, 12 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
I just got an email from a Catholic school librarian who told me she purchased BREAKOUT but won’t put it in the library because she doesn’t like the way it discusses bias in the criminal justice system. I have some thoughts on this…
Here’s the deal… There are some racist characters in BREAKOUT. Some of them are police officers. There are also characters working hard to fight racism and build community. Some of them are police officers, too.
There are also white characters in BREAKOUT who WANT to be helpful - but they say racist things because of ignorance. (Spoiler: This happens in the real world, too.)
All of this makes for a novel that can be uncomfortable for white people to read at times. The main character, Nora, is uncomfortable a lot. And that’s kind of the point. Learning can be uncomfortable.
The librarian wrote, “There is a strong bias against police, suggesting that all white police are prejudiced against black citizens. This is simply not true and is a terrible way to influence our young readers against those brave men and women..."
She went on to say that as a children’s author, I have "the power to positively influence children, change their attitudes toward the good, & promote open-minded thinking.” Somehow, that means that police officers must never be questioned or criticized – not even fictional ones.
Characters in BREAKOUT have wildly different perspectives when it comes to their interactions with police – just like people in the real world. That’s something I took extra care with when I was writing. Some of my early readers were people who have worked in law enforcement.
Educators like @guerrette79 have shared with me some of the thoughtful conversations their students have had as they read BREAKOUT. That's what I was hoping for when I wrote it. Real talk that helps kids grow and learn and think for themselves.
But those sorts of thoughtful discussions can't happen if kids don't have access to books. The kids are capable of having these conversations and grappling with tough issues. They're problem solvers. And we should trust them.
I'm grateful that BREAKOUT has started some of those conversations. But writers of color have been doing this work for a long, long time – and their books don’t always make it onto library shelves either.
Schools and libraries NEED to be carrying books like GHOST BOYS by @jewell_p_rhodes, PIECING ME TOGETHER by @reneewauthor, THE HATE U GIVE by @angiecthomas, and so many more.
As someone who grew up in a small town & as a former middle school teacher, I truly believe that the best way to fight racism & ignorance is through sharing stories with kids. Let’s get the books out there, friends. Because we can’t fix problems we’re not willing to talk about.
Missing some Tweet in this thread?
You can try to force a refresh.

Like this thread? Get email updates or save it to PDF!

Subscribe to Kate Messner
Profile picture

Get real-time email alerts when new unrolls are available from this author!

This content may be removed anytime!

Twitter may remove this content at anytime, convert it as a PDF, save and print for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video

1) Follow Thread Reader App on Twitter so you can easily mention us!

2) Go to a Twitter thread (series of Tweets by the same owner) and mention us with a keyword "unroll" @threadreaderapp unroll

You can practice here first or read more on our help page!

Follow Us on Twitter!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just three indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3.00/month or $30.00/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!