28 Stories of AIDS in Africa by Stephanie Nolen: A
Everybody should, at some point in their lives, pick up a book about AIDS and learn about the virus that is devastating an entire continent.
And if you've never read a book about AIDS, 28 is a great place to start. You might not think that this would be a very comprehensive look at the situation, but Nolen did a great job of picking stories that highlight unique, important facets of the AIDS pandemic.
The introduction provides a nice, concise exposition - how AIDS got started, how the world first reacted to its discovery, why she picked 28, and more.
Then, Nolen picks out 28 individuals who share their heartbreaking stories. Not all of them are infected with HIV, but all of them, in same way "have" AIDS, and by that, I mean that AIDS has dramatically and irreversibly affected their lives.
Nolen's writing style is simple, emotional, and always with appropriate tone. She's compassionate without being preachy, and she is always focused on trying to understand what is happening in Africa and why it is happening.
The book ends, appropriately enough, with suggestions on how we can contribute to AIDS relief programs, research, advocacy groups, etc.
This is a very accessible, informative, emotional book. Find a copy at your local library.