Grafton Public Library

Friends Announce Community Read: Diversity, Equality and Inclusion

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Events over the last few weeks have alarmed, saddened, and deeply affected many people. Though social injustices in this country are not new, in the time of COVID-19, we are all facing many challenges all at once, which can feel overwhelming. Despite all of that, it is encouraging to see peaceful protests happening here and around the world and that people are seeking to educate themselves on the issues, which include institutional racism and police violence.

The Friends of the Grafton Public Library would like to help. We are hosting a Community Read: “Diversity, Equality and Inclusion.” We invite the public to read something on this topic, and then come together on Zoom Thursday, August 20, 2020 at 7:30pm, to discuss these important issues through the lens of the book or books participants have chosen to read.

Details are on the Facebook Event Page.

The discussion will be facilitated by Ken Wagner. He was one of the founding members of the New England Region’s Antiracism/Anti-oppression/Multicultural Transformation team called GRACE. He has also served for the last nine years on the Executive Steering Committee of the Allies for Racial Equity and just completed a two year term as president of that organization. He is currently active in the Montachusetts Martin Luther King Coalition. Ken frequently speaks at church and community events across the country with a focus on the examination of race and the impact of white supremacy on our lives.

Your participation earns a badge in our Library Summer Program Imagine Your Story!

Reading suggestions for all ages follow. Read any or all. Don’t see anything on the list you are interested in reading? Don’t let that stop you! Pick out your own title and come to the discussion. Need help finding something of interest? Contact the Grafton Public Library’s staff for help (508-839-4649 or

Need a Grafton Library Card to access electronic versions of these titles? Complete an application online.

Community Read Book List 

A is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara (board book for young children)
book cover: A is for Activist (orange background with a brown-skinned child's arm in a blue sleeve, raised in a fist, and an upside down black cat peeking from the top)Overdrive eBook
Hoopla eBook
A is for Activist is an ABC board book written and illustrated for the next generation of progressives: families who want their kids to grow up in a space that is unapologetic about activism, environmental justice, civil rights, LGBTQ rights, and everything else that activists believe in and fight for.
The alliteration, rhyming, and vibrant illustrations make the book exciting for children, while the issues it brings up resonate with their parents’ values of community, equality, and justice. This engaging little book carries huge messages as it inspires hope for the future, and calls children to action while teaching them a love for books.
All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely (young adult novel)
book cover: All American Boys Overdrive eBook
Overdrive eAudio
Two teens—one black, one white—grapple with the repercussions of a single violent act that leaves their school, their community, and, ultimately, the country bitterly divided by racial tension.



Black Boy, White School (on order) by Brian F. Walker (young adult novel)
book cover: Black Boy, White SchoolHoopla eBook
When 14-year-old Anthony “Ant” Jones from the ghetto of East Cleveland, Ohio, gets a scholarship to a prep school in Maine, he finds that he must change his image and adapt to a world that never fully accepts him. But when he goes home he discovers that he no longer truly belongs there either.



The Book Itch: Freedom, Truth, and Harlem’s Greatest Bookstore by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson and R. Gregory Christie (picture book)
cover: The Book Itch ( brown-skinned boy in light blue shirt and brown pants reading on a stack of books in red, green and black)Overdrive eBook
Hoopla eBook
Lewis’s dad said he had an itch he needed to scratch?a book itch. How to scratch it? He started the National Memorial African Bookstore. It became a center of black culture and a home to activists like Malcolm X.



Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (middle school memoir in verse)
OverDrive eBook
Overdrive eAudio
Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson’s poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child. Her love of stories inspired her and stayed with her, creating the first sparks of the gifted writer she was to become.

Dear Martin by Nic Stone (young adult novel)
book cover: Dear Martin (white jacket with an African-American in a red jumpsuit)Overdrive eBook
Overdrive Audio
Justyce McAllister is a good kid, an honor student, and always there to help a friend—but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. Despite leaving his rough neighborhood behind, he can’t escape the scorn of his former peers or the ridicule of his new classmates. Justyce looks to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for answers. But do they hold up anymore? He starts a journal to Dr. King to find out. Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up—way up, sparking the fury of a white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. Justyce and Manny are caught in the crosshairs. In the media fallout, it’s Justyce who is under attack.

