On September 2, Angie Thomas’ novel The Hate U Give celebrated its 77th week on the New York Times bestseller list. The book follows 16-year-old Starr Carter, who splits her time between her poor, black neighborhood and majority white prep school. Both worlds are rocked when she sees a police officer shoot her friend Khalil. The movie adaptation of this powerful novel debuts this month, giving teens another frame for thinking about police violence. While waiting for the film, check out these books, which also feature teens and their communities responding to anti-black violence and racism.
The Day Tajon Got Shot was written by 10 teen girls exploring how communities respond when a black boy is shot by a police officer. Each teen wrote from the perspective of a different character—Tajon, his parents, the police officer and others—affected by police violence.
When Tyler Johnson Was Here opens, twin brothers Marvin and Tyler have already experienced their share of racialized violence. While at a house party that's raided by police, Tyler goes missing. The officers claim Tyler was killed in a gang-related incident, but a video surfaces revealing he was shot by police.
While shopping with his friend Danetta, Alfonso is shot by a police officer who claims the hanger Alfonso was holding looked like a gun. In death, Alfonso travels on an endless train carrying others killed by police. I Am Alfonso Jones allows Alfonso to learn their stories, and see his parents, Danetta and their community work through their rage and grief.
Anthony “Ant” Jones has lived in East Cleveland all his life, but after witnessing a friend’s death, he accepts a scholarship to a mostly white prep school in Maine. Black Boy/white School follows Ant as he struggles with his classmates’ racially charged assumptions.
What will you read while waiting for the movie to drop?