I hope you all have been safe during the pandemic, and safe if you are attending protests in your area. Being laid off days after George Floyd’s murder meant that I had A LOT of time to research, educate, and become sickened, shocked, disgusted, angry, insert negative adjective here, over how Black people are still being treated…in 2020.
On youtube, I turned to Black booktubers to hear their experiences, and to go back through their videos to find books that might help me better understand. If I didn’t already own a book that interested me I began putting them on hold at my library. Ideally, I would have purchased these books to help support their authors, but being laid off takes that option off the table.
I wanted to read more books that celebrated Black voices, Black authors, and Black spaces. I also wanted books that shed light on the struggles of being Black, not just in America, but in the world.
My library reopened today, at 50% capacity. I have many friends who work at this library, and have been getting some of the inside scoop on what’s been going on while patrons were supposed to be quarantined.
In case you’re nervous/worried/anxious to return to your library when it reopens (if it hasn’t already), here is my experience:
- *all libraries are different and will have different protocols in place, this is just what I experienced at my local library*
- I parked far away from the entrance, and was not near any other cars or patrons
- There were about 5-6 people going into the library or leaving the library when I arrived
- When I entered I was greeted by two employees who were behind a table and both wearing masks (I was also wearing a mask)
- I had books I needed to return, as well as books to pick up that had been placed on hold
- There was a special return book drop where I left my books before proceeding to the circulation desk
- At the circulation desk there were markers on the floor denoting 6 feet of distance between patrons, there were plastic/Plexiglas dividers between patrons and staff, staff were wearing masks as well as gloves
- All drinking fountains were covered, all chairs and seating areas in the front of the library had been removed (there is a larger seating area with computers towards the back of the library I was unable to view from the circulation desk, so I’m unsure if those areas were still available)
- The check out process was the same as usual, with the exception of books being passed through a hole in the divider
- Patrons were still allowed to roam through the shelves and select their own books from the available material
This post as had a lot of preamble for a book haul, but there’s a lot going on in the world: a global pandemic, world wide unrest at the injustice and racism experienced by Black lives everywhere. To say there’s a lot going on would be an understatement.
The first book I put on hold is a book I have a Netgalley ARC of called I Wanna Be Where You Are by Kristina Forest. This book follows a young girl who is secretly auditioning for a dance company. In order to go without her mom finding out, our main character somehow involves her annoying neighbor (who may or may not be hot), and they end up on a road trip together.
This book sounds very cute, and just what I want to read right now. I was a dancer for 20+ years, and have never read a fictional book with a dancer as a main character. I’m excited to find out if this is a subject I love in books as well as in real life.
Elizabeth Acevedo is a Dominican author that I have been dying to read. My goal is to read all of her books, and I decided to start with With the Fire on High.
This novel follows a young girl chasing her culinary dreams, while caring for her daughter and her abuela. The question is, what will she have to sacrifice to make her dream of owning her own kitchen come true?
I have seen this photo all over the internet since George Floyd’s death. It gave me such hope and inspiration for change in our present and future. When I found out Dr. François Clemmons wrote a memoir of his life titled, Officer Clemmons, I had to snatch it up.
As a homosexual Black man, Clemmons developed a life long friendship with everyone’s neighbor, Fred Rogers. I cannot wait to read about his life and experiences. This book was recommended by Bowties & Books on youtube. You can watch their video here!
Just hearing about this book broke my heart, and I knew I had to read it. Black Brother, Black Brother by Jewell Parker Rhodes, follows two brothers. One is white passing, while the other is not.
This is a middle grade novel that details the boys’ journey and follows their individual struggles with identity. If this book is as good as I think it’s going to be, I might have to dip into the savings account and make it a permanent home on my shelves. This book was recommended by BookinItWithAhtiya on youtube. You can watch their video here!
Look at this gorgeous graphic novel! Blackbird: Vol I The Great Beast was recommended by Brewsandbooks on youtube. You can watch their video here!
This graphic novel has a BIPOC main character, and follows her through a hidden world of magic, beasts, and ruthless cabals. I’m so excited to dive into this art style and this story.
If you’ve made it this far in this extremely long post, thank you so much for reading! What books have you picked up to support Black voices this month? Are libraries open near you yet? Let’s chat in the comments below!
As always, I hope you all are safe and well, and reading amazing books.