[DiverseKidLit] Freedom in a Library Card in Richard Wright’s Story

Myra here.

Welcome to #DiverseKidLit ! Please join us in sharing your diverse children’s book links and resources, as well as visiting other links to find great suggestions and recommendations.

What Is #DiverseKidLit?

Diverse Children’s Books is a book-sharing meme designed to promote the reading and writing of children’s books that feature diverse characters. This community embraces all kinds of diversity including (and certainly not limited to) diverse, inclusive, multicultural, and global books for children of all backgrounds.

We encourage everyone who shares to support this blogging community by visiting and leaving comments for at least three others. Please also consider following the hosts on at least one of their social media outlets. Spread the word using #diversekidlit and/or adding our button to your site and your diverse posts.

DiverseKidLit

We hope this community serves as a resource for parents, teachers, librarians, publishers, and authors! Our next linkup will be Saturday, December 2nd and the first Saturday of each month.

Most Clicked Post from Last Time

The most-clicked post from the previous #diversekidlit was Svenja’s incredible resource: 37 children’s books to help talk about racism and discrimination. This list is helpfully divided into books for elementary, middle, and high school ages and includes a brief description of each along with the cover image. Definitely one to bookmark and come back to again and again!

We are about to conclude our #metareading theme, and I thought it would be great to wrap it up with this liberating story about Richard Wright and his library card.


Richard Wright And The Library Card

Written byWilliam Miller Illustrated by: Gregory Christie
Published by: Lee & Low Books, 1997 ISBN: 1880000881 (ISBN13: 9781880000885) Literary Award: Honor Book, Society of School Librarians International.
Borrowed from the NIE Library. Book photos taken by me. 

Richard had always been fascinated with words. He loved how his grandfather would tell him stories about the war, or how his mother would share stories from her childhood. While he hungered for books, his family could not afford to buy books, nor could he attend school. He found solace in his mother’s read-aloud of the funny papers, teaching him the power of reading.

Perhaps what is most heartbreaking for me was how Richard Wright was not permitted to visit the library and borrow books because of the colour of his skin. Palpable throughout the pages was the sense of fear from both the Black folks and the White people. It was fortunate that Richard was able to find a somewhat-reluctant ally in Jim Falk, a White man who kept to himself.

Using Falk’s library card, Richard borrowed books from the librarian who regarded him with suspicion and who made him feel like a trespasser inside the library, a person unworthy of its liberating space.

Yet, Richard did not let that deter him from claiming his own liberation through books:

With the light of the sun coming through the window, Richard put down the book. He felt sleepy, but the words he had read echoed in his ears, colored everything he saw. He wondered if he would act differently, if others would see how the books had changed him.

Richard knew he would never be the same again.

This is a thoroughly inspiring story of the freedom that can be had in reading. As William Miller put in the dedication page to his son Julian, “books are the road to the promised land.”

#DiverseKidLit is Hosted by:

Katie @ The Logonauts
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / PinterestBecky @ Franticmommmy
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Bethany @ Biracial Bookworms
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Carolina @ La Clase de Sra. DuFault
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Gauri @ Kitaab World
an online bookstore for South Asian children’s books, toys and games
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Gayle Swift, Author of ABC, Adoption & Me
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Marjorie @ Mirrors Windows Doors
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Mia @ Pragmatic Mom
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Myra @ Gathering Books
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Shoumi Sen, Author of Toddler Diaries
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Want to be notified when the next #diversekidlit linkup goes live? Click here to join the mailing list. Interested in joining as a host or an occasional co-host? Contact katie at thelogonauts.com.

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2 Comments on [DiverseKidLit] Freedom in a Library Card in Richard Wright’s Story

  1. A wonderful book – and I just realised, reading your post, that it was published 20 years ago – definitely stood the test of time – and will continue way beyond the next 290, I think!

    Like

  2. That book sounds amazing. I’ve added it to my to-read list. Thank you!

    Like

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