I’m Not Dying with You Tonight by Gilly Segal and Kimberly Jones (young adult novel)
book cover: Two brown-skinned teen girls facing each other, one upside down, with the title of the book in bold red text and upside down in yellow script, on a white circle on a black background)Overdrive eBook
Overdrive eAudiobook
Hoopla eBook
Told from two viewpoints, Atlanta high school seniors Lena and Campbell, one black, one white, must rely on each other to survive after a football rivalry escalates into a riot.


Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World and Become a Good Ancestor by Layla F. Saad (adult non-fiction)
book cover: title, Me and White Supremacy, is in gold text on a teal backgroundOverdrive eBook
OverDrive eAudio
Hoopla eBook
Hoopla as an eAudio
Based on the viral Instagram challenge that captivated participants worldwide, Me and White Supremacy takes readers on a 28-day journey of how to dismantle the privilege within themselves so that they can stop (often unconsciously) inflicting damage on people of color, and in turn, help other white people do better, too.

Midnight Without a Moon by Linda Williams Jackson (young adult novel)
book cover: Midnight Without a Moon (girl standing in a field between cotton plants staring at a house with lights on)Overdrive eBook
Hoopla eBook
Rose Lee Carter, a thirteen-year-old African-American girl, dreams of life beyond the Mississippi cotton fields during the summer of 1955, but when Emmett Till is murdered and his killers are unjustly acquitted, Rose is torn between seeking her destiny outside of Mississippi or staying and being a part of an important movement.

My Hair is a Garden by Cozbi A. Cabrera (picture book)
book cover: My Hair is a Garden (African American Girl with a beautiful full head of hair, on a pale blue background)Overdrive eBook
Hoopla eBook
After being teased yet again about her unruly hair, MacKenzie consults her neighbor, Miss Tillie, who compares hair care with tending her beautiful garden and teaches MacKenzie some techniques. Includes tips for shampooing, conditioning, and protecting black hair, and recipes for hair products.



The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (young adult novel)
book cover: the Hate U Give (African-American teen girl in blue shorts, with a red hairband, body obscured by a sign reading "The Hate U Give")Overdrive eBook 
Overdrive eAudiobook
Hoopla eBook
Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr. But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

March series by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin (non-fiction graphic novel for ages 8 and up)
book covers for John Lewis's March graphic novel seriesOverdrive eBook
Book 1
Book 2
Book 3
March is a vivid first-hand account of John Lewis’ lifelong struggle for civil and human rights, meditating in the modern age on the distance traveled since the days of Jim Crow and segregation.Book One spans John Lewis’ youth in rural Alabama, his life-changing meeting with Martin Luther King, Jr., the birth of the Nashville Student Movement, and their activism.
In Book 2, Lewis his fellow Freedom Riders board a bus into the vicious heart of the deep south, they will be tested like never before. Faced with beatings, police brutality, imprisonment, arson, and even murder, the movement’s young activists place their lives on the line while internal conflicts threaten to tear them apart.But their courage will attract the notice of powerful allies.
In Book 3,  Lewis and an army of young activists launch a series of innovative projects, including the Freedom Vote, Mississippi Freedom Summer, and a pitched battle for the soul of the Democratic Party waged live on national television.

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander (adult non-fiction)
book cover: The New Jim CrowPaperback
Revised edition (2012)
10th Anniversary edition (2020)
Overdrive eBook
Overdrive eBook 10th anniversary edition
Overdrive eAudiobook
Hoopla eBook 10th anniversary edition
Law professor Alexander argues that the War on Drugs and policies that deny convicted felons equal access to employment, housing, education, and public benefits create a permanent under caste based largely on race. As the United States celebrates the nation’s “triumph over race” with the election of Barack Obama, the majority of young black men in major American cities are locked behind bars or have been labeled felons for life. Although Jim Crow laws have been wiped off the books, an astounding percentage of the African American community remains trapped in a subordinate status – much like their grandparents before them. Alexander shows that, by targeting black men and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control, even as it formally adheres to the principle of color blindness. The New Jim Crow challenges the civil rights community – and all of us – to place mass incarceration at the forefront of a new movement for racial justice in America.

