CSJ Book Club: Stories of the Dear Neighbor

Reviewed by Sister Helen Alder

I realized that in the past year or so I have read several books about other cultures. All of them were very informative and good reads. Thus, I thought I’d share them with you. I would be interested in reading other books about different countries and cultures. Let us know what you have read.



The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI
by David Grann

This is a true-life mystery that I had trouble putting down. Grann has done outstanding research in order to write this book. It is about the Osage Nation who were moved from Kansas into Indian Territory. In the late 19th century oil was discovered on the Osage lands and they became the richest per capita people in the world. However, our U.S. government thought they were incompetent to manage their wealth so “guardians” (white people) were appointed to keep track of how the Osage spent their money. Need I say more?



by Amanda Eyre Ward

The Same Sky is a novel based on her interviews of children who migrated from Central America to the United States without adults. It is a long, dangerous journey and yet they come to flee the horrors of their original countries. Shouldn’t they find peace and safety here in the United States?




Stories from a South African Childhood
by Trevor Noah

We all have heard about South Africa’s history, but this book paints a vivid picture (while being very entertaining) of life under apartheid. Read this book to find out why Trevor Noah was “Born a Crime.”




by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Adichie is a woman from Africa who comes to the United States to go to a university. Along the way she starts a blog about being an American African and not being an African American. This book really made me think about what names we call groups of people. She has written several other books also. 



And 20 Other Myths About Native Americans
by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

This is another book that questions not only how we label people but how we are ignorant about other cultures as well. Each chapter is about stereotyping Native Americans and can be applied to many different cultures. Having lived and worked on the Dine’(Navajo) Nation, I was aware of some of the material covered but other information jolted me into new thoughts and awareness.

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