Read to be socially aware

Throughout history, books and novels have remained a constant and efficient method of recording monumental events, and should remain so in present times. With the social climate constantly changing, people tend to become more and more unaware of world events. Providing students and adults alike with first hand accounts of a major historical event, whether the book be fact or fiction, can help them to understand the impact these events had on people’s lives and want to bring change to the world. 

In school, students do not start to learn about more recent history until late into middle school, leaving kids ill informed of the world they live in. Even when we enter high school, history is general and does not include many primary sources or first hand experiences of the major events that took place in modern times. 

Reading about what the social climate was like in the past helps people develop a better understanding of what is going on today. Books written at the time an event was taking place brings much more meaning and allows readers to draw a more emotional connection to the event. People respond more to an emotional connection rather than fact, so providing the empathy between people of different nations allows them to want to act. 

For example, for those not well-informed of the struggles people of color face in America, marginalized groups recommend reading books like “Stamped” by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi or “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas to help them be educated on the ongoing racism that exists in America. Reading these books helped people of all races understand the need for change in America’s justice system, and instill change in protest.

In another context, Afghanistan has endured much torment for over 100 years, but the situation has never been that prevalent until this past month after the evacuation of American troops from the nation and the succeeding Taliban government. Many people had never been as sure as to what was actually occurring in the country and never knew how many Afghans were being tormented by the Taliban. Books like “A Thousand Splendid Suns” and “The Kite Runner,” both written by an Afghan author, Khaled Hosseini, incorporate the emotions, feelings, and struggles innocent civilians had faced due to the brutal rule of the Taliban, helping people around the globe to understand how in need of help these people are. This would allow readers to donate to charities for the Afghan people or lend other aid to help them survive through this crisis, helping to relieve the struggles in the world instead of focusing on their own.

Even the “Who Was” books for younger people can be helpful for children to understand the world they live in, as they provide simple information on key figures from the past and present who have impacted the world. This would better prepare kids in understanding the world climate they are entering, ready to act like the role models they read about in these books.

Books are a powerful method of communication, especially when relating to world crises. People need to continue to turn to the written word to educate themselves and understand the world we live in, in order to continue making the world a better place for the next generation.

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