by Jason Reynolds
In this 2020 YA remix of Ibram X. Kendi’s work (2016’s Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America), Jason Reynolds is quick to point out that this isn’t a history book. That said, he does walk us back through time to some of the earliest recorded instances of racist thoughts and systemic oppression. But the story he’s telling isn’t about then; it’s about now. And it’s about how this whole history of racism has shaped where we are now and how we think about ourselves and others. He packs a lot into the 300 pages (about half the length of Kendi’s original work). And while the tone is conversational and aimed at teens, adults will also enjoy and learn from this wonderful book. I listened to the audiobook (read by Reynolds himself) and thought it was great — that is, except for the somewhat jarring musical interludes. This book should be required reading in all high school history classes. But if your high school history classes failed to offer antiracism teachings (and if you don’t have time to read Kendi’s 600 page original), do yourself a favor and check this one out.
See the Jones Library Antiracism Book List for recommended titles for all ages