Review: “Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-Winning ‘Stamped from the Beginning’” by Jason Reynolds, Ibram X. Kendi

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Release Date: March 10, 2020
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre: Non-Fiction, Young Adult

 

Description

“This is NOT a history book.
This is a book about the here and now.
A book to help us better understand why we are where we are.
A book about race.

The construct of race has always been used to gain and keep power, to create dynamics that separate and silence. This remarkable reimagining of Dr. Ibram X. Kendi’s National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning reveals the history of racist ideas in America, and inspires hope for an antiracist future. It takes you on a race journey from then to now, shows you why we feel how we feel, and why the poison of racism lingers. It also proves that while racist ideas have always been easy to fabricate and distribute, they can also be discredited.

Through a gripping, fast-paced, and energizing narrative written by beloved award-winner Jason Reynolds, this book shines a light on the many insidious forms of racist ideas–and on ways readers can identify and stamp out racist thoughts in their daily lives.”

 

My Thoughts

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Throughout the Stamped remix, Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds remind readers that this is not a history book. And for most kids used to the dry, Euro/cishet-centric texts they are assigned in school, that’s a key distinction to make. Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You is a history book in that it tells the history of the United States, but it is also not a history book in that it is primarily concerned with exploring how racism, antiracism, and assimilation informed and in some cases dictated this country’s progress (or lack thereof).

Like the adult version of this book, the Stamped remix focuses the narrative on assimilationist, separationist, and anti-racist historical figures, scaffolding a millennia’s worth of history into a 300 pages, or about 5 hours if you listen to the audiobook. The amount of information packed inside is astounding. I listened to the audiobook at work and had to keep reminding myself not to cheer, scoff, or “amen” out loud and disrupt my coworkers.

I was lucky enough to get an advanced eaudiobook copy of this book through Libro.FM, and I’m so glad I did. The Stamped remix is a tremendous piece of work, both in terms of Ibram X. Kendi’s text and Jason Reynolds’ performance. Every high school 11th grade history teacher should assign this book as part of their curriculum, it’s that revolutionary. Like An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States for Young People by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Debbie Reese, and Jean Mendoza, the Stamped remix is a vital addition.

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