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Reading Woke: Creating a Diverse Books Program for Students

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Read Woke Logo

Last fall, we attended the School Library Journal Leadership Summit in Brooklyn, N.Y. The theme of the conference was “Make Good Trouble.” During that whirlwind weekend of learning, we attended a breakout session with Cicely Lewis, the school librarian who started the movement known as Read Woke.

According to an article Ms. Lewis wrote for School Library Journal, woke books:

Black Superhero Showcase

In honor of Black History Month in February, the Portland Library held an all-ages event with screenings, games and activities celebrating black superheroes. We screened episodes of “Static Shock,” a TV show from the early '00s that featured a black superhero, and had an array of games, coloring pages and a book display.

We have held the event for the past four years, and it has grown in popularity each time.

American Girl Doll Mystery Event

Woman sitting at table with little girl doing crafts

Our library has a collection of American Girl Dolls and a multicultural collection with artifacts from all over the world. Both circulating collections are very popular.

We decided to create a program linking the artifacts to the historical American Girl dolls based on the characters’ causes, the beliefs they stood for, and what their corresponding books are about.

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