In honor of Gun Violence Awareness Month and Wear Orange, Brady's podcast "Red, Blue, and Brady" has curated a list of books, both fiction and nonfiction, that explore various perspectives on gun violence in the United States. Inspired by Hadiya Pendleton's passion for reading, these books provide valuable insights into the multi-faceted issue of gun violence.
Wear Orange began in honor of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton, who was tragically shot and killed in Chicago, IL. The movement aims to honor the lives of gun violence victims, raise awareness about the issue, and advocate for actions to prevent future tragedies.
READ ORANGE: FICTION
An American Summer: Love and Death in Chicago
A moving account of the devastating impact of gun violence on the lives of young people in Chicago. Through the stories of individuals affected by gun violence, Kotlowitz sheds light on the complex web of factors that contribute to this ongoing tragedy. He explores issues such as poverty, racism, trauma, and the failure of the criminal justice system, while offering a nuanced and compassionate portrayal of the lives of those caught in the cycle of violence.
This novel tells the story of a young girl named Pearl who grows up living with her mom Margot in their '94 Mercury parked next to a trailer park in central Florida. Margot is deeply attached to her gun, a gift from Pearl's absent father. As Pearl grows up, she becomes increasingly aware of the danger that guns pose, especially when a group of men move into the trailer park and begin to exert a dangerous influence.
How It Went Down
This young adult novel explores the aftermath of a shooting of a Black teenager, Tariq Johnson, by a white man in a fictional urban community. The novel tells the story of Tariq's death from the perspectives of various characters, including witnesses, family members, and people involved in the investigation. The book raises important questions about the nature of truth and how people's perceptions of events can be shaped by their own biases and experiences. It also touches on issues of racism, police violence, and the impact of gun violence on communities.
Long Way Down
This well-regarded graphic novel written in lyrical verse tells the story of a 15-year-old boy named Will who sets out to avenge his brother's murder by seeking out the person he believes is responsible. The story takes place in the span of a single elevator ride, during which Will is visited by the ghosts of people from his past who offer him insight and wisdom. Through his journey, Will grapples with questions of violence, grief, and the cycle of revenge. The novel explores the impact of gun violence on Black communities and the difficult choices that young people face.
The Hate You Give
This popular book tells the story of 16-year-old Starr Carter who straddles two worlds — the poor neighborhood where she lives and the upscale prep school she attends. After Starr witnesses her best friend's death at the hands of police, her world is upended. As the shooting makes national headlines, Starr is faced with the difficult choice of whether or not to speak out.
READ ORANGE: NON-FICTION
Another Day in the Death of America: A Chronicle of Ten Short Lives
Younge tells the story of ten children who were fatally shot on a single day in America. Through exploring their lives and deaths, the author sheds light on the complex issue of gun violence in the United States and the devastating impacts it has on families and communities. Younge also confronts the myth of America's exceptionalism and raises important questions about the country's attitudes towards guns and violence.
A Right to Bear Arms?: The Contested Role of History in Contemporary Debates on the Second Amendment
Edited by Jennifer Tucker
This book of essays brings together historians, legal scholars, and political scientists to explore the historical context and interpretations of the Second Amendment, as well as its relevance to current policy debates and the relationship between guns and individual and collective rights.
A memoir about the author's personal experiences with guns and gun culture as a Native American woman. Jensen uses her own stories to explore the complex relationship between gun ownership, personal safety, and identity. She also delves into the broader societal issues of gun violence, racism, and the historical trauma that has affected Native American communities. The book is a mix of personal narrative and cultural analysis, and aims to give a voice to those who are often marginalized in discussions about guns in America.
Children Under Fire: An American Crisis
John Woodrow Cox
Primarily dealing with two young people impacted by gun violence — one in downtown Washington, DC, and one in middle America, one in a drive-by shooting, and one in a mass shooting — this book explores the impact of gun violence on American children. The author uses personal stories of children and families affected by gun violence to shed light on the broader issue of gun violence in America. The book also examines the ways in which society and policymakers have failed to address this crisis and provides recommendations on how to prevent future tragedies.
Gunfight: My Battle Against the Industry that Radicalized America
Busse’s book is an insider's look at the gun industry. Written from the perspective of a former gun industry executive, the book tells the story of how negligent gun dealers have been protected, how the gun lobby has paid people to embrace gun-extremist rhetoric, and how industry leaders have abused power and resources.