African American

The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read

Mary, born into slavery in 1868, loved watching the birds fly free in the sky while she worked in the fields. She wanted to be free too! But she had to keep working. No time for rest. No time to learn. Even when Mary and her family were freed from slavery she still had to work hard.

One day, Mary was given a Bible, but all she could see were squiggly lines! Mary became determined to learn to read but there was always work to be done and a family to raise. Late in life, Mary said, "No more waiting! Time to learn!" You'll be amazed to learn Mary's age when she finally learned to read and became truly free.

This true story definitely shows that you are never too old to learn. I love how this book is full of hope and the vibrant collage illustrations by Coretta Scott King award winner, Oge Mara, really help tell the story in this amazing picture book biography. There are even real photos of Mary on the front and back covers.

   
Tween   
Think Library    Kids    Reviews   

Celebrating Black Voices: Jacqueline Woodson & Coretta Scott King Awards Exhibit

Celebrating Black Voices

On Saturday, February 5 from 7–8:15 PM, The Friends of the Library and Monroe County Public Library will host award-winning author Jacqueline Woodson at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater as part of the biennial “Power of Words: Changing Our World One Author at a Time” programming series. The talk is free and open to the public. 

Listen to the internationally acclaimed author, who gives voice to African American life through more than 30 books, ranging from children’s picture books to young adult literature to adult novels. Woodson is a National Book Award Winner for Young People’s Literature for her New York Times bestselling memoir “Brown Girl Dreaming”, among many other awards. The doors will open at 6:30 PM and tickets are not required. Proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test is required per the Buskirk-Chumley Theater’s policy.

   
Think Library    Adults    Teens   

MLK Day Celebration

Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration Events

This Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we’re celebrating Black lives and remembering the tremendous life and accomplishments of Dr. King with a day full of events and opportunities to serve our community. 

 

MLK Day Activities at the Downtown Library

We’ll start the day at 9:30 AM with a storytime featuring "Hands Up" by Brianna J. McDaniel and "Our Skin: A First Conversation About Race" by Megan Madison and Jessica Ralli, followed by crafts to celebrate Black lives and honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Following storytime, at 11 AM, the Bloomington Peace Choir, a community choir that sings to uplift their spirits and the world, will join us for a short all-ages performance in the atrium.

   
Preschool    Tween   
Adults    Teens    Kids   

Black Brother, Black Brother

Donte and his brother Trey go to a private middle school where most of their classmates are white. They are biracial; their mother is black and their father is white. Trey is very light-skinned and can pass as white whereas Donte has darker skin and is known as “Black Brother.” Because of Donte’s skin color, he is bullied at his middle school by a white kid named Alan. Alan sets Donte up and gets him in trouble involving the police.

Donte eventually finds the sport of fencing, which is Alan’s sport too, and this brings him to a place of understanding of where he fits in the world. By the time Donte faces off with Alan in a fencing match, Donte is confident in who he is and where he is going in his life.

This book deals with racism and bullying in middle school in a real and relatable way. Readers will learn a lot about fencing and how sports can give people confidence in who they are.

   
African American    Bullying    Read    Siblings    Sports   
Tween   
Think Library    Kids    Reviews   

111 Trees: How One Village Celebrates the Birth of Every Girl

Growing up as a young boy in the Indian state of Rajasthan, Sundar Paliwal experienced several difficult things such as hunger, poverty and the loss of his mother at a young age. He continues to look at his community as he grows up, gets married and eventually has his own two daughters and one son. He teaches his children about the beauty and importance of all living things. But Sundar’s community and land is being destroyed by mining companies, where he works.

Sundar knows he must make change in his community and for the land around them. He quits his mining job and becomes an activist and local leader. However, when tragedy strikes yet again in Sundar’s life, he imagines an inspiring plan that will not only replenish the environment but also highlight the need for equality amongst girls and boys in his village. In honor of every girl born in the village, 111 trees will be planted!

   
Tween   
Think Library    Kids    Reviews   

Staff Picks: We Were Eight Years In Power : an American Tragedy

Reviewed by Bill Koester, Materials Handler

We Were Eight Years In Power : an American Tragedy by Ta-Nehisi Coates is also available in eBook, audiobook, and large print formats.

IntegrityIn response to the ongoing protests against police brutality and the ensuing discussions about race in America, there has been a recent trend of book recommendations for White Americans to better understand the experience of Black America. As a White reader myself, some of the most eye-opening work has been that of Ta-Nehisi Coates.

   
Think Library    Adults   

Celebrating Diverse Voices

Everyone has a Story

A Note from the Director

Our community is passionate about our Library. You see us as a catalyst for growth and well-being, envisioning the Library as a public space that invites and embraces community support. Our 2021–23 strategic plan centers around diversity, inclusion, and respect. In support of this, we plan to facilitate discussions and provide resources that enrich our community.

Traditionally, Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a day on at the Library. Each year we invite you and our local partners to join us in honoring the tremendous life and accomplishments of Dr. King. It is also an opportunity to address racial inequities and become a more compassionate and inclusive community.

While we can’t gather in person this year, we hope you’ll join us virtually on MLK Day and beyond as we expand our focus on diversity. 

   
Think Library    Adults   

Staff Pick: The Camping Trip

In this picture book, a Black family explores the wonders and challenges of camping! Ernestine lives with her single dad in the city. When her aunt Jackie and cousin Samantha invite her to go camping with them she eagerly accepts. With dad's help, Ernestine gathers and packs all the essentials needed for an outdoor adventure. She imagines what camping will be like and can't wait!

But we all know that things don't always turn out the way we imagine... like the difficulty in putting up a tent, or that swimming in a lake - and not at the YMCA pool means - fish!

   
Preschool   
Think Library    Kids    Reviews   

New Kid

Jordan is disappointed to start a new school. Instead of the art school he wanted to go to, his parents are making him go to Riverdale Academy Day School - the best school in town. Jordan’s new school is very different: he doesn't know his way around, the kids all dress differently, and the biggest difference of all is that nearly everyone at his new school is white, which isn’t really a problem except that Jordan keeps experiencing microaggressions and some more direct racial bullying which the teachers tend to ignore. How will Jordan navigate life at his new school while remaining true to himself?

   
Tween   
Think Library    Kids    Reviews   

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