Richard Wright And The Library Card

As a young black man in the segregated South of the 1920s, Wright was hungry to explore new worlds through books, but was forbidden from borrowing them from the library. This touching account tells of his love of reading, and how his unwavering perseverance, along with the help of a co-worker, came together to make Richard’s dream a reality An inspirational story for children of all backgrounds, Richard Wright and the Library Card shares a poignant turning point in the life of a young man who became one of this country’s most brilliant writers, the author of Native Son and Black Boy. This book is the third in a series of biographies by William Miller, including Zora Hurston and the Chinaberry Tree and Frederick Douglass: The Last Day of Slavery. All focus on important moments in the lives of these prominent African Americans.

About The Author

R. GREGORY CHRISTIE has illustrated many books for young readers, among them three Coretta Scott King Honors: The Palm of My Heart: Poetry by African Amercian Children, Brothers in Hope: The Story of the Lost Boys of Sudan, and Only Passing Through: The Story of Sojourner Truth, which also was named a New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Books of the Year, along with Stars in the Darkness. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Read Aloud Tips

  • Set the tone for classroom discourse surrounding civil rights and social justice.

  • Think about ways that issues could be debated as a class (use the debate centers).

  • Discuss how day-to-day life might look different for black and white Americans in the 1920s.

  • Ask students to reflect on what they might do if they encountered  or were Richard Wright.

“An episode from the autobiography of Richard Wright is skillfully fictionalized, resulting in a suspenseful and gratifying story about the power of reading…A challenging endeavor, and an accomplished one.” – Kirkus Reviews

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