Not My Idea: a Book About Whiteness by Anastasia Higginbotham (picture book)
book cover: Not My Idea in blue letters on a purple felt circle, next to a white girl holding an American flag)Hoopla eBook
A white child sees a TV news report of a white police officer shooting and killing a black man. “In our family, we don’t see color,” his mother says, but he sees the colors plain enough. An afternoon in the library’s history stacks uncover the truth of white supremacy in America. Racism was not his idea and he refuses to defend it.


The Revisioners by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton (adult novel)
book cover: The Revisioners (title in yellow on blue & navy, green & pink, and pink and red striped background)Overdrive eBook
Hoopla eBook
Hoopla eAudio
In 1925, Josephine is the proud owner of a thriving farm. As a child, she channeled otherworldly power to free herself from slavery. Now, her new neighbor, a white woman named Charlotte, seeks her company, and an uneasy friendship grows between them. But Charlotte has also sought solace in the Ku Klux Klan, a relationship that jeopardizes Josephine’s family. Nearly one hundred years later, Josephine’s descendant, Ava, is a single mother who has just lost her job. She moves in with her white grandmother Martha, a wealthy but lonely woman who pays her grandchild to be her companion. But Martha’s behavior soon becomes erratic, then even threatening, and Ava must escape before her story and Josephine’s converge. The Revisioners explores the depths of women’s relationships?powerful women and marginalized women, healers and survivors. It is a novel about the bonds between a mother and a child, the dangers that upend those bonds. At its core, The Revisioners ponders generational legacies, the endurance of hope, and the undying promise of freedom.

Ruby Bridges: a Brave Child Who Made History (on order) by Jeri Cipriano (picture book)
book cover: Ruby Bridges, a Brave Child who made History (African American girl with a big pink hair bow seated at a desk in a classroom)Overdrive eBook
Hoopla eBook
Ruby Bridges just wanted to go to a good school. She did not ask to be a hero, but she knew how to be strong. Her bravery made it possible for classrooms today to be safe places for children of all races.


So You Want to Talk about Race by Ijeoma Oluo (adult nonfiction)
book cover: So You Want to Talk About RacePaperback
Overdrive eBook
Overdrive eAudio 
Hoopla eAudio
A current, constructive, and actionable exploration of today’s racial landscape, offering straightforward clarity that listeners of all races need to contribute to the dismantling of the racial divide. In So You Want to Talk about Race, editor-at-large of the Establishment Ijeoma Oluo offers a contemporary, accessible take on the racial landscape in America, addressing head-on such issues as privilege, police brutality, intersectionality, micro-aggressions, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the “N” word. Perfectly positioned to bridge the gap between people of color and white Americans struggling with race complexities, Oluo answers the questions listeners don’t dare ask, and explains the concepts that continue to elude everyday Americans. Oluo is an exceptional writer with a rare ability to be straightforward, funny, and effective in her coverage of sensitive, hyper-charged issues in America. Her messages are passionate but finely tuned, and crystallize ideas that would otherwise be vague by empowering them with aha-moment clarity. Her writing brings to mind voices like Ta-Nehisi Coates and Roxane Gay, and Jessica Valenti in Full Frontal Feminism, and a young Gloria Naylor, particularly in Naylor’s seminal essay “The Meaning of a Word.”

Stamped From the Beginning: the Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi (adult nonfiction)
book cover: stamped from the beginingOverdrive eBook
Overdrive eAudio
Hoopla eAudio
A current, constructive, and actionable exploration of today’s racial landscape, offering straightforward clarity that listeners of all races need to contribute to the dismantling of the racial divide. Stamped from the Beginning reveals how racist ideas were created, spread, and became deeply rooted in American society.
Some Americans insist that we’re living in a post-racial society. But racist thought is not just alive and well in America—it is more sophisticated and more insidious than ever. And as award-winning historian Ibram X. Kendi argues, racist ideas have a long and lingering history, one in which nearly every great American thinker is complicit.
In this deeply researched and fast-moving narrative, Kendi chronicles the entire story of anti-black racist ideas and their staggering power over the course of American history. He uses the life stories of five major American intellectuals to drive this history: Puritan minister Cotton Mather, Thomas Jefferson, abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, W.E.B. Du Bois, and legendary activist Angela Davis.
As Kendi shows, racist ideas did not arise from ignorance or hatred. They were created to justify and rationalize deeply entrenched discriminatory policies and the nation’s racial inequities.
In shedding light on this history, Stamped from the Beginning offers us the tools we need to expose racist thinking. In the process, he gives us reason to hope.

