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Their Eyes Were Watching God 

by Zora Neale Hurston

It takes Janie a while to discover her own voice in a society that has ignored her as both a woman and an African American. This novel follows her through various relationships and stages of her life that allow her to realize what she values in companionship and what she values in herself. 

I enjoyed this book because it is not like every other coming of age novel. It focuses on Janie's hopefulness and courage and how this leads her to find a solid understanding of herself while overcoming tragedy. It deals with themes such as fear, love, ambition, and femininity.

I would absolutely recommend this book. Though set in the early 1900's, the themes are still completely relevant to today. For this reason, I believe that most people will enjoy reading this novel. 

Juila, 18

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Between the World and Me  

by Ta-nehisi Coates
04/26/2017 Categories: non-fiction older teens racism

Between the World and Me is letter that the author is writing to his 15 year old son. He writes about his life experiences growing up as a black male in America. He argues the dangers of being a young black male and the relationships between violence and race. In this book, Coates wants not just his son to take something from it but he wants society to read it and understand how life is for a black person in America.

I thought this was an amazing book! It talks about how society has viewed black people and how it continues to view them as inferior. The author writes his book to his son but it wasn't meant just for him. I learned a lot about how difficult it is to be black and to be viewed as less than human just because of the color of your skin. It's a powerful book and I really enjoyed it.

I would recommend this book to those "privileged" people who have never experienced racism. Anyone who isn't black should read this book because it really makes you aware of how society has treated people just because of how they look. The book allows people to have an idea of what it must be like to have to live in a body that one can't control. In this case, how to live as a black male in a world where everyone controls what happens to that person.

Sandra, 16

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To Kill a Mockingbird 

by Harper Lee
02/15/2017 Categories: classic deep south racism

To Kill a Mockingbird is a classic American literature book about two white children who have to overcome obstacles and deal with a prejudice society in the South during the 1930s. In this book, both children must learn to understand society when they are exposed to a case where their father, a lawyer, is defending a black man against a white man. During the case, the children learn not to prejudge others when they discover more about their neighbor (and outcast), Boo Radely.

To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my favorites, because you not only get an interesting and mysterious story from a child's perspective, but also a book full of commentary on racism and prejudice

I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a good mystery, and an interesting story about racism in the South. If you like American literature, you will love To Kill a Mockingbird, as Harper Lee does a great job of depicting the South and the issues that are taking place.

Sara, 14

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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn 

by Mark Twain
11/25/2016 Categories: adventure classic historical racism

A young boy named Huck Finn ventures out with his best friend Tom Sawyer. They encounter the world of discrimination and racism during their trip. In this coming of age novel, these two characters experience intellectual growth as well. 

I did really enjoy this novel. It dealt with racism and showed how society was back then. As the characters learned, the reader learned alongside them. 

Yes, I would recommended it. For adolescents, it's good to read a coming of age novel since they can relate to it better. If one enjoys learning about the deep racial issues back then and reading how a young boy reacts and learns from it; this is a novel you would enjoy. 

Johanna, 16

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To Kill a Mockingbird 

by Harper Lee
03/26/2014 Categories: classic court battles deep south racism rape

To Kill a MockinbirdThat one famous line "It's a sin to kill a mockingbird" has captivated millions of readers. In this book, it's the innocent versus the guilty and the notion that the guilty prevails over the innocent in some cases. A black man is accused of raping a white woman while really, he is innocent. But with the times being what they are, he has no chance of being tried at a fair trial. Narrated by a young girl who experiences all of life's twists and turns, this book will keep you turning pages until the last word is read.

It was a really good book that made me really think about how life worked. It captivated me with its world of innocent vs. guilty and wrong vs. right.

I would recommend this book to everybody. It is one of those books that make you really think about the unfairness of life while touching your heart at the same time.

Hieu, 14

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To Kill a Mockingbird 

by Harper Lee

To Kill a MockingbirdThe book is about the Finch family taking on a court case. Supposedly a black man raped a white woman and it caused a big stir because some people believed he was innocent.

I liked it because it was in a way fighting racism. Back in the 30's a white man's word was always right over a black man's word but Atticus did not care and still took on the case.

I would recommend it to others who like sort of old timely books. I would also recommend it to people who like books on fighting racism.

Sabrina, 14

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To Kill a Mockingbird 

by Harper Lee

To Kill a MockingbirdTo Kill a Mockingbird is set during the Great Depression and also revolves around racism in the South. Scout Finch is the narrator and the main character who grows up in the segregated South. Her brother, Jem, their friend, Dill, and she are all intrigued by story of Boo Radley, a young man who has been prisoner in his house for multiple years. When their father, a lawyer, takes on a court case defending a black man accused of raping a white woman, their world changes.  

The book follows their lives and proves the theme that you can't judge a person unless you have been in their shoes. I thought the book was interesting in the way of how segregated the community was. It was a good story with an underlying theme and multiple conflicts. Overall, Harper Lee did a fantastic job of portraying the South.

I would recommend it because it has a good message of not judging a person until you have experienced what they have been through. People of all ages would enjoy this novel.

Chanel, 14

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Invisible Man 

by Ralph Ellison
02/19/2013 Categories: african americans classic racism

Invisible manThis book was an extremely confusing narrative about a black man's life during a time when blacks were still struggling against racism. He is more educated than most black men but is thrown out of his school and forced to go North for a job, where he gets caught up in an organization. He thinks a lot about what he does and is a very powerful speaker. However, he decides that he is truly invisible.

I suppose I moderately liked the book, however, it was hard to grasp at times. Nonetheless, it did get me thinking about the deep concepts it was trying to convey. The only reason I would recommended this book is because it is a famous piece of literature that appears frequently on the AP exam. I would expect that people who like to think deeply about society would like it.

Jordan, 1ing7

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The Help 

by Kathryn Stockett

The Help coverThe Help is about two black women who are maids in the 1960's and a young white lady who wants to create a book about the lives of the maids in Jackson, Mississippi. There is still segregation in town but it doesn't stop these women from writing their book in secret. These three women's destinies change with the work of a book that tells about the hard work of the black maids in white homes.

I personally loved the book because it tells you the points of view of the black maids and the young lady who was taken care of as a child by a black maid. It made me cry in the end which was very moving. It shows how racism was in the 1960's and how brutally those maids were treated.

This book has a little of everything. There is humor, romance, drama, history, and mystery. I really enjoyed The Help by Katheryn Stockett, and I hope you will too.

Carina, 14

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