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Read The Girl Who Fell from the Sky with the Authors Guild Banned Books Club

The Girl Who Fell From The Sky by Heidi Durrow
Heidi W. Durrow’s book “The Girl Who Fell from the Sky” was once a classroom favorite, helping young readers think about race and identity in the 21st Century. Sadly, her award-winning book has faced challenges and book-banning efforts these last few years.You can read “The Girl Who Fell from the Sky” with exclusive commentary from Durrow inside one of Fable’s most engaging free clubs.
Read The Girl Who Fell from the Sky with the Authors Guild Banned Books Club

Why was The Girl Who Fell from the Sky banned?

Durrow’s novel revolves around the life of Rachel, a biracial teenager who struggles with her identity after a tragic event changes her life forever. The book explores concepts of race, identity, and poverty -- inspiring efforts to keep the story out of the hands of young readers.When she read about efforts to ban her book in a high school library in St. Louis, Durrow wrote a passionate plea to readers and writers:

"this is very dangerous, there is an activated movement going nationwide that is ready to censor and ban the books on this list and many more. Don’t stay silent about this … Books are about ideas, and questions. We have to stop this insanity of silencing writers’ stories and banning books."

Why reading banned books matters

Through Rachel’s story, readers can better understand the challenges faced by those who identify as mixed, and how to navigate the world as a person of color.The book also encourages readers to think critically about how they view race, identity, and culture. Durrow’s novel gave students a better understanding of the complexities of racism and how to become better allies for marginalized people.“The idea of biracial identity became a mainstream issue because Barack Obama talked about his white mother during his campaign and Presidency,” Durrow explained in her commentary inside the Authors Guild Banned Books Club.

"So when my book came out in 2010, the issues were in front of the public. People were talking about racial identity, mixedness, and the idea of how complicated identity can be."

Her book ended up added to reading lists around the country, and she hoped that the conversation around race was changing. Ever since 2016, however, the author saw a dramatic shift in our national conversation about race. “The American discussion about race has changed,” she explained in her commentary.

"White supremacist rhetoric ratcheted up, and the whole political movement on the right really went sideways in terms of letting people talk openly about being racist and embracing it."

Quotes from The Girl Who Fell from the Sky

“The bottle is where everything sad or mean or confusing can go. And the blues--it’s like that bottle. But in the bottle, there’s a seed that you let grow. Even in the bottle it can grow big and green. It’s full of all those feelings that are in there, but beautiful and growing too.” ― Heidi W. Durrow“I don’t know if it’s better to have people laugh at what you are or just not understand.” ― Heidi W. Durrow “Math can explain the reason there’s one out of four chance that I’d have blue eyes. But it doesn’t explain why me.” ― Heidi W. Durrow“If there’s no one else to tell another side - the only story that can be told is the story that becomes true.” ― Heidi W. Durrow“We live in the same house but we both feel lonely. We and lonely don’t belong in the same sentence.” ― Heidi W. Durrow“A woman made of parts is a dangerous thing. You never know when she’ll throw away a piece you may need.” ― Heidi W. Durrow“I can’t get rid of the sadness,” Laronne said. “Well,” David said, “then we’ll just keep it company.” ― Heidi Durrow“I’m not the color of my skin. I’m a story. One with a past and a future unwritten.” ― Heidi W. Durrow

Keep reading on Fable

We must also reflect on the historical roots of the systemic racism and prejudice that still exists today. If we don’t understand how these problems are deeply embedded in every structure of our society, we can never make true change.You can start with “The Color of Law: Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America” by Richard Rothstein. This 2017 book explored how local, state, and federal policies helped keep American housing segregated over the last century. It paints a picture of the socio-economic impact of legally recognized (or de jure) segregation practices on American families, uncovering long-standing inequalities in health, education, and wealth.You can keep reading great books by Black authors in every genreLearn how to create a book club here!

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