Black History Month in the Library

In honor of Black History Month, the Wheelock College Library has put together this display celebrating the written works of black authors, poets, playwrights, essayist, journalists and activists. Though these books are in our display case, you can actually take them out. Just ask the Library Service Desk staff to bring them upBlackAuthors
In the display case are works by the following authors: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Maya Angelou, James Baldwin, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Edwidge Danticat, Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. Dubois, Langston Hughes, Andre Lorde, and Toni Morrison.

Here are a few I wanted to highlight:
americanah book coverChimamanda Ngozi Adichie – Adichie is a Nigerian author of several critically acclaimed books – including Americanah, last year’s summer reading book for Wheelock’s incoming first years. It tells the story of a young Nigerian woman, who immigrates to the US to study, and her observations and experiences of race and racism in America.


Ta-Nehisi Coates – American journalist and novelist, Coates, has been getting a lot of attention for hisbetween the world and me book cover writings on the black experience. His latest book, Between the World and Me, gets checked out as soon as it’s checked back in. Between the World and Me is written as a letter to his son and imparts to him what it means to be black in the US, specifically about the pattern of violence against blacks, and the feeling of fear instilled in black men.  If the book is checked out, I suggest you read his memoir, The Beautiful Struggle, about Coates’s experiences growing up in Baltimore.  As he is a national correspondent for The Atlantic, you can read many of his articles and essays online, including “The Case for Reparations” and “There is No Post-Racial America”.

breath eyes memory book coverEdwidge Danticat – Check out her book, Breath, Eyes, and Memory, which tells the story of a young Haitian girl, Sophie, who has just moved to New York, reuniting with a mother she’s never met. As the product of her mother’s violent rape, Sophie struggles to come to terms with her identity and to cope with her mother’s trauma. While we have several of Danticat’s books in the display case, her latest book is a picture book, Mama’s Nightingale: a Story of Immigration and Separation and we have it on the New Books Shelf. It tells the story of a mother and daughter who are separated when the mother is taken away for being an illegal immigrant.


playinginthedarkToni Morrison – Toni Morrison is best known for her little cloudpoignant, and often times heartbreaking, novels, most notably The Bluest Eye, Beloved, and The Song of Solomon. Did you know she also wrote children’s books, non-fiction, essays, plays, and even a libretto for an opera? Check out her book, Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination, which talks about the role of blacks and blackness in early white American Literature. For something much less heavy, check out Little Cloud and Lady Wind. It is a story about Little Cloud who wants to do her own thing and doesn’t want to join in with the other clouds in scaring the earth with storms.  However, this leaves her feeling lonely.

monster (by Walter Dean Myers) book cover

Walter Dean Myers – If you’re looking for young adult books by black authors, Walter Dean Myers is one of the most prolific, with several award-winners.  His books tend to be centered about the black male youth experience.  Monster is a story about the trial of a 16 year old teenage boy, who is being charged with felony murder. The format of the story is told in a mix of screenplay and journal entries, as the protagonist has an interest in filmmaking.  You should also check out Fallen Angels, which is a story about a young soldier’s experiences in the Vietnam War.


words with wings book cover

Nikki Grimes – While her books are not in the display case, if you’re looking for children’s books by black authors, try Nikki Grimes.  She has written many books, several of which have won awards.  Because this is a post about writers, I will highlight her picture book, Words with Wings, about a girl who loves to daydream and finds an outlet for them in writing.

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Screen capture of research guide

Anti-racism Resources for White Allies

During fall semester, one of the things that faculty and staff members heard from students was that there is a need and desire for materials that would support individual learning about how to be a white anti-racist ally. Jenne Powers, Assistant Professor of Humanities and Writing, initiated a conversation with Roz and me about this, and we decided that a great place to link to materials on this topic would be a library research guide. Writing Center Director Gillian Devereux also contributed good ideas to this effort. We worked on it in November and December, and this January, we were ready to unveil our resource guide, “Anti-racism resources for white allies.”

Screen capture of research guideWe hope it provides some places to get started! Like we say on the guide, it’s a work in progress, and we invite the participation of the Wheelock community.  Do you want to suggest a resource?  Email us.  Have feedback to share?  Sing it out.  Notice a broken link?  Let us know.


