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...

  • 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 ...

  • 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 ...

  • Eric Brown

    One of the most beautifully written books I’ve read in years....

  • 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...

  • Judi

    I received this ARC for free from the publisher. The following is my unbiased review.I am not African American and I have never lived in a community that could be called diverse. I doubt I fall in the...

  • Tre? Mason

    I received this book from the author a few weeks back. The book was phenomenal. As someone who plans to have kids in the future I fear for my sons. I fear that they will have to grow up fast in a worl...

  • Tricia Sean

    This book spoke to me so deeply. Although the words were from a mother to her sons, I (a dad of 3 daughters) could totally feel so much of what she was saying. I want my children to definitely know th...

  • Shana

    This deeply personal open letter lays out the myriad of emotions that Perry feels as the mother of two Black sons. She treasures them and all their little idiosyncrasies, yet also frets over whether t...