Between the World and Me

By Gracie McDonough
Published on 6 August, 2020

HBO has announced that Ta-Nehisi Coates’ book Between the World and Me is being made into a television special premiering this fall. CSN Libraries recently acquired the ebook, while the print book will be available to check out from the Henderson and North Las Vegas campus libraries when we reopen.

Between the World and Me is a letter that Coates writes to his son, Samori, about their lives in a world that continues to be full of prejudice. Coates writes this letter to his son in 2015 after learning that the killer of Michael Brown would go free. The announcement causes Samori to break down in tears. This is not a message of comfort; it is a factual and honest look at racism experienced by a black family.

The book was published in 2015 and won the National Book Award. In 2018, it was made into a stage production performed at the Apollo Theater. For the HBO movie, Coates will be an executive producer and plans to add elements from the book and stage production with his own home movies, archival footage and animation.

Coates was born in Baltimore, Maryland and attended Howard University. His father, William Paul Coates, was a Vietnam War veteran, former Black Panther, publisher and librarian who founded Black Classic Press that specialized in publishing African American titles. His mother, Cheryl Lynn (Waters), was a teacher and both of his parents were a great influence on his career as a writer and journalist. He has written for many notable newspapers and magazines such as The Atlantic, The Village Voice, Washington City Paper, Time, The New York Times Magazine, Washington Post, Washington Monthly and O, just to name a few.

Ta-Nehisi Coates has two other non-fiction books, The Beautiful Struggle and We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy. He has written a Black Panther and Captain America series for Marvel Comics and in 2019 his first novel, The Water Dancer, was published. In 2015, Coates was awarded a MacArthur “Genius Grant.”

Between the World and Me is a quick read if you want to get a copy before the HBO special this fall. You can also find the other books by Ta-Nehisi Coates through CSN Libraries. If you need any help at all, just ask a librarian!