“This is NOT a history book.
This is a book about the here and now.
A book to help us better understand why we are where we are.
A book about race.”
In this non-fiction text of enormous importance, Jason Reynolds lends his voice to the reimagining of Dr. Ibram X. Kendi’s original title, Stamped from the Beginning. The timeline of this book begins in 1415 with, “The Story of the World’s First Racist,” and moves throughout history, including the very inception of the United States, and how it was effected by racism. This story also sheds light on historical figures, and shows how racism, fueled by greed, lead to slavery as a formal and powerful institution in the United States. It then continues into the not so recent past, and discusses how the poison of racism was so deeply engrained into the fabric of society, and still is today. As difficult of a picture that is painted, this book also provides guidance and terminology on how to identify racism within yourself, and those around you.
While the original text is a masterpiece in its own right, this remixed version is more accessible for those looking for a less academic and more storied version of historical events. Reynolds’ voice is perfectly balanced between clarity and lyricism, allowing for full understanding and absorption of the material. This book forces the reader to come face to face with deeply engrained lies told about some very well-known and widely studied historical figures. Thus, although the tone of this book is intense, you will become uncomfortable in the best way, the kind of discomfort that comes with personal reflection and growth. This isn’t a book that should be read quickly, each chapter should be read with care. If there is one book you read this year, make it this one.
Every month the SCCLD Teen Librarians choose one book as a great read from the library's Teen collection. This is the list of the latest picks of the month.