Breathe: A Letter to My Sons

Breathe: A Letter to My Sons Review

Explores the terror, grace, and beauty of coming of age as a Black person in contemporary America and what it means to parent our children in a persistently unjust world.

Emotionally raw and deeply reflective, Imani Perry issues an unflinching challenge to society to see Black children as deserving of humanity. She admits fear and frustration for her African American sons in a society that is increasingly racist and at times seems irredeemable. However, as a mother, feminist, writer, and intellectual, Perry offers an unfettered expression of love--finding beauty and possibility in life--and she exhorts her children and their peers to find the courage to chart their own paths and find steady footing and inspiration in Black tradition.

Perry draws upon the ideas of figures such as James Baldwin, W. E. B. DuBois, Emily Dickinson, Toni Morrison, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Ida B. Wells. She shares vulnerabilities and insight from her own life and from encounters in places as varied as the West Side of Chicago; Birmingham, Alabama; and New England prep schools.

With original art for the cover by Ekua Holmes, Breathe offers a broader meditation on race, gender, and the meaning of a life well lived and is also an unforgettable lesson in Black resistance and resilience.

Title:Breathe: A Letter to My Sons

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    Breathe: A Letter to My Sons Reviews

  • Andre

    Beautifully rendered both in prose and wisdom. I found many parallels here to my own thinking. I can easily relate being a parent. Imani Perry uses delicate cultured prose to write to her two sons, an...

  • Ellie

    As the title states, Breath is a letter to the author's young sons. It is a celebration of their beauty, their gifts, and the love of their mother for them as well as the bonds of the family, includin...

  • Kimberley

    If you've read Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, you will appreciate the perspective of Imani Perry in Breathe: A Letter to My Sons.Where Coates was contemplative in describing the effects...

  • Joshunda Sanders

    This gorgeous book is a prayer or a mantra. It is the second book of Dr.Perry’s that I have inhaled this year, and its maternal, ethereal poetry is a balm for these times. It is authentic testimony ...

  • Jennifer

    Perry writes that she was approached to write this book, and my guess is that the publishers were looking for a "mom" version of Coates' Between the World in Me. And Perry certainly covers some of the...

  • Robert Currie

    As an older white guy, I think it's almost impossible to imagine the world faced by African Americans, young African American men and boys in particular. In fact, this is true of all white people, not...

  • James Klagge

    A wide-ranging view of life articulated and shared. The only observation I'll share is...it is interesting that her (Catholic) Christianity is important to her but she makes almost no effort to share ...

  • Chanequa Walker-Barnes

    A powerful start to my reading for 2020, Imani Perry's "Breathe" speaks to and for mothers who are raising Black boys in the paradox of 21st century America, where they can be viable candidates for pr...

  • Jaibabi520

    Breathe is a gorgeously written letter that simultaneously captures a mother’s greatest hopes, and fears for her black sons. A documentation of the fight we must engage in to create space for the to...

  • Ai Miller

    This was really beautifully written and just so clearly full of compassion, care, and love. It's also a short read, and mostly kept my attention. I'm not sure it's a book For Me, not that it matters e...