Decolonizing your bookshelf has been a clarion call these past six months since the rise of anti-racism book lists after the death of George Floyd. However, what does that term mean? Decolonizing your bookshelf means essentially actively looking for and reading works by authors of color that have been marginalized by colonial structures of power.
Although there is no one way to support emerging BIPOC librarians, we can all agree: It is transformative when you exercise the opportunity to do so. If you want to support social justice and intellectual freedom education, the “Be the Change” Book Bundle is for you. Revenues from the “Be the Change” eBook Bundle will go to ALA general fund initiatives, including the Spectrum Scholarship Program.
The Spectrum Scholarship Program is ALA’s response to addressing the under-representation of librarians of color within the profession. Part of the proceeds will also go to the Freedom to Read Foundation‘s litigation and education initiatives supporting free speech and the right to read.
Through Feb. 8, Humble Bundle, in partnership with ALA, offers a thoroughly curated collection called “Be the Change.” There are 50 books written by people of color and highlight different genres, such as graphic novels, history books, and biographies with a retail value of more than $800. “Be the Change” spotlights diverse eBooks and audiobooks featuring authors, creators, and characters of color.
Here are a few books featured in this collection:
Octavia E. Butler’s “Kindred: A Graphic Novel,” by Damian Duffy and John Jennings
“Octavia E. Butler’s bestselling literary science-fiction masterpiece, Kindred, now in graphic novel format. More than 35 years after its release, Kindred continues to draw in new readers with its deep exploration of the violence and loss of humanity caused by slavery in the United States, and its complex and lasting impact on the present day. Adapted by celebrated academics and comics artists Damian Duffy and John Jennings, this graphic novel powerfully makes Butler’s mysterious and moving story, which spans racial and gender divides in the antebellum South through the 20th century. Kindred offers an unflinching look at our complicated social history, transformed by the graphic novel format into a visually stunning work for a new generation of readers.”
“Overground Railroad,” by Candacy Taylor
“The first book to explore the historical role and residual impact of the Green Book, a travel guide for black motorists. Published from 1936 to 1966, the Green Book was hailed as the “black travel guide to America.” At that time, it was extremely dangerous and difficult for African Americans to travel because black travelers couldn’t eat, sleep, or buy gas at most white-owned businesses. The Green Book listed hotels, restaurants, gas stations, and other businesses that were safe for black travelers. It took courage to be listed in the Green Book, and Overground Railroad celebrates the stories of those who put their names in the book and stood up against segregation.”
“The Sisters Are Alright: Changing the Broken Narrative of Black Women in America,” by Tamara Winfrey Harris
“The Sisters Are Alright exposes anti–black–woman propaganda and shows how real black women are pushing back against distorted cartoon versions of themselves. Tamara Winfrey Harris delves into marriage, motherhood, health, sexuality, beauty, and more, taking sharp aim at pervasive stereotypes about black women. She counters warped prejudices with the straight-up truth about being a black woman in America. “We have facets like diamonds,” she writes. “The trouble is the people who refuse to see us sparkling.”
“Step into Your Power,” by Jamia Wilson and illustrated Andrea Pippins
Listen up! You have heard about heroes and read about the greats, but you’re not feeling so great yourself right now? Learn from the lived experience of author Jamia Wilson and illustrator Andrea Pippins as they mentor you through growing up in the modern world and teach you how to Step into Your Power. How do you change your mindset when you cannot change your situation? There’s self-care advice and activities on every page you can take and make your very own. Take this time to explore what it means to know and trust your insights and capabilities with stories, images, activities, and resources. A warm and friendly growing-up guide, crucial for the time we are living in right now.
“Falling in Love with Hominids,” by Nalo Hopkinson
“Falling in Love with Hominids presents more than a dozen years of Hopkinson’s new, uncollected fiction, much of which has been unavailable in print, including one original story. Her singular, vivid tales, which mix the modern with Afro-Caribbean folklore, are occupied by creatures unpredictable and strange: chickens that breathe fire, adults who eat children, and spirits that haunt shopping malls.
“Neveryona,” by Samuel R. Delany
“The second volume in Samuel R. Delany’s Return to Nevèrÿon cycle, Neveryóna is the longer of its two full-length novels. (The other is The Tale of Plagues and Carnivals.) An intriguing meditation on the power of language, the rise of cities, and the dawn of myth, markets, and money, it is a truly wonder-filled adventure. This eBook features an illustrated biography of Samuel R. Delany including rare images from his early career.”
“Your Black Friend,” by Ben Passmore
Ben Passmore’s necessary contribution to the dialogue around race in the United States, Your Black Friend is a letter from your black friend to you about race, racism, friendship and alienation. Inspired by Frantz Fanon’s White Skin, Black Masks, Your Black Friend is just as direct, immediate, and necessary as Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me and Claudia Rankine’s Citizen.
“This Book Is Anti-Racist,” by Tiffany Jewell and illustrated by Aurelia Durand
“Gain a deeper understanding of your anti-racist self as you progress through 20 chapters that spark introspection, reveal the origins of racism that we are still experiencing and give you the courage and power to undo it. 20 activities get you thinking and help you grow with the knowledge. All you need is a pen and paper. Author Tiffany Jewell, an anti-bias, anti-racist educator, and activist, builds solidarity beginning with the language she chooses – using gender neutral words to honor everyone who reads the book. Illustrator Aurélia Durand brings the stories and characters to life with kaleidoscopic vibrancy.”
“The Black Mage,” by Daniel Barnes
“When St. Ivory Academy, a historically white wizarding school, opens its doors to its first-ever black student, everyone believes that the wizarding community is finally taking its first crucial steps toward inclusivity. Or is it? When Tom Token, the beneficiary of the school’s “Magical Minority Initiative,” begins uncovering weird clues and receiving creepy texts on his phone, he and his friend, Lindsay, stumble into a conspiracy that dates all the way back to the American Civil War and could cost Tom his very soul.”
To learn more about the “Be the Change” Book Bundle, click here.
Before joining Lynn University as an outreach librarian, Sabine was a teacher and librarian at YOUmedia Miami, a media technology program at the Miami-Dade Public Library System for teens and before that was a content specialist in programming and production with WPBT-TV South Florida PBS in Miami. Currently, she is an adjunct professor at Lynn University’s College of Communication and Design, and is one of the primary faculty advisors for the student newspaper, iPulse. As an outreach librarian at the Lynn Library, her research specialties and liaison area are to the Communication and Education students. Sabine is writing her first book on empathy-based library marketing and communications and how to be equitable and inclusive in libraries with ALA-ACRL. Her Master’s degree in Library and Information Science and Master’s degree in Mass Media and Journalism are from Clarion University in Pennsylvania.