Check out YA author, Jason Reynold’s interview on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah from January 23, 2018. Jason Reynolds is one of the best young adult authors currently writing powerful and award winning novels. His comments about expanding (and reimagining) the literature canon and the importance of literacy to change the world are key.
Listening to The Yarn Podcast, by Travis Jonker and Colby Sharp on Apple Podcasts, listeners dive into young adult author’s adventures writing the books they do. Angie Thomas, author of one of the most powerful books of 2017, The Hate U Give, describes in episode #56 the extensive research she conducted and how current events, specifically The Black Lives Matter movement helped her to write, understand her frustrations and anger, but also convey hope, community and love. Thomas states, “empathy is more important than sympathy.”
I recently read, The 57 Bus, a nonfiction young adult book by Dashka Slater. This is based on the true events that happened on bus 57 in Oakland, California when an agender teenager, Sasha was set on fire by a sixteen year old African American young man, Richard in 2013. The YA book details the teens, their families, friends, and schools involved before and in the aftermath. The book takes a close up look of gender identity and the juvenile justice system in America. Author, Slater first wrote about this event for The New York Times Magazine in 2015 and now digs deeper into the events. From the adolescent brain to restorative justice, Slater tries to address all angles in this story to do exactly what Thomas stated in her podcast, to build empathy and expand our understanding of who we label as “others.”
After reading The 57 Bus, I was listening to Tim Ferriss interview Catherine Hoke. Catherine Hoke (@catherine_hoke) is the founder of the non-profit Defy Ventures. Defy’s vision is to end mass incarceration by using entrepreneurship as a tool to transform legacies and human potential. In the interview Hoke talks about looking at people, not their past actions and mistakes. She believes people can be rehabilitated. Cat is the author of the new book, A Second Chance: For You, For Me, and For the Rest of Us,
In the case of all of these texts that I share, it is not about people per say, but community. Building community and supporting everyone and making a difference.