When They Call You a Terrorist: A Story of Black Lives Matter and the Power To Change the World

St. Martin’s/Wednesday Bks. Sept. 2020. 272p. adapted by adapt. by Benee Knauer. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250194985.
Gr 7 Up–In this title that is part memoir, part call to action, Black Lives Matter (BLM) cofounder Khan-Cullors describes growing up as a young Black girl in a multiracial community in Van Nuys, CA; her personal experiences with police; untreated mental illness in her own family; and the impact of white supremacy. The text is broken into two parts. The first seven chapters chronicle Khan-Cullors’s family story and her childhood. The last seven chapters focus on the civil rights movement; she chronicles her brother Monte’s experiences with police and prison brutality and the lack of access to mental health treatment resources. Each chapter features quotes from well-known authors, activists, and politicians as well as photos and reader questions. This book is more than the origin story of BLM and more than Khan-Cullors’s revolutionary journey. She creates space for difficult thoughts and conversations to begin. The reader questions and recommended reading and viewing could serve as guideposts for teachers, students, caregivers, and parents.
VERDICT An essential purchase for all high school libraries. Students will learn about BLM’s beginnings and empathize with the pilgrimage of one individual discovering her true self.

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