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Jim's March 2020 pick, 2 of 3
The authors contend that this is not a history book, but this "not a history book" sure as heckfire contains a lot of history. In fact, this is a history book with attitude. The authors look at where racism came from in our country of all-men-being-created-equal fame. In case you have missed the headlines, that's a lie and always has been. Reynolds and Kendi point it out in detail.
I would categorize Stamped as a hip-hop history book, with regular reflections offered by the authors about the facts they lay down. I was often reminded of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee as I read. Reynolds and Kendi explain racism from a Black person's perspective, much like Wounded Knee is American history from a Native American viewpoint. The victors don't get to write this version of how it went down.
This is a highly engaging history/not history book, and although it is written for young adults, older folks will like it as well. A fast, fascinating look at how America came to be comfortable with its racism while at the same time professing to be post-racist. I mean, we've had a Black President, haven't we? Yeah, right!
“This is a book about big ideas. Ideas that, in the past, have only been laid out and talked about by adults. Now, Jason Reynolds has taken those ideas and traced them clearly through history so they can be presented and understood by a younger audience. Today, everyone grows up in a world affected by racism, so everyone should be able to understand its origins and the ways it creeps into the world. In Stamped, Reynolds speaks directly to young readers to give them the tools to understand the many forms racism can take, how they came to be, and how to deal with them.”
— Bryce Lucas, 57th Street Books, Chicago, IL
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