading the newspaper, that gun violence is all over and that children, many children, are being killed every single day. There are drive-by shootings, gang related shootings, police shootings, and domestic shootings. As I’m reading The Hate U Give, I’m forcing myself to walk side-by-side with Star (the main character) as she lives this reality. I’m with her as she navigates what I can’t begin to imagine navigating as a child (or parent). I’m feeling what she feels. I’m sitting right next to her as she has conversations with her friends, her family, the police, and the community. I’m getting a glimpse into a completely different reality from my own, and I’m being changed by it. I’m beginning to understand more than I did before reading this book. I’m beginning to be able to join a conversation I couldn’t have joined before.
Isn’t this why we read?