Worried your teen may enjoy his summer? Afraid she’s insufficiently steeped in victimology and identity politics? Relax, The Washington Post has you covered! Just head to Amazon and order up Karen MacPherson’s “five standout choices” for teen summer reading.
MacPherson is “the children’s and teen services coordinator for the library” in the sanctuary city of the People’s Republic of Takoma Park, Maryland, so you know her choices have got to be page-turners.
Why not get Junior’s summer off to a rollicking start with “Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You,” by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi? MacPherson assures parents that it “will deeply resonate with teens who will find lots to think about and discuss.” Indeed, in the coming months, no Xbox party will be complete without a disquisition on the “history of racist ideas in America.”
Kids love their superheroes, and no hero is ever as super as when he’s fighting rednecks. “Superman Smashes the Klan,” written by Gene Luen Yang and illustrated by Gurihiru. MacPherson says this graphic novel is “startlingly relevant to today’s teens,” because, um, cross burnings are epidemic in 2020? Anyway, your kids will thrill to “Superman’s efforts to rout the racists of Metropolis as he tries to come to grips with his own background as an outsider.”
“Almost American Girl,” written and illustrated by Robin Ha, is a thrill-a-minute illustrated memoir about a Korean girl whose “divorced mother suddenly uproot[s] them to Huntsville, Ala., so she could marry a Korean American man. Devastated by the move, Ha has to find her own way with little English and amid challenges with her stepfamily.” Alabama? The horror.
“Clap When You Land,” by Elizabeth Acevedo is “the story of two teen sisters who have no idea the other exists until their father dies and his secret — having two families, one in New York, the other in the Dominican Republic — is exposed.” Predictably, the girls “have much in common, despite their very different homes and upbringing.” Best of all, it’s written in novel-in-verse style. Try to keep little Billy away from this one!
Finally, cap off the summer fun by revisiting the 1970 Kent State massacre! “Kent State,” by Deborah Wiles is “well-researched and riveting,” and MacPherson is sure it will “speak to teens today who are working for social justice.”
And luckily, if your teens see themselves as “working for social justice,” they probably have plenty of free time for reading.