Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley - Winner of the Amnesty CILIP Honour 2016

Winner of the Amnesty CILIP Honour 2016.

It’s 1959. The battle for civil rights is raging. And it’s Sarah’s first day of school as one of the first black students at previously all-white Jefferson High. No one wants Sarah there. Not the Governor. Not the teachers. And certainly not the students. A truly sparkling debut with broad appeal to a young adult/adult crossover audience, tackling powerful issues of race and sexuality.

Paperback. Size: 19.8 x 12.6 cm. 384 pages.


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The Amnesty CILIP Honour is for books on the Kate Greenaway and Carnegie Medal shortlists that best illuminate, uphold and celebrate human rights. Books have a unique ability to inspire empathy, broaden horizons and empower young readers. Amnesty CILIP Honour books help us teach children about truth, freedom and justice and encourage them to feel they can shape a better world. The 2016 winners are:

  • There’s a Bear on My Chair, a wonderfully funny picture book that upholds the right to creative, peaceful protest.

  • Lies We Tell Ourselves - set at a crucial time of American integration of black children into white schools - is a fast-paced exploration of the corrosive effects of discrimination and inequality.

Teaching notes are available for all the shortlisted books.

About the book:
Lie #1: I'm not afraid
Lie #2: I'm sure I'm doing the right thing
Lie #3: I don't care what they think of me

It’s 1959. The battle for civil rights is raging. And it’s Sarah’s first day of school as one of the first black students at previously all-white Jefferson High. No one wants Sarah there. Not the Governor. Not the teachers. And certainly not the students – especially Linda, daughter of the town’s most ardent segregationist. Sarah and Linda are supposed to despise each other. But the more time they spend together, the less their differences matter. And both girls start to feel something they’ve never felt before; something they’re determined to ignore. Because it’s one thing to stand up to an unjust world – but another to be terrified of what’s in your own heart.

Praise for Lies We Tell Ourselves:

‘Read this novel for a tale that is so empowering that it changes your opinions of the whole world’ - The Guardian

"The main characters are terrific in what is a moving YA novel. And an important one." – The Telegraph

"This is so thought-provoking it almost hurts to read it, yet every word is needed, is necessary and consequently this is a novel that lingers long after you've finished it" – Lovereading

"This is an emotional and compelling read that I did not want to put down. It is […] beautifully written and the tension just simmers on the pages." – Bookbabblers

"This book packs a very powerful punch’ - Historical Novel Society ‘With great characterisation, tough issues covered, and a plot which had me guessing right up until the last pages, this is a must-read. Massively recommended!" - The Bookbag

"This exceptional novel of first love and sexual awakenings is set against a backdrop of shocking racism and prejudice. It is incredibly well written as the tense, riveting story seamlessly combines fiction with historical fact." – Booktrust

"Every now and then a Young Adult book comes along that I want to push into every readers hands both young and old and Lies We Tell Ourselves is that book for 2014" – Jess Hearts Books

"Talley has mixed two controversial topics together to create a firecracker of a story" – Cheryl M-M's Book Blog

**A Goodreads Choice Awards semi-finalist 2014**

Paperback: 384 pages
Young adult/adult crossover audience
Publisher: MIRA Ink; First edition edition (3 Oct. 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1848452926
ISBN-13: 978-1848452923
Product Dimensions:19.8 x 12.6 cm

Additional info

Additional info

ISBN 9781848452923
Ethics Amnesty Branded


Customer Reviews (1)

Year 9 Book choice Review by J
‘Lies We Tell Ourselves’ was our Year 9 shadowing group favourite choice of the Carnegie shortlist. It led to an interesting debate with the students especially on modern day racism. One of our student’s review was :
”This book really transports you to the time and place it was set. It showed the real trauma of the times with many schools trying to integrate and the problems the black children faced. Even though the main characters were older than myself it shows how hard it is, even today, trying to get through school if you are different from others. Knowing how hard it was for black children to integrate really shows how far our society has come with accepting any race, sexuality and religion. Someone of my age can really relate to this book because we are really growing into new people and we may have to overcome major problems. I believe this book can really help show people that we can deal with our own problems even if we think we are incapable. “

(Posted on 20/07/2016)

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