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Westerly High School Library: Read Woke

Wonder/Connect, Question/Focus, Investigate/Learn, Prepare/Analyze/Synthesize, Express/Create/Communicate, Reflect/Assess

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Read Woke Suggestions

Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera

Juliet Milagros Pilante has a secret.  She tells her family and doesn’t know if her secret will sever ties with her family forever.  Juliet concocts a plan to help her figure out how to cope.  Will she be able to learn how to live out her truth in spite of what her family thinks? Will her problems be too much to handle?




The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas


 Dear Martin by Nic Stone




I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika Sanchez


The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe


Hunger by Roxane Gay

Turtles All The Way Down by John Green

Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina


The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander:  Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness



 All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brenden Kiely


I am Malala :The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban

 Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard


Sugar by Deirdre Riordan Hall


These are just a few books. There are many more. In order to stay woke, you must read woke and remember #booksmatter.  If you see a book, that is not on the list and you think it should be, please feel free to leave the titles in the comments.  Also, visit my IG @mhsmediacenter for more great reads!


Other suggestions

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The beginning - Cicely Lewis



Read Woke is a movement.  It is a feeling.  It is a style.  It is a form of education. It is a call to action;  it is our right as lifelong learners.  It means arming yourself with knowledge in order to better protect your rights.  Knowledge is power and no one can take it away. It means learning about others so that you can treat people with the respect and dignity that they deserve no matter their religion, race, creed, or color.

Parents across the country are having to have “the talk” with their children about ways to prevent the police from seeing them as a threat because of the color of their skin or because of the way they are dressed. Families are being torn apart and deported to countries of which they know nothing.  I was inspired to encourage my students, friends, and family to read in the midst of current events.  Every day I would turn on the T.V. and witness some act of social injustice.  From Trayvon Martin being killed and his murderer walking free to bathroom rights of  the Transgender being challenged, to the travel rights of Muslims being banned, injustices are happening everywhere.  I would come to school and talk about it with my students and many of them had opinions but not much knowledge.  Working in a school with over 70% Latino students and dealing with the repeal of DACA made me even more determined to educate my students and make them more “woke”.  As a library media specialist, I knew that my power was in providing knowledge and access to information.  So, I began researching, reading, and listening to podcasts about books.  I started reaching out to authors via social media and talking with my colleagues to better prepare myself.   Every year I have a theme in my school’s library media center.  Last year it was a Harry Potter theme.  The year before it was “Hit a Grand Slam with Reading”.  This year I knew I had to do something deeper.  With our current political climate, I knew a cheesy theme would not suffice.  I had to address the issues but still remain open to serve the needs of all of my patrons.  One day while perusing my magazine orders, I came across the Stay Woke edition of Essence Magazine.  It featured prominentread woke black women like Shonda Rhimes, Angela Rye, and more.  The women were all wearing these shirts that said, “Stay Woke!”.  I loved it and I immediately knew that I wanted to start a Read Woke movement at my school’s library.  I had my theme for the year and I knew just the books to include to encourage my young readers to #readwoke!    In order for a book to be woke it must meet the following criteria

  • Challenge a social norm
  • Tell the side of the oppressed
  • Provide information about a group that has been disenfranchised
  • Seek to challenge the status quo
  • Shed light on an issue that many may not perceive as being an issue

Students are encouraged to read these books and complete a reading challenge.  If they complete the challenge, they can win a shirt, a picture on our ReadWoke wall, and a free book.  Our circulation has increased as a result and we even have teachers onboard who have earned shirts.

By compiling this list of books and creating the reading challenge, I am hopeful that we can enlighten a generation.  I welcome your feedback.