Responding to its growing popularity, Angie Thomas visits Independence


permission provided from @FISD_Libraries

Promoting her book, On the Come Up, Angie Thomas visited Independence High School on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019. Answering fan questions and talking to book lover Rose Brock who has dedicating her career to getting teens interested in books, Thomas continues to spread the word about her book and its message.

Trisha Dasgupta, Guest Contributor

New York Times best-selling author Angie Thomas paid a visit to Independence high school on Friday to promote her new book, On the Come up.

“In many ways this is a coming of age story for this young black girl,” Thomas said to the audience. “When we say ‘coming up’ so many times we mean growing up and that’s what this story is in many ways.”

Thomas addresses many topics in her book, detailing her main character’s accounts of racism and misogyny in the rapping industry and society as a whole. Thomas believes that by publishing more stories from authors of different backgrounds, the young adult genre can help shine a light on real world issues that kids deal with.

“There were more books featuring animals and cars as main characters last year than there were stories with black kids, and Asian kids, and Latino kids,” Thomas said to the crowd. “While we have made a long way with diversity, we have not reached the mountain top yet.”

Thomas’s last book, The Hate You Give, won numerous awards and impacted the lives of many young girls, including seventh grader Rory Monkman-Lou.

“I really related to her last book because I feel like I have so many friends who are in that situation,” Monkman-Lou said. “I can’t wait to meet her because Starr’s story just meant so much to me.”

There were more books featuring animals and cars as main characters last year than there were stories with black kids, and Asian kids, and Latino kids,”

— best-selling author Angie Thomas

However, while The Hate you Give was embraced by many, some school districts across the country removed the book, including the Katy Independent School District west of Houston, which temporarily pulled the book from its library shelves.

“If you have students of color, you need to give them the microphone too,” Thomas said to the crowd. “So many times they are pushed to the sidelines and not heard, and their stories matter just as much as anybody else’s.”

After spending two hours answering fan questions and talking with host Rose Brock, Thomas held a signing to meet and personalize books for fans.

“It was definitely empowering and insightful hearing her talk about these issues,” fan Desiree Natali said. “Representation matters and does make an impact on young people especially in literature where you don’t see a lot of representation for minorities.”