"It seems that people don’t realize how much the stuff we read and watch shapes the way we see the world and the people in it, ourselves included." - Nic Stone
In the wake of the tragic death of George Floyd, many readers began to immerse themselves in books centered on anti-racism in hopes of learning more about the Black experience. What many failed to realize is that the Black experience isn't just about pain or our experiences tied to racism. What we read informs our perceptions of the world and the individuals around us. In consuming books that solely focus on Black pain and trauma, we begin to teach ourselves that Black people are nothing beyond their suffering. This is not to say that these stories aren't important or vital to changing the ways in which people view race and racism; however, it's important to recognize those stories where Black people fall in love, they go on adventures, solve mysteries, or stories in which Black people are just happy. When building lists and reading books centered on anti-racism and the Black experience, don't forget to include those books that show Black people doing ordinary things. Our experiences, our stories, our legacies are laced with pain; however, we are so much more. You can recognize the pain of a community while also celebrating in their joy. It's about balance. Check out the book list below for recommendations that center Black experiences outside of the trauma of racism. Also, if you're interested in learning more about the balance between Black joy and pain check out the article that Nic Stone wrote for Cosmopolitan here. In it, she details how important it was for her to experience the balance between Black pain and joy. Nic Stone will be visiting Richland Library on October 24th as a part of the Let's Talk Race Book Festival. You can find out more information about the event here.
The Let's Talk Race Family Book Festival will take place virtually August-October 2021 and will feature a monthly conversation from an incredible author, illustrator or book creator. This year's festival will include: Tiffany Jewell, Selina Alko & Sean Qualls and Nic Stone. In addition, we will be highlighting content on our website to keep the family discussions going with book lists, activities, blog posts and more.