The Literary Freedom Project believes that cultural identity is a fundamental cornerstone in the development of smart, creative, and focused communities. These qualities, on which families and neighborhoods are sustained and strengthened, are honed, in part, through a mix immersive reading –academic, vocational, and pleasure.
With professional instruction from a teaching-artist our book clubs engage in a literary “call and response” by reading and discussing books that reflect a variety of communities. We create flexible reading and writing programs that meet the needs of many populations including teenagers, after-school, out-of-school, and senior citizens.
The key to making our book clubs work as a stepping stone to stronger community reading is to have participants paired with friends and family. It’s these connections, supplemented with instruction, that will create an intergenerational culture of reading for pleasure.
Participants will read a pre-selected title chosen by a committee of educators and writers. Potential titles include Down These Mean Streets by Piri Thomas, Where A Nickel Costs A Dime by Willie Perdomo; The Beautiful Struggle by TaNehisi Coates; Brown Girl Brownstone by Paule Marshall; and The Known World by Edward Jones; and Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc. Selections will include fiction, nonfiction, and poetry; and reflect such urban sensibilities as race, gender, culture, and economics. It’s important that the selections connect to the urban communities in which the workshops are scheduled to take place.
Each book club meets once per week for 8 weeks. Clubs are ideally limited to 16 participants -teenagers and adults. When available, the author of the reading selection will join the final session to interact with the participants and make real the idea of writing as a viable vocational option for the young people and instill in the parents that reading is an important tool for success. The discussions will help meet our mission to increase cultural identity, promote reading, and strengthen literacy.