A message of shared values animated an afternoon keynote, too, in which Ibram X. Kendi (How to Be an Antiracist) and Nic Stone (Dear Martin) sat down with moderator Nicole Cooke of the University of South Carolina School of Information Science. Cooke asked Kendi and Stone about their recent project, an adaptation for readers ages 12 and up called How to Be a (Young) Antiracist.

When Stone read Stamped, Jason Reynolds’s young readers’ edition of Kendi’s Stamped from the Beginning, she reached out to Kendi about adapting How to Be an Antiracist. A young readers’ edition felt “necessary, because if you look at social movements throughout history that have managed to bring about significant change, a lot are driven by young people,” Stone said.

Kendi welcomed the opportunity to provide a new resource. “When I think of my own developing consciousness about racism, it took dozens and dozens of books” to feel informed, he explained. He liked working with Stone, a fiction writer, because “those of us who write nonfiction need to learn how to pay attention to development of stories, to characters,” to make history “more accessible to young readers.”

Cooke raised what she called “the inevitable question” of book bans that stand in the way of antiracist action. Pointing out that book burning fueled the Holocaust, Stone encouraged librarians and teachers to teach young people about the dangers of censorship and the importance of reading. Kendi urged library workers to mobilize “in a proactive as opposed to reactive fashion,” to “guard against” bans before they’re initiated.

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