If there is one thing I want to accomplish with The Hurston and Hughes Literary Circle® is to get more teens reading and discussing the ideals in books.
Over the past school year, we have seen an unprecedented effort to ban books in public libraries, public schools, and classrooms. Under a rhetoric of pretending to care about children, politicians have targeted imaginary boogeymen between the pages of some of our nation’s literary works.
Just read, anyway.
I want teens exploring the world through the power of words.
It invites critical thinking and dialogue.
Only those who crave power want people to be ignorant.
Only those with an agenda want people to be afraid.
But you don’t have to give in.
I buy a lot of books to read and consider for the literary circle.
And I also visit the public libraries to explore new titles and just cherish the gift of those spaces.
One of the libraries on my list to visit just made their collection free to any teen, from 13-21, to get a library card and access to thousands of books. That is a bounty of discovery! The Brooklyn Public Library has made this gift readily available and along with the American Library Association, have developed a Freedom to Read program to combat the censorship.
My late father gave me my first library card when I was a little girl, one of the first things we did when we moved to our new town. He told me I could find the world in the pages of a book and never monitored what I read. It was a treasure to me.
Ever where I have ever lived, I had a library cards and always took my kids to these places where they could be free to roam amidst the stacks. All five of them are readers, to some degree or another.
That is what this literary circle is about, at the premise. To engage teens, specifically Black and African American, to realize everything they want to know is written down, waiting for them to unearth the wisdom in the buried in the text. The benefit is exponential.
Want to know what we are reading this season?