For the 2018-19 school year, our community read program will focus on the theme of "belonging." We selected this theme to highlight the importance of a sense of belonging to building a strong and diverse community.
To explore this theme, we have selected three books: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi; Waking Up White and Finding Myself in the Story of Race by Debby Irving; and The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir by Thi Bui.
We encourage you to read as many of the books as you like. We will offer three faculty/staff-led book discussion groups--one related to each title--throughout the year to deepen our community's understanding of this important theme. In addition, Debby Irving will join us for a community education event on Wednesday, December 12 in the evening.
All three books will be available for purchase at Step-Up on June 13 at a discounted price, while full-priced books may be purchased at the Book Fair in November.
Homegoing, Yaa Gyasi
Ghana, eighteenth century: two half sisters are born into different villages, each unaware of the other. One will marry an Englishman and lead a life of comfort in the palatial rooms of the Cape Coast Castle. The other will be captured in a raid on her village, imprisoned in the very same castle, and sold into slavery. Homegoing follows the parallel paths of these sisters and their descendants through eight generations: for the Gold Coast to the plantations of Mississippi, from the American Civil War to Jazz Age Harlem.
Waking Up White And Finding Myself In The Story Of Race, Debby Irving
Waking Up White is the book Irving wishes someone had handed her decades ago. By sharing her sometimes cringe-worthy struggle to understand racism and racial tensions, she offers a fresh perspective on bias, stereotypes, manners, and tolerance. As Irving unpacks her own long-held beliefs about colorblindness, being a good person, and wanting to help people of color, she reveals how each of these well-intentioned mindsets actually perpetuated her ill-conceived ideas about race. She also explains why and how she's changed the way she talks about racism, works in racially mixed groups, and understands the antiracism movement as a whole. Exercises at the end of each chapter prompt readers to explore their own racialized ideas.
The Best We Could Do, Thi Bui
Illustrated Memoir 2017
This beautifully illustrated and emotional story is an evocative memoir about the search for a better future and a longing for the past. Exploring the anguish of immigration and the lasting effects that displacement has on a child and her family, Bui documents the story of her family's daring escape after the fall of South Vietnam in the 1970s, and the difficulties they faced building new lives for themselves.
At the heart of Bui's story is a universal struggle: While adjusting to life as a first-time mother, she ultimately discovers what it means to be a parent—the endless sacrifices, the unnoticed gestures, and the depths of unspoken love. Despite how impossible it seems to take on the simultaneous roles of both parent and child, Bui pushes through. With haunting, poetic writing and breathtaking art, she examines the strength of family, the importance of identity, and the meaning of home.