The Hate U Give follows Starr, an African-American teen who witnesses the death of her unarmed friend at the hands of law enforcement. The book focuses on how Starr deals with the tragedy, what it means for her community, her school and for her family.
About 160 La Follette students attended the event. Senior Sharita Holden performed her original, spoken-word poem, “Melanin Monroe.” Holden said she felt her poem and Thomas’ book tied together nicely. “It’s the idea that you’re more than what you might be perceived by society,” she said. Holden described Thomas as a “sweet, cool, inspiring person.” Another senior, Eden Parisi, attended the event because she liked the book and wanted to meet Thomas. Parisi read The Hate U Give as part of a social justice unit in her English class.
Thomas’s book opened at number one on the New York Times young adult, bestseller list. It’s currently in development as a movie. Thomas told students that artist Common will appear in the film version.
La Follette’s English department chair Keri Hornung, along with Mari Morgan from Reading Group Choices, organized Thomas’ visit. Thanks to Reading Group Choices and a grant from La Follette’s Student Support Foundations, more than a hundred students received their own copy of The Hate U Give.
A big thanks to April Van Buren, Library Media Technology Specialist at La Follette High School, for submitting this story.