When I first started working at the Ignacio Library, one of the fun tasks of the staff was creating displays. I enjoyed pulling books and other materials on a particular topic and adding fun facts and additional information about authors, books and more to these displays.
The month of February is Black History Month, and I thought I’d like to highlight a few literary figures that folks might have missed. I don’t usually do book or author recommendations here, but this month I just couldn’t resist.
First is Jason Reynolds, the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature for 2020-21. As I delved more into his writings and checked out his website and various interviews with him, I was again reminded of the impact a book can have on us all. He writes for kids, Black kids yes, but really all kids, so that they know there is someone out there who has felt what they feel, experienced what they’ve experienced and made it to the other side. We should all read his work and recommend it to the kids in our life!
I also love the work of illustrator and author Kadir Nelson, especially the book “If You Plant a Seed.” If you have a chance, check out his work; the beauty and exuberance of his paintings reflect, to me, the diversity, beauty and wonder both of humans and of the natural world.
Lastly, I would recommend the book “Just Mercy” by Bryan Stevenson. I read it a few years ago and still believe it’s a book most of us should read. It provided me with an education about our judicial system that I was lacking. It’s also a decent movie, but of course I think the book is far, far better.
There are so many more authors and titles I could offer here, but space and time do not permit. I do know, however, that all four library districts have staff members who love to talk books with their patrons, and I hope you will give them that opportunity. Please reach out and let us know how we can help find books that interest you, especially books that you might not normally locate.
I love that I can look to books to help me understand other people’s experiences, or at least to get a glimpse of worlds and realities outside my own. I hope that this helps me to become more compassionate, more open and more aware as I navigate through life.
Marcia Vining is director of Ignacio Community Library.