High School Book Club Starts The Year Off with The Hate U Give


The Book Club met recently in the library.

Alexandra Lajo Leonardi, Staff Member

We often see it on the news; another innocent black life lost at the hands of what is often a white policeman. We tend to choose whose side we are on quite quickly, based on who we are, and what we see on tv. The book The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, highlights the Black Lives Matter movement and police brutality. The book was made into a movie, currently in theaters, and has gotten a lot of positive attention. The book has also been chosen as the first selection this year for the Weedsport High School Book Club.

The trailer for the film shows the main character Starr, who is a young black girl having to grow up between two worlds: her mostly all black neighborhood where she lives, and her mostly white prep school where she does her studies. Starr has a best friend named Khalil, who is a young black teenager. Khalil is easy going and optimistic he sees a brighter future for him and Starr. Unfortunately, things take a bad turn when they were riding in his car one night and they get pulled over by the police. Khalil, who is unarmed is asked to get out of his car. He does so but moves to talk to Starr through the window and is then fatally shot by a white policeman. When the black community hears about this they get angry and start to protest against police brutality. Which pushes Starr to join the movement and opens her eyes to the brutal realities of the world.

The movie shines a light on heavy topics, that are major problems in today’s society such as police brutality, racism, gun violence, grief, trauma, and political activism. Many people have very different opinions about these topics.

This is the first book that the high school book club members are reading. At the first meeting of the Book Club, Mrs. Speer explained the difficult subject of police brutality and the difference between bias and racism. The club discussed in depth the difference, and how policemen may not be racist but could be biased, which could cause them to act differently or in a certain manner. The club watched a few videos on this difference and read articles that were written by students that witnessed or experienced racism first hand.

Mrs. Speer said that she selects the books for the high school book club based on whether they are developed into a movie, and the ones that she has read that are good. She read The Hate U Give and loved it, she especially that it addressed the very timely issues of racism, gun violence, and police brutality. Mrs. Speer said, “It’s something that we are all hearing about and seeing on the news, and it’s a pressing issue that we need to talk about more.”

She continued by stating it is a difficult topic to address, even as a country because it makes many “people uncomfortable especially because there’s no clear solution”. People tend to choose sides quickly and we should not do that. Instead, we should talk about it not just one sided but look at it from both sides.

Mrs. Speer continued by saying that we should try to understand that there is a place in between and not be so quick to say, “I support police or I support black lives matter movement.” Mrs. Speer finished by saying that she thought this book was “even more important to talk about it here in Weedsport, because most of our students don’t encounter anything like this every day, so I’m hoping that these discussions open some eyes to just be thinking about it more and paying attention to it more and to be more aware that we are not living in this time where there is no racism where there is no issue or difficulty if your not white. I just want students to be more aware.”

The high school book club is planning on attending the movie, The Hate U Give on Sunday, Oct. 28 at the Track Cinema. The next book for the book club is Every Day by David Levithan. Any students in grades 9-12 are encouraged to join the book club at any point during the year. Even if you missed out on the first book, you are welcome to join at any time.