Towards Awareness, our free online reading club, had its inaugural meeting last Thursday. We discussed the first chapter of The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett. The novel introduces a cast of characters whose dreams and aspirations are regularly shaped by a highly racialized society.

As a whole, The Vanishing Half explores themes related to identity (racism, colorism, feminism, and sexuality) as well as community (love, kinship, motherhood, and belonging). These various categories intertwine as the characters navigate their lives.

During our meeting, teachers and students alike praised Bennett’s writing style and how quickly she captured our imagination. But don’t take our word for it! Pick it up yourself and tell us what you think!


  • Students: How does this novel relate to your life?
  • Teachers: What are takeaways you can apply to your teaching?