Author Imani Perry stopped by the Boston Public Library on Friday to discuss her latest book, “Breathe: A Letter to My Sons.” The book, released last month, explores themes of race and identity for African-American parents and their children.

Perry began the discussion by distinguishing her views on black parenthood from the often-echoed sentiments about the fear of raising black children in a country where so many have lost their lives to police violence.

“It is true, there is a certain terror that comes from the reality of the stories of Treyvon Martin, Jordan Davis … and gun violence generally.” Perry said. “But also, it takes away from the incredible joy. The central part of my parenthood is raising these beautiful beings, and I don’t want their lives to be defined by [police brutality.]”

Perry's book deals heavily with the subject of what she calls “sanctified grace.”

“It’s the grace that is not a consequence of what you do, but just the fact that you are,” she said. “There is a part of what it means to be a human that is just grace-filled, period. That, I think, is important to hold on to — particularly for groups of people who are demonized repeatedly.”

“Breathe: A Letter to My Sons” reflects on the ideas of writers like James Joyce, W.E.B DuBois and Ralph Waldo Emerson and contextualizes them through the lens of Perry's own personal experience.

On the subject of America’s growing dialogue on race, gender, and identity, Perry said many important conversations have yet to take place.

“I think we have learned to have superficial conversations,” she said. “If you go on a playground at any number of schools, you [still] see gender segregation, you see the ways in which boys who are not participating in conventionally masculine ways get ostracized.”

"Yes, we’re getting better at talking, but I don’t think we have yet figured out how to have the kind of deep reckoning we need to have to recognize the complete value of all children, irrespective of the identity categories they fall into.”