Great Stories Book Club Comes to Turlington

Suffolk Public Library was one of 100 library systems nationwide chosen for the Great Stories Book Club, and the library chose to partner with Turlington Woods Alternative for the program.

The Great Stories Book Club is a competitive grant offered by the American Library Association to provide reading and discussion groups for underserved teens. Suffolk Public Library received 11 copies of four different books relating to the chosen theme. The grant from the American Library library
Association serves to provide reading and discussion groups for underserved teens. Suffolk Public Library chose empathy as its theme and received copies of books for local teens to delve into.

“We chose the theme “empathy” for the Great Stories Book Club because the books and discussions allow students to explore conflicts through a variety of perspectives,” Teen Services Senior Librarian, Asa Heyward, said in a press release.

One group of students read a book about a teen diagnosed with cerebral palsy, who is very intelligent but cannot communicate that with his family. Another group wrote about two young boys, one black and one white, dealing with racism and police brutality in their community.

There could be no more important time in American history for young people to learn more about empathy. Placing one’s self in another’s shoes and seeing things from their perspective is a skill far too lacking in our society.

Exploring issues of power and how marginalized people are treated in America is an excellent project for students at Turlington Woods, and the teachers there should be commended for embracing this project.

Suffolk Public Library does an excellent job identifying, pursuing and getting grants that will help better serve all of Suffolk’s citizens at no cost to them, and this is another great example. We appreciate all they’ve done to improve their services.

High school students had the opportunity to read “Stuck in Neutral” by Terry Trueman.

Middle school students had the opportunity to read “All American Boys” by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely, and they started the second session in mid-October.

“I chose those books because it’s important that teens and adults have a dialogue about empathy,” Heyward said.

The titles were selected in consultation with humanities scholars and librarians to inspire teens — especially those facing difficult circumstances or challenges — to consider big questions about the world around them and their place in it, ultimately affecting how they view themselves as thinkers and creators.

“All American Boys” follows the perspectives of two young boys, one black and one white, and how they deal with police brutality and racism in their community.

The story covers themes like empathy, protest, and racism, and the five students in the club spent time discussing the book with Heyward and their teacher, Mrs. Rebecca Davidson.



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