The inclusion of two popular young adult books, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely, on the Wando High School summer reading list has been challenged by the local Fraternal Order of Police in Charleston County, South Carolina. The school district is following its formal policies for book review and a recommendation is forthcoming.
Both The Hate U Give and All American Boys have been highly praised for their complex handling of stories centering on the intersections of racism and police violence. The books are two of the eight options on a summer reading list for incoming freshmen, of which students must choose one.
According to local news reports, President of the Fraternal Order of Police Tri-County Lodge #3, John Blackmon, says that these books are “almost an indoctrination of distrust of police and we’ve got to put a stop to that.”
Neither of the challenged novels are strangers to controversy. The Hate U Give was one of the top ten most challenged books of 2017 and has inspired activism from its readers.
NCAC has written to the school district to encourage them to retain the books and offer support in addressing this and any future challenge. Our full letter is below.