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi (young adult nonfiction)
book cover: Stamped: Racism, AntiRacism and You (arfican-american silhouette with red striped and the word STAMPED in blue)Large Print
OverDrive eBook
This is NOT a history book.
This is a book about the here and now.
A book to help us better understand why we are where we are.
A book about race.
The construct of race has always been used to gain and keep power, to create dynamics that separate and silence. This remarkable reimagining of Dr. Ibram X. Kendi’s National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning reveals the history of racist ideas in America, and inspires hope for an antiracist future. It takes you on a race journey from then to now, shows you why we feel how we feel, and why the poison of racism lingers. It also proves that while racist ideas have always been easy to fabricate and distribute, they can also be discredited. Through a gripping, fast-paced, and energizing narrative written by beloved award-winner Jason Reynolds, this book shines a light on the many insidious forms of racist ideas—and on ways readers can identify and stamp out racist thoughts in their daily lives.

Stella By Starlight by Sharon M. Draper (middle school novel)
book cover: Stella by Starlight (2 African-American children watching a fire in the background)Overdrive eBook 
Hoopla eAudio
When a burning cross set by the Klan causes panic and fear in 1932 Bumblebee, North Carolina, fifth-grader Stella must face prejudice and find the strength to demand change in her segregated town.



This Book Is Anti-racist by Tiffany Jewell and Aurélia Durand (young adult nonfiction)
Cover: This Book is Anti-RacistOverdrive eBook
Gain a deeper understanding of your anti-racist self as you progress through 20 chapters that spark introspection, reveal the origins of racism that we are still experiencing and give you the courage and power to undo it. Each chapter builds on the previous one as you learn more about yourself and racial oppression. 20 activities get you thinking and help you grow with the knowledge. All you need is a pen and paper. Learn language and phrases to interrupt and disrupt racism. So, when you hear a microaggression or racial slur, you’ll know how to act next time.
This book is written for EVERYONE who lives in this racialized society—including the young person who doesn’t know how to speak up to the racist adults in their life, the kid who has lost themselves at times trying to fit into the dominant culture, the children who have been harmed (physically and emotionally) because no one stood up for them or they couldn’t stand up for themselves and also for their families, teachers and administrators.

The Watsons Go to Birmingham–1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis (middle school novel)
book cover: The Watsons Go To Birmingham -- 1963AudioCD
Overdrive eBook
Overdrive eAudio
The ordinary interactions and everyday routines of the Watsons, an African American family living in Flint, Michigan, are drastically changed after they go to visit Grandma in Alabama in the summer of 1963.


White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin J. DiAngelo (adult non-fiction)
book cover: White Fragility (title in white, fractured like a mirror, on a black background)AudioCD
Overdrive eBook
Overdrive eAudio
In this groundbreaking and timely book, antiracist educator Robin DiAngelo deftly illuminates the phenomenon of white fragility. Referring to the defensive moves that white people make when challenged racially, white fragility is characterized by emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and by behaviors including argumentation and silence. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium and prevent any meaningful cross-racial dialogue. In this in-depth exploration, DiAngelo explores how white fragility develops, how it protects racial inequality, and what we can do to engage more constructively.


These books are available in various formats on two digital platforms: Overdrive) and Hoopla. The Hoopla eAudiobooks and ebooks are available to as many people as would like to check them out. Overdrive items behave more like paper books, most of the time. Usually if all the copies are checked out, you have to wait for a copy to be available. However, as noted above, some formats are available for simultaneous use for a limited time. Other formats may exist in the Overdrive catalog (either the C/W Mars catalog or the partner library’s catalogs), but a person may need to place the item on hold. These platforms require you to have a library card to check them out. If you need help, please contact the Grafton Public Library at or 508-839-4649.

The Friends of the Grafton Public Library and the Grafton Public Library hope to bring people together in calm, respectful conversations that look at the facts of the situation, try to make sense out of them, and hopefully bridge ideological divides.

Please join us!

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