I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness

I'm Still Here by Austin Channing Brown
I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Published: May 15th, 2018
Publisher: Convergent Books
Recommended Age: 14+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Adult, Memoir, Nonfiction, Race, Social Justice, Discrimination, Religion


BLURB:

Austin Channing Brown’s first encounter with a racialized America came at age 7, when she discovered her parents named her Austin to deceive future employers into thinking she was a white man. Growing up in majority-white schools, organizations, and churches, Austin writes, “I had to learn what it means to love blackness,” a journey that led to a lifetime spent navigating America’s racial divide as a writer, speaker and expert who helps organizations practice genuine inclusion. In a time when nearly all institutions (schools, churches, universities, businesses) claim to value “diversity” in their mission statements, I’m Still Here is a powerful account of how and why our actions so often fall short of our words. Austin writes in breathtaking detail about her journey to self-worth and the pitfalls that kill our attempts at racial justice, in stories that bear witness to the complexity of America’s social fabric–from Black Cleveland neighborhoods to private schools in the middle-class suburbs, from prison walls to the boardrooms at majority-white organizations. Continue reading

We’re Going to Need More Wine – Gabrielle Union

34884359We’re Going to Need More Wine by Gabrielle Union

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Borrowed
Published: October 2017
Publisher: Day Street Books
Recommended Age: 14+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Memoir, Essays, Race, Growing Up, Abuse, Celebrity Life, Beauty Standards,  Relationships


BLURB:

In this moving collection of thought provoking essays infused with her unique wisdom and deep humor, Union uses that same fearlessness to tell astonishingly personal and true stories about power, color, gender, feminism, and fame. Union tackles a range of experiences, including bullying, beauty standards, and competition between women in Hollywood, growing up in white California suburbia and then spending summers with her black relatives in Nebraska, coping with crushes, puberty, and the divorce of her parents. Genuine and perceptive, Union bravely lays herself bare, uncovering a complex and courageous life of self-doubt and self-discovery with incredible poise and brutal honesty. Throughout, she compels us to be ethical and empathetic, and reminds us of the importance of confidence, self-awareness, and the power of sharing truth, laughter, and support. Continue reading

Piecing Me Together – Renée Watson

25566675Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Borrowed
First Published: February 14th, 2017
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Recommended Age: 12+
Pacing: Slow
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Art, High School, Race, Friendship, Coming of Age


BLURB:

Jade believes she must get out of her neighborhood if she’s ever going to succeed. Her mother says she has to take every opportunity. She has. She accepted a scholarship to a mostly-white private school and even Saturday morning test prep opportunities. But some opportunities feel more demeaning than helpful. Like an invitation to join Women to Women, a mentorship program for “at-risk” girls. Except really, it’s for black girls. From “bad” neighborhoods. But Jade doesn’t need support. And just because her mentor is black doesn’t mean she understands Jade. And maybe there are some things Jade could show these successful women about the real world and finding ways to make a real difference. Continue reading

The Hate U Give Review

32075671The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Edelweiss
Publication Date: February 28th, 2017
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 14+
Pacing: Slow
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Social Issues, Race

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BLURB:

Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl’s struggle for justice. Movie rights have been sold to Fox, with Amandla Stenberg (The Hunger Games) to star. Continue reading