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Heeding the Call to Service and Higher Education

The Library’s very own Eric Clark was recently featured in a video on the Wheelock College website. Eric has been one of our student workers since the fall of 2015. In the video, Eric talks about his passion for helping others and how it led him to return to school and pursue a degree in Social Work. He brings to work with him every day the same enthusiasm and commitment he applies to his studies.

Check out the video below, or find it here on the college’s website.

We love that the video features so many scenes of Eric working and studying in the library! He is an absolute pleasure to work with and always jumps at an opportunity to help both students and coworkers. We want to congratulate Eric on being recognized by the college as a student who is truly inspiring a world of good, and we can’t wait to see where the rest of his journey takes him.


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The Boy Who Lived On

Harry Potter has seen its fair share of new editions and re-releases, but none have been as highly anticipated as the October 6th release of the first fully illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. The Wheelock College Library is now the proud owner of this new book, so here is a bit of information on the artist behind the magic and how he brought the Wizarding World to life.

Artist Jim Kay has been working as a full time illustrator for seven years, and rose to international acclaim after he won the Kate Greenaway Medal for his illustrations in A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. Now he has accepted the challenge of illustrating the entire Potter series, with one book planned to be released each year.

With hundreds of cover illustrations worldwide and seven EIGHT wildly successful movie adaptions, one might worry that Jim’s work would be too highly influenced by the preexisting visualizations of Potter’s world. I’m happy to say that this is not the case. His illustrations provide a fresh and inventive new perspective on the places and characters that we have come to know so well.

That’s not to say they were all pulled directly from his mind’s eye. Not only do the novels provide lavishly detailed imagery to work from, but Jim says he pulls images from everyday life and stores them to use when the right illustration comes along. His inspiration for Harry’s character came from a boy he met on the London underground. Hagrid was inspired by an old man wearing a metal band t-shirt.



It’s hard enough to believe that one person can tackle so daunting a task as to illustrate an entire Harry Potter book in a year, but it seems nearly impossible when you learn that Kay actually builds entire sets for his illustrations in miniature. He created a to-scale Hogwarts out of cardboard and a figurine of Hagrid that is giant in proportion to toy soldiers that he staged as students. In the video below, you can see some of these models and the way in which Jim uses them to get every detail of an illustration to be perfect. You’ll also get a sneak peek at one of the books all-time favorite characters, who we won’t see fully imagined until the release of Chamber of Secrets next year.

My takeaway is that no matter how many times a work has been revisited, it can always be given a fresh new perspective. If you feel that you lost your mind’s own version of Hermione somewhere around the fourth movie (while Emma Watson’s portrayal of the character was absolutely spot on, they just never quite managed to mess up that hair!) then have a look at Jim’s re-imagining of the bossy but brilliant 11 year old conjuring her signature blue flame.


I clearly think Jim’s illustrations are a huge success, but you don’t have to take my word for it. Just stop by the Wheelock College Library to see this beautiful new edition firsthand. It is currently located on the library’s New Books Display, right inside the front doors.

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Extended Hours Are Coming to an End

Today is the LAST DAY of Wheelock College Library’s Extended Hours. That means tonight is your LAST CHANCE to take advantage of library resources, get some drop-in research help, and participate in extended hours activities until 1:00 am. If you haven’t already stopped by to take part in the extended hours activities, it’s not too late. Here is a recap of all the fun activities we have available.

Adult coloring pages have been placed around the library on floors 1, 1M, 2M and 3. These coloring stations have been so popular that we have been printing out additional coloring sheets nearly every day! Students can take their work home, or hang it on our “Coloring Wall of Fame” located near the service desk.


We also have Library Bingo! Bingo cards can be found near the elevator on the 1st floor, or scattered on tables around the library.  Each card has a variety of things you might see happening at the library during extended hours (“someone coloring”, “a student making flash cards”, “someone watching Netflix” etc). When you see an item on the card, cross it off. Once you get four in a row in any direction, you win! You can then turn your Bingo card in at the Service Desk for a piece of CANDY!

We have two puzzle stations on the first floor of the library. So far, our library users have worked together to finish two 1,000 piece puzzles. Each time one puzzle is completed, we put out another for students to begin working on. The two that are currently out are very near completion, so come by tonight to help finish them up before it’s too late.


The library staff would like to congratulate all Wheelock students for making it through the fall semester! We have seen first hand how hard you have worked and how many hours of studying you have put in to succeed this semester, and you should all be commended for your efforts.

Happy Holidays to all, and we look forward to seeing you in the spring!

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