Out of continued respect for current events, I’m dedicating this month’s Story Effect episodes to amplifying melanated voices and encouraging discussions about race. This week, I share two fiction and two nonfiction books, some of which I’ve read and others that I’m eager to read. Because I want to direct your attention to these authors, this episode’s show notes consist of a plethora of resources about these stories and interviews from the authors. I sincerely hope you take some time to check them out.

Thank you for taking the time to listen to this episode and support these amazing authors and their stories If you’d like to continue the conversation on how to educate ourselves on race, I’d love to hear from you. Email me at abigailkperry [AT] gmail [DOT] COM.


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Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give

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Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr. 

But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

Purchase The Hate U Give on *Amazon *IndieBound *Barnes and Noble

Angie Thomas on how Tupac inspired her novel

NBC NEWS on The Powerful Message of The Hate U Give

‘The Hate U Give’ Star Says The Novel Was Like ‘Reading My Own Diary’


Robin Diangelo’s White Fragility

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In this “vital, necessary, and beautiful book” (Michael Eric Dyson), antiracist educator Robin DiAngelo deftly illuminates the phenomenon of white fragility and “allows us to understand racism as a practice not restricted to ‘bad people’ (Claudia Rankine). Referring to the defensive moves that white people make when challenged racially, white fragility is characterized by emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and by behaviors including argumentation and silence. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium and prevent any meaningful cross-racial dialogue. In this in-depth exploration, DiAngelo examines how white fragility develops, how it protects racial inequality, and what we can do to engage more constructively.

Purchase White Fragility on *Amazon *IndieBound *Barnes and Noble

NOTE: Although not a black author, Robin Diangelo’s book White Fragility is a wonderful display of how she began to recognize her own unconscious bias–and how all white people can work towards becoming anti-racist by recognizing the same unconscious bias in themselves.

Robin Diangelo on White Fragility


Brit Bennett’s The Vanishing Half

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The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Many years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters’ storylines intersect?

Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Brit Bennett produces a story that is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passingLooking well beyond issues of race, The Vanishing Half considers the lasting influence of the past as it shapes a person’s decisions, desires, and expectations, and explores some of the multiple reasons and realms in which people sometimes feel pulled to live as something other than their origins. 

Purchase The Vanishing Half on *Amazon *IndieBound *Barnes and Noble

Brit Bennett on The Vanishing Half


Ijeoma Oluo’s So You Want to Talk About Race

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In this New York Times bestseller, Ijeoma Oluo offers a hard-hitting but user-friendly examination of race in America.

Widespread reporting on aspects of white supremacy–from police brutality to the mass incarceration of Black Americans–has put a media spotlight on racism in our society. Still, it is a difficult subject to talk about. How do you tell your roommate her jokes are racist? Why did your sister-in-law take umbrage when you asked to touch her hair–and how do you make it right? How do you explain white privilege to your white, privileged friend? 

In So You Want to Talk About Race, Ijeoma Oluo guides readers of all races through subjects ranging from intersectionality and affirmative action to “model minorities” in an attempt to make the seemingly impossible possible: honest conversations about race and racism, and how they infect almost every aspect of American life.

Purchase The Vanishing Half on *Amazon *IndieBound *Barnes and Noble

Ijeoma Oluo: “So You Want to Talk About Race” | Talks at Google