2021-22 Book List:
The Upswing: How America Came Together a Century and How We Can Do It Again
By Robert D. Putnam
In a sweeping overview of more than a century of history, drawing on his inimitable combination of statistical analysis and storytelling, Robert Putnam analyzes a remarkable confluence of trends that brought us from an “I” society to a “We” society and then back again. He draws inspiring lessons for our time from an earlier era, when a dedicated group of reformers righted the ship, putting us on a path to becoming a society once again based on community. Engaging, revelatory, and timely, this is Putnam’s most ambitious work yet, a fitting capstone to a brilliant career.
The Hill We Climb and Other Poems
By Amanda Gorman
Including “The Hill We Climb,” the stirring poem read at the inauguration of the 46th President of the United States, Joe Biden, this collection of the same name reveals an energizing and unforgettable new voice in America poetry.
Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents
By Isabel Wilkerson
In this brilliant book, Isabel Wilkerson gives us a masterful portrait of an unseen phenomenon in America as she explores, through an immersive, deeply researched narrative and stories about real people, how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human rankings.
By Tommy Orange
Tommy Orange’s wondrous and shattering bestselling novel follows twelve characters from Native communities: all traveling to the Big Oakland Powwow, all connected to one another in ways they may not yet realize. Among them is Jacquie Red Feather, newly sober and trying to make it back to the family she left behind. Dene Oxendene, pulling his life together after his uncle’s death and working at the powwow to honor his memory. Fourteen-year-old Orvil, coming to perform traditional dance for the very first time. Together, this chorus of voices tells of the plight of the urban Native American—grappling with a complex and painful history, with an inheritance of beauty and spirituality, with communion and sacrifice and heroism.
The Second Founding: How the Civil War and Reconstruction Remade the Constitution
By Eric Foner
An authoritative history by the preeminent scholar of the Civil War era, The Second Founding traces the arc of the three foundational Reconstruction amendments from their origins in antebellum activism and adoption amidst intense postwar politics to their virtual nullification by narrow Supreme Court decisions and Jim Crow state laws. Today these amendments remain strong tools for achieving the American ideal of equality, if only we will take them up.
Just Mercy: A True Story of the Fight for Justice
By Bryan Stevenson
In this very personal work–adapted from the original #1 bestseller, which the New York Times calls “as compelling as To Kill a Mockingbird, and in some ways more so”–acclaimed lawyer and social justice advocate Bryan Stevenson offers a glimpse into the lives of the wrongfully imprisoned and his efforts to fight for their freedom.
Stevenson’s story is one of working to protect basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society–the poor, the wrongly convicted, and those whose lives have been marked by discrimination and marginalization. Through this adaptation, young people of today will find themselves called to action and compassion in the pursuit of justice.
More about We the Readers Book Club:
We the Readers Book Club is meant to feed our minds and hearts. Conversation is around the book’s content and constitutional, legal, and/or civic connections, but does not necessarily relate to any curriculum or teaching. The book club is meant to build friendships and community between teachers and colleagues in your area. You can also participate in discussions by joining the We the Readers Book Club Discussion Group on Facebook.
- No Book Club participant is required to attend all of the meetings.
- 3 PDU hours are available for each meeting you DO attend.