The Summer Reading Challenge has begun! This summer, we are exploring more intentionally the vast, rich territory of books by and about people of color. Capitalizing on the concept of summer reading, this is a low-pressure read-a-thon, where we set our own goals and read what we like. The idea is simply to challenge ourselves to read more books by and about people of color.
Left to the traditional literary canon taught to us in school, our exposure to authors and characters of color is minimal. Likewise, the books most often advertised and displayed prominently in libraries and bookstores (outside of a “diversity” focus) are usually about white characters and by white authors.
After most services, you’ll find a table in the Crossings Room displaying books by and about people of color. These will encompass various genres (realistic fiction, historical fiction, sci-fi, mystery, memoir, nonfiction, humor) for adults, middle grades, and young adults. Although we don’t have room for picture books, all ages are encouraged to participate!
Books displayed will vary from week to week with the goal of demonstrating variety and encouraging readers to explore on their own. This initiative is not based on the church library and doesn’t have books for loan – rather it is a way to provide ideas and inspiration for books to add to your reading list! People have used phones to take photos of books of interest or jotted down titles on sticky notes. On Facebook, we are sharing the books we read with one another to continue the challenge and recommend titles we love.
Although authors’ experiences are always reflected in their writing, the primary purpose of the Summer Reading Challenge is not as a supplement to racial literacy studies. Rather, it’s a way for all of us to intentionally expand our exposure to authors and main characters of color through the fun of reading!
The Summer Reading Challenge began June 11 and runs through Labor Day. If you purchase your own books, please consider donating them to the church library after you’re done!
By Julie Buehler