Caste: Adapted for Young Adults
No reviews yet.Add your rating
No reviews yet.Add your rating
Common Sense is a nonprofit organization. Your purchase helps us remain independent and ad-free.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Isabel Wilkerson's Caste: Adapted for Young Adults is a nonfiction book about the history and modern-day consequences of the racial caste system in the United States. Adapted from the best-selling, 500-page Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, young adult readers can now access this important history and call to action. Wilkerson relies on academic research, sturdy metaphors, and storytelling to analyze three different caste systems across the globe -- the racial caste system in the United States, Nazi Germany's anti-Jewish castes, and the religion-based castes of India. She describes eight pillars of caste systems, the consequences of their existence, and how to "awaken" from the illusions, false promises, and inhumanity of caste. Some young adult readers may be disturbed by the graphic descriptions of racial violence (lynchings, burnings, torture, physical abuse, medical experimentation) and racialized sexual violence (rape, castration, forced birth) that occur throughout the text.
There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.
What's the Story?
CASTE opens with a metaphor plucked from real life: An ancient pathogen released by climate change in Siberia in 2016 is likened to the resurgence of White supremacy that accompanied the election of Donald Trump. The project of examining caste unfurls from there, connecting the common features of the racial caste system in the U.S. that began with slavery to the quickly constructed anti-Semitic caste system of Nazi Germany, and to the ancient, religiously rooted caste system of India. Personal anecdotes and stories of activists and individuals who challenged caste illuminate paths of resistance and change. The final chapters of the book focus on cultivating shared humanity and infuse hope into the project of deconstructing caste systems.
Is It Any Good?
This engrossing, meticulously researched, and humanity-affirming book is essential reading for any teen advocate of social change, and could inspire a teen reader to become one. Caste is based on Wilkerson's award-winning 2020 book of the same name. Compelling metaphors, like inheriting an old house or being cast in a play, make dense, difficult history and advanced language and ideas accessible for younger readers. Many parts of the book are heavy and disturbing, including descriptions of torture, racial and sexual violence, and genocide. Younger teens may struggle with sophisticated vocabulary and the intense content, so it may be best to read and discuss the book as a family or offer it for independent reading only to older teens. That said, hope is interwoven throughout the narrative. The author makes plain the hold caste has on us all and opens readers up to the shared humanity that will invest us in shaping a more just future. An unequivocal must-read.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how Caste: Adapted for Young Adults provides a different way to talk about racism. How are caste and race different? How are they the same? Why do you think the author prefers to approach racism from a caste perspective? Does this perspective help you understand American history differently? Why or why not?
Talk about the connections the author describes between Jim Crow laws in the U.S. and the construction of Nazi Germany. What surprised you? What feelings come up for you when you think about these connections?
Author Isabel Wilkerson talks about the role of shared humanity in confronting caste and tells stories about activists and individuals who challenge caste. What are some of the character strengths – such as compassion, courage, curiosity, and empathy – that you see in these stories? Who does she mention that you found memorable or inspirational?
- Author: Isabel Wilkerson
- Genre: History
- Topics: Activism, High School, History
- Character Strengths: Compassion, Courage, Curiosity, Empathy
- Book type: Non-Fiction
- Publisher: Delacorte Press
- Publication date: November 22, 2022
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 17
- Number of pages: 352
- Available on: Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: February 3, 2023
Our Editors Recommend
The Black Friend: On Being a Better White Person
Caring, funny, compelling call to be anti-racist.
Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor
28-day program for teens, families to become anti-racist.
The Underground Railroad
Riveting, brutal story of woman escaping slavery.
For kids who love stories of racism and social justice
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate