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Marinette County libraries offer Read Woke Challenge

MARINETTE, Wis. — The Marinette County Public Libraries has begun the Read Woke Challenge for children, teens and adults of all ages.

The challenge invites people to read one book in each of 12 categories over the course of the year and complete related activities. Readers can register and participate online at marinettecountylibraries.beanstack.org/365.

What does it mean to Read Woke? According to the movement’s founder, librarian 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 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.”

Lewis started this concept of Reading Woke in 2017 with her students in a Georgia High School, and it has grown with national attention as it empowers readers and transforms lives. Because stories reveal the thoughts and feelings of characters over a period of time, books have a unique ability to allow readers to identify with characters in individual circumstances. When reading stories of different experiences, those stories provide an opportunity to understand the struggles and viewpoints of others, accept perceived “otherness” of people, and generate hope for the healing divided communities.

“Have you ever read a book and thought: ‘Whoa. I never thought about it like that before’ or ‘I didn’t realize it was like that for someone else’?” Marinette County Librarian Mariel Carter asked. “I know this experience has happened to me after reading a book that challenged my assumptions or was on a topic I didn’t know much about.”

For this challenge, readers get to choose which books to read for each of the categories. In general, Lewis states a Woke Book will “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; or shed light on an issue that many may not perceive as an issue.”

The Marinette County Consolidated Public Library Services’ Read Woke Challenge runs from now through Dec. 31. For more information and to register to participate, go online to www.marinettecountylibraries.org.

For questions, contact librarians Mariel Carter or Lara Lakari at 715-732-7570.

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