The Hate U Give prompts important discussions on social justice


Starr Carter, played by Amandla Stenberg, raises her voice for her friend Khalil Harris who was shot by a white police officer. This scene is part of the climax of the movie.

Racism. Gangs. Police brutality. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas is a relevant, young adult novel that addresses all of these topics. It recently hit theaters in the United States on Oct., 19 to global success.

English teacher Emilie King assigned The Hate U Give as her students’ young adult novel for the summer.

“I wanted something more contemporary that my kids could relate to,” King said. “The Hate U Give also focuses on current social justice issues that I believe are important to discuss with students their age.”

The protagonist of the novel, Starr Carter, is a girl who lives in a predominantly black neighborhood but goes to a mostly white high school, constantly juggling the two worlds. When she witnesses the shooting of her childhood best friend by a white police officer, the balance she had between these two worlds is destroyed. The political and social climate mixed with entertaining twists makes the novel a compelling read.

“My sophomores are at that age when it’s time for them to start caring about and participating in those issues. I think The Hate U Give is a perfect introduction because they see someone their age who looks like many of them, finding her place in that part of our world,” King said.

As the students read the novel, they also had class discussions about topics that came up in the book.

“We had class discussions a lot over police brutality and racism and how it still affects us today,” Jacie Trejo (10) said.

King’s class also took a class field trip to see the movie. She hopes it will allow them to better visualize the characters and feel how powerful and tense some of the novel’s scenes really are.

“I want my kids to see the immense success of a novel written by a young woman of color,” King said. “I hope watching Angie Thomas’s journey inspires them and gives them confidence in their own success.”

On November 20th, King’s class went to see the movie. The students were inspired and greatly enjoyed the film.

“The movie made it feel more real…it definitely did the book justice,” Trejo said.