CLICK HERE for quick access to the materials for the 2016-17 Speculative Fiction Genre Study.
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I can come to your library, book club meeting, or conference to talk about how to help your readers find their next good read. Click here for more information.

Monday, January 16, 2017

MLK Jr. Day at the Newberry Library with Hamilton!

Today both of my kids are off of school and we are headed with a friend and her son to the Newberry Library to see their brand new Hamilton exhibit.

I have posted a screen shot of the details at the end of this post if you are interested.

I am glad my Hamilton obsessed kids want to spend their day off at the Newberry library. But I think on this holiday, in particular, it is important to spend at least a few minutes thinking about our country, its history-- the good and the bad-- and our part in it today. How can we make America better like the revolutionary generation or MLK Jr. did? What is our part to play? Going to this exhibit will allow us to engage in those conversations.

We will also being going on a Civil Rights themed spring break trip this year. My hope is that as a family, we can talk, study, and experience our way through the next year and beyond by grounding ourselves in what democracy means-- what it truly means in all of its messy, imperfect, beauty. We are trying to not be reactionary, but we do know what we hold dear-- equality and freedom-- and we are willing to fight for it.

The reason I am sharing this is that I think that we are probably not the only family out there struggling to make sense of our country today. Where are we going? What is our place in the journey? What is going to happen to America? The revolutionary generation felt this. People alive during MLK Jr’s time did too?

These are questions that we can help our patrons with too. Right now is a good time to put up displays and make lists about tumultuous times in American history. Combine fiction and nonfiction, put audio and movies out. I would even argue to put all ages of material together so that the entire family can be a part of the conversation. Think broadly. These are questions all sides of the political argument are engaged with. Just because we have different ways to attack these huge questions, does not mean that the questions themselves are that different.

Readers’ Advisory-- leisure reading in general- is the best place to start these hard conversations. It is an entertaining way to introduce people to larger concepts, questions, and issues. It allows the harder questions, the deeper thinking issues, to come at you more slowly. Leisure reading opens us up to different ideas, places, times. It gives us perspective while it entertains us.

Still don’t think leisure reading can lead toward activism and change? Well Obama does. Read this article about his secret to surviving eight years as President. [Hint, the answer is books!]

Don’t underestimate the power of a good book. And, today is the perfect day to start.
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