As the founder of Smile On Me, an organization that aims to create a safe space for people to be themselves (among other admirable efforts), it’s understandable that #AerieREAL Role Model Dre Thomas describes The Water Dancer as “so hard to put down.” Written by acclaimed American author Ta-Nehisi Coates, the book follows an enslaved Black man who discovers that he has supernatural powers, casting a fantastical light on slavery while reflecting on its psychological woes.

While reading the novel, Dre felt a natural connection to the characters and their unique stories throughout. Check out more about why Dre picked this book below, then jump into the discussion questions and share your thoughts with the Aerie fam.

Why did you choose this book: I chose this book because when I read it, it just awakened something within me. It’s one of those stories that makes you feel like you’re on the journey with them, I felt part of the family.

What stuck with you from this book: The importance of knowing where you’ve come from or who to call family. As I get older, I’m understanding the value of family and how much of an impact they have in my life.

What do you hope readers take away from it: I hope readers feel encouraged to do more research on Black people in America and how enslavement still affects the community today.

As you’re reading The Water Dancer or if you already finished it, we want to know what you think! Were your takeaways similar to Dre’s, or was your interpretation of the book different?

  1. What are some of the ways that we see slavery impacting Hiram psychologically?
  2. Did you relate to any characters in the story?
  3. What stuck with you after you finished?

Now it’s your turn! Comment below and share your thoughts.

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