Spring came this past week and always fills us with the joy of the possible.
We had the opportunity to visit a few bookstores and take in new titles that would be great for the literary circle teens and alumni who want to delves into the world of creative thought.
Books hold such a special place for us at the literary circle that we gravitate to them every place we travel and while our time together is only for six weeks in the summer, we area always encouraging people we meet to read.
Reading for pleasure, not to take the SAT or ACT – although that will be a benefit. Reading for joy, not to take a standardized state test – although that will be a benefit. Reading for wonder, not for an exercise in annotating a text – although that will be a benefit.
We believe, especially as primarily African/Black Americans, that reading, writing, and creating are acts of liberation. It is something that was forcibly taken from African Americans in the times of chattel enslavement and then denied during most of Jim Crow through the Civil Rights Act. Today that denial comes from places like school board protests and book bans, assaults on librarians, and outright angst against young people of any race, ethnicity, or culture reading about other people. Reading allows us to be thoughtful, empathetic, and knowledgeable. We are human beings and learning about other human beings is a gift.
Our work centers African American writers primarily because we are an African American led organization with African American teens whose stories are often etherized in school. We include Caribbean writers and West African writers also, however, the cultural experiences are vastly different and we discuss that through the texts we encounter.
This year, we are reading a bit of adventure, novel-in-verse, contemporary works, and futurism set against the backdrop of literary politics in 2023.
If you have an inquisitive teen and want to be a part of the literary circle, we would love to have you join us from June 20-July 25, 2025. Follow our director on Instagram. @taye_foster_bradshaw to keep up with what she is doing in the off season!