just mercyBy Amanda Tobier, English Teacher, Bronx Lab School

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At the high school I work at in the Bronx, we started a book club for teachers last year. It is a great way to spend time with colleagues when we are more ourselves, and not always acting as an educator or administrator. As with any book club, we spend a lot of time deciding on the menu, and enjoy putting our feet up on the comfortable chairs in the school library. And sometimes, like other book clubs, we stray off topic . . .

But when we turned our attention to Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy, we were immediately gripped by what we were reading. Even before our first meeting, we were emailing each other with pages that blew us away. By the time we met, we had all finished reading the book—an accomplishment for busy educators!—and we were looking forward to discussing. (more…)

9781101907290The Universal Academy for the College Bound (UACB) High School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin is launching a City-Wide Community Engagement book club for youth and adult mentors and has chosen several Penguin Random House titles for the inaugural program: Jay Z’s Decoded (Spiegel & Grau), Wes Moore’s The Other Wes Moore (Spiegel & Grau), and Shaka Senghor’s Writing My Wrongs (Convergent Books).

In total, the school’s English department selected eleven fiction and nonfiction titles by African American authors that, according to their press release, “highlight Social Justice issues that parallel youth’s lives across the city, poverty, homelessness, and being raised in single-parent households.” UACB is led by Universal Companies, the only African American charter school management company in the country, and aims to promote literacy, increase reading ability, and provide mentorship opportunities for its students through the book club program by exposing them to books that they can relate to. (more…)