by Angie Thomas
This 2017 YA debut from author Angie Thomas depicts a sixteen year old, Starr Carter, dealing with the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend by the police. Starr has to navigate what it means to tell the truth about the incident while moving between two worlds: her fancy suburban prep school and the poor black neighborhood where she lives. "The Hate U Give" was on the New York Times best-seller list for 80 weeks and was quickly turned into a feature film, reflecting the country's eagerness for discourse on police violence against black people. It won the prestigious Printz Award for excellence in Young Adult literature. And it won the esteemed Coretta Scott King award which recognizes "outstanding books for young adults and children by African American authors and illustrators that reflect the African American experience."
Despite its popularity and acclaim, this book keeps showing up (2017, 2018, 2020, and 2021) on the American Library Association lists as one of the ten most-challenged books "because it was considered 'pervasively vulgar,'" contained "drug use, profanity, and offensive language," as well as sexual references, and "was thought to promote an anti-police message." In the past year there have been increasing challenges at school and public libraries fighting access to books, especially those aimed at young people that include representations of queerness and critical race theory. To show our support for intellectual freedom and the libraries across the country who are dealing with these unfortunate challenges, the Jones Library is kicking off this year's Banned Books Week with a public reading event celebrating the freedom to read. Come join us on the Jones Library lawn on Saturday, September 17 from 3 - 4:30 pm as community members read excerpts from some of their favorite banned books.
Learn more about the Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2021.
See the Jones Library Antiracism Book List for recommended titles for all ages.