Juneteenth Booklist

by Alyssa Yenzer

Juneteenth Booklist

By Audrey Swartz, Adult Services and Readers’ Advisory Librarian

Wildly varying temperatures and time off school lead to plenty of reading time. These signal that the Kansas summer is upon us. Summer reading has officially started at Manhattan Public Library (the first official day of summer is only weeks away), and our June celebrations around town have begun. This year’s Juneteenth celebration takes place on Saturday, June 15th at Douglass Park. The Unity Walk and vendor booths open at 10:30 am with entertainment going through 8pm. Come visit us at the Manhattan Public Library booth from 11 am to 2 pm. We will have plenty of swag and smiling faces!

This year, the public services librarians created a list of books. These are featured in our subject resources brochure. These books are also featured on the Juneteenth displays located on the second floor of the library. You can find this brochure and our other subject resources online at https://mhklibrary.org/home/online-resources/. We update these annually, so do look for them to change on a yearly basis. You will find the list of books below, but the handout also includes national and local resources and their contact information. As always, all information for these titles has been taken from our catalog, which can be accessed at https://catalog.manhattan.lib.ks.us/polaris/default.aspx.

Adult Books:

All About Love: New Visions” by Bell Hooks. The author examines the role of love in our personal and professional lives and how it can be used to end struggles between individuals, communities and societies.

On Juneteenth” by Annette Gordon-Reed. A commemoration of Juneteenth and the fraught legacies of slavery that still persist, “On Juneteenth” is a stark reminder of the ongoing fight for equality.

Understanding Mass Incarceration” by James Kilgore. We know that “orange is the new black” and mass incarceration is the new Jim Crow, but how much do we actually know about the structure, goals and impact of our criminal justice system?

Kindred” by Octavia Butler. Neither Dana nor Rufus understand his power to summon Dana whenever his life is threatened, nor the significance of the ties that bind them. An extraordinary story of two people bound by blood, separated by so much more than time.

The Vanishing Half” by Brit Bennett. This work considers the lasting influence of the past as it shapes a person’s decisions, desires and expectations. It explores some of the multiple reasons and realms in which people may feel pulled to live as something other.

How Long ‘til Black Future Month” by N.K. Jemisin. These stories sharply examine modern society, infuse magic into the mundane and draw deft parallels in the fantasy realms of the author’s imagination.

Young Adult Books:

Say Her Name” by Zetta Elliott. Inspired by the #SayHerName campaign launched by the African American Policy Forum, these poems pay tribute to victims of police brutality as well as the activists insisting Black Lives Matter.

We Are Not Broken” by George M. Johnson. Johnson captures the unique experience of growing up as a Black boy in America through rich family stories that explore themes of vulnerability, sacrifice and culture.

Freedom!: The Story of the Blank Panther Party” by Jetta Grace Martin, Joshua Bloom, and Waldo E. Martin, Jr. In the beginning, it was a story like any other. It could have been yours and it could have been mine. But once it got going, it became more than any one person could have imagined. This is the story of Huey and Bobby. Eldridge and Kathleen. Elaine and Fred and Ericka. This is the story of the committed party members. Their supporters and allies. The Free Breakfast Program and the Ten Point Program. It’s about Black nationalism, Black radicalism, about Black people in America.

1968: Today’s Authors Explore a Year of Rebellion, Revolution, and Change” edited by Marc Aronson and Susan Campbell Bartoletti. An anthology of essays that explores the tumultuous and pivotal year of 1968, when the generations clashed as thousands of Vietnamese and Americans were killed in war, assassins murdered Dr. Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy, and demonstrators turned out in cities across the globe.

I hope to see you exploring our library, gathering your summer reading prizes, and visiting us at events throughout the summer! Manhattan Public Library is a cornerstone of free and equal access to a world of ideas and information for the Manhattan, Kansas, community. Manhattan Public Library serves more than 75,000 people in the Riley County area through curated book and other media collections, knowledgeable staff, relevant programming for all ages, and meeting space. Learn more at https://mhklibrary.org/.

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Audrey Swartz, Adult Services and Readers’ Advisory Librarian