Where to begin?
Friends, before I share the Hop Picks for February I feel the need to set a disclaimer. Just so you are aware, I am a white woman of privilege and have never known the struggles that people in the black community face every day.
What I do know is that any form of education can only make me more empathetic. Empathy builds community right? And that, my friends, is so important! I truly believe that even if we think we know something there is ALWAYS more to learn.
By the way shout out to librarian extraordinaire, Courtney Bowen for helping me with my list. Asking a librarian is such a good idea and I loved every one of her recommendations. Below are a few that I enjoyed but I encourage you to head to your library and take a look around. Chances are, your library has an awesome Black History display! Go find it and let's read the hard stuff, read something of historical relevance, read a memoir and learn from the stories we should honor all year long.
Let's start this months Hop Picks with What We Lose by Zinzi Clemmons. Written in short vignettes it chronicles the female protagonist's struggle with sexism, racism, cultural differences (her mother is from South Africa and her father is from the U.S.) and the quiet pain she encounters when her mother is diagnosed with cancer. This book is tragic but Clemmons' voice is honest and strong.
Speaking of strong, Michelle Obama, A Life by Peter Slevin dives into the life of the former first lady. It is a thought provoking read and you will learn a great deal about her courageous journey.
Dear Martin by Nic Stone deserves ALL the attention it is getting. This book is the type of fiction that gives voice to a brutal reality. The protagonist's story centers around the effects of racial profiling and what it means to be a black teenage boy in this country. Through his pain he begins writing a journal to the late Martin Luther King. I love this book, and although it is technically for teens it has a vulnerability that everyone should be introduced to.
Denise Dennis's Black History for Beginners is a great refresher. Pick this book up and spend some time with it. You will learn so much from this collection and I am sure it will spark your desire to learn more.
Octavia Butler's book Kindred is technically classified as science fiction but is so relevant that it will appeal to those who don't read the genre. It is the story of Dana who uncontrollably time travels between her life in California in the 1970s and the life she would have (as a slave) in 1814 Maryland. The toss between the two time periods is terrifying. The graphic novel is adapted by Damian Duffy with incredible artwork by John Jennings. The graphic novel brings gorgeous illustrations to a haunting story. You will read it in a few hours but it will stay with you far after. I downloaded the graphic novel onto my Kindle using my library card and hoopla.com.
The Hate U Give is another trending book that deserves a standing ovation. At this point, I suggest we get rid of the YA genre because Angie Thomas characters are forced to deal with a harsh reality that I can't even imagine. This is a powerful book and should be acknowledged by teens and adults.
Barack Obama's book to his daughters is a sweeping introduction to American icons that have broken through social barriers. Loren Long's illustrations bring of Thee I Sing a colorful intensity that reflects the positive message that you really can do anything!
The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration is a non fiction masterpiece that reads like a novel. I realized while listening to this that I knew very little about this huge piece of history and I was in awe over the amount of courage these families had.
Through incredible research, author Isabel Wilkerson tells the history (beginning in 1915) of brave families who fled the prejudice of the South in hopes of a more welcoming life in the north. Wilkerson describes the struggle that so many families went through, the bravery they had and the devastating details of what happened once they settled.
Finally, I just finished Lose Your Mother: A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route and it is still sitting with me. It is a detailed account of Saidiya Hartman's travels along the slave route in Ghana. She visited parks and historical landmarks, conducted interviews and tried to gain an understanding of what her ancestors endured. What results is a humbling account of how far we still have to go.
I could put thirty more books on this list!
I hope I have inspired you to head to your local library. There is so much left to learn and I encourage you to go, go, go! What will you be reading in the next 28 days? Leave a comment. Let's chat! I would love to hear your thoughts.
Thank for stopping by,
Hop Picks for March 2018: China