By Domenica Di Piazza, Editorial Director of Twenty-First Century Books
Over the years, TFCB has tackled some extraordinarily tough topics for YA readers. Our Spring 2019 list is no exception, with Fake News and Exposing Hate coming out from Mike Miller, one of the imprint’s newest writers. (Welcome, Mike!) The subject matter is tough because it reflects trends in American life that are frightening and that destabilize our faith in the reliability of powerful leaders and in the media as a check on authority. How can we make sense of these trends, and what can we do as individuals to make a difference for the good?
Americans are finding themselves increasingly challenged to make sense of headline news. Is the information we’re reading and hearing reliable? Has it been fact checked and vetted? Can we trust the people who are reporting and interpreting the information we hear and read about? And how do we know how to assess it? Fake News is a great resource for understanding where the concept of “fake news” comes from in the first place. It is also an excellent guide for clarifying the basic protocols of fact-based, reliable journalism. Knowing the guidelines for reliable news reporting, we can use them to wisely interpret what our leaders and journalists and pundits are telling us. And we can stay alert for identifying false and misleading information and stop it in its tracks.
Hate Crimes on the Rise
Since the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States, the FBI, the Southern Poverty Law Center, local law enforcement agencies, and other jurisdictions are reporting a significant rise in hate crimes across the United States. In Exposing Hate, Miller looks at the history of hate crimes in America and explores why they are on the rise at this point in twenty-first-century history. Who are the primary targets? How and why and where do hate groups form? How does the criminal justice system handle these crimes? While exploring these issues, the book also investigates how people get out of hate groups. It highlights inspirational stories of communities that have said no to hate. It also places a spotlight on former members of hate groups who have gone on to do amazing work to help others leave the groups and to spread the word that in difference lies our strength.
In these two titles, YA readers will find valuable information to help them as critical thinkers. More importantly, the books reinforce the awareness that, even in tough times, many many Americans are standing up to fight for and speak on behalf of what is fair and right. Teens can and are speaking up too.
Michael Miller has started a new This Week in Fake News (TWIFN) blog. It’s at https://twifn.home.blog/, and each week he’ll highlight the most notable news in fake news.