Check out Obama's amazing, unapologetically black summer reading list.

For the first time since leaving office, former commander-in-chief Barack Obama is headed to Kenya and South Africa to visit the Obama ancestral home, convene 200 young leaders across the continent, and deliver a speech to mark the anniversary of Nelson Mandela's 100th birthday.

While his schedule is jam-packed, Obama managed to make a reading list for his followers before leaving.


And it. Is. Good.

Barack Obama recommended six books, the majority of which are authored by African writers.

This week, I’m traveling to Africa for the first time since I left office – a continent of wonderful diversity, thriving...

Posted by Barack Obama on Friday, July 13, 2018

"Things Fall Apart" by Chinua Achebe, "A Grain of Wheat" by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, and "Americanah" by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie are just a few. They tell stories ranging from the pervasive impacts of colonialism to an African nation's story before foreign influence to the Nigerian immigrant experience in America. In short, they tell the stories of a remarkably diverse continent, all through the words of people that are connected to it in their own unique ways.

While Obama has released a recommended reading list many times in the last few years, this year's list is particularly important. In the past, political figures and educators alike have centered the stories of white, straight men. While these stories have certainly influenced our society, they are by no means the only stories that exists, nor the only stories that should be told.

Photo by Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images.

Obama is increasing exposure to a largely unexplored literary world of African writers and is helping to make space for diverse storytelling.

As Adichie — one of the novelists Obama recommends — once said in a viral TedTalk, there is a danger in telling a single story. When society only supports stories that feature a singular perspective, we fail to recognize the experiences of immigrants, queer folks, people of color, disabled people, and other underrepresented groups.

Through his summer reading list, Obama is helping make writers like Thiong'o and Adichie as commonly known as Ernest Hemingway and Harper Lee.

Judging by the description of these books, it seems like readers are in for a super fun literary ride.

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via USO

Army Capt. Justin Meredith used the Bob Hope Legacy Reading Program to read to his son and family while deployed in the Middle East.

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One of the biggest challenges deployed service members face is the feeling of being separated from their families, especially when they have children. It's also very stressful for children to be away from parents who are deployed for long periods of time.

For the past four years, the USO has brought deployed service members and their families closer through a wonderful program that allows them to read together. The Bob Hope Legacy Reading Program gives deployed service members the ability to choose a book, read it on camera, then send both the recording and book to their child.

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Cayce LaCorte explains why virginity doesn't exist.

The concept of virginity is a very loaded issue in American culture. If a woman loses hers when she's too young she can be slut-shamed. If a man remains a virgin for too long, he can be bullied for not being manly enough.

There is also a whole slew of religious mind games associated with virginity that can give people some serious psychological problems associated with sex.

Losing one's virginity has also been blown up way beyond proportion. It's often believed that it's a magical experience—it's usually not. Or that after having sex for the first time people can really start to enjoy living life—not the case.

What if we just dropped all of the stigmas surrounding virginity and instead, replaced them with healthy attitudes toward sex and relationships?

Writer Cayce LaCorte is going viral on TikTok for the simple way she's taught her five daughters to think about virginity. They don't have to. LaCorte shared her parenting ideas on TikTok in response to mom-influencer Nevada Shareef's question: "Name something about the way you raised your kids that people think is weird but you think is healthy."

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This article originally appeared on 08.15.18.


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