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A reading list of great African American literature from an Iowa teacher

Talk of Iowa, hosted by Charity Nebbe

This is an encore edition of Talk of Iowa. Find the full, original episode here.

Books can be mirrors and windows: it’s a powerful experience when you see your identity reflected in a work of literature and a powerful experience when you can learn about the lives of people who are different than you. On this episode of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe and Iowa City West high school teacher Amari Nasafi provide a reading list full of African American Literature.

Later in the podcast, Gale Brubaker, executive director of the West Des Moines Historical Society, tells the story of The Jordan House in West Des Moines. The home was once a stop on the Underground Railroad — a place where freedom seekers could find shelter, safety and assistance as they fled slavery.


  • Amari Nasafi, teacher, Iowa City West
  • Gale Brubaker, executive director of the West Des Moines Historical Society

Books mentioned in this episode:

  • Stamped by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds
  • Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America edited by Ibi Zoboi
  • The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
  • The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
  • Losing My Cool: Love, Literature, and a Black Man's Escape from the Crowd by Thomas Chatterton Williams
  • Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa
Matthew was a producer for IPR's River to River and Talk of Iowa
Katherine Perkins is IPR's Program Director for News and Talk