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'The Hate U Give' grapples with themes of identity, racism and police violence through the eyes of a Black teenager

The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas, follows Starr Carter, a 16-year-old who witnesses the killing of her childhood friend by a police officer during a traffic stop. The book follows the fallout of Khalil’s death as Starr — the 'witness' — straddles living in Garden Heights, a predominantly Black neighborhood, and attending a private school in the suburbs where she is one of the only Black students.

Three expert readers join Talk of Iowa host Charity Nebbe to share their thoughts and discuss how the characters in the novel connect to their own lived-experiences. Guests also share how the 2017 novel impacted them after the 2020 murder of George Floyd and the resulting protests.


  • Caleb Rainey, poet, spoken word artist
  • Sheritta Stokes, teacher in the Waterloo Community School District, co-founder and curriculum director for the 1619 Freedom School
  • Jayne Abraham, student journalist, Pleasant Valley High School graduate
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa
Caitlin Troutman is a talk show producer at Iowa Public Radio