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Summer Reading 2018

Home Page for Summer Reading 2018, including book selection guide, topic support materials, and more!

Why Choose This Book?

Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson (2015)

The founder of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama, recounts his experiences as a lawyer working to assist those desperately in need, reflecting on his pursuit of the ideal of compassion in American justice. The book centers around his efforts to exonerate Walter McMillian, and innocent man who was condemned in Alabama and spent 6 years on death row.

Read this book if...

  • You are interested in how the Justice System is affected by race and poverty.
  • You want to read about someone who has committed their life's work to ending injustice.
  • You are interested in a career in Law.


SEE BELOW for more background, relevance, etc.

More About the Book

About the Book

About the Author

We Need to Talk about an Injustice - Bryan Stevenson TED-Talk 2012

Prison and Death Penalty

Walter McMillian Case

Walter McMillian on 60 Minutes

Things to Think About While You Read

Theme-based Questions for Any Book on the Reading List

Theme-based Guided Questions for All Books

Consider these questions as you are reading your book. Having answers to them, with quotations from the book (cite the  page number) as supporting evidence will be very helpful when it is time to discuss and assess your reading.

Before you start reading ... How do you (the reader) define "justice"?

While you read the book
  • How did your book define "justice", and what evidence could you provide to support that definition?
  • Did your own perception of justice or injustice change as you read your book, and if so, how?"

In each book one or more issues of social injustice is present (ex. Racism, Sexism, Poverty,  etc.).  Be prepared to list specific examples and events from your book. These injustices often lead to conflicts between people (person vs person) and society or cultures (person vs society).

Consider also:
  • How are the characters or people in the book affected by injustice?
  • What conflicts arise between people and the society or culture surrounding them?
  • How are the injustices connected? (if you see more than one injustice in the book)
  • How are the injustices addressed? How are the conflicts resolved?
    • How did you feel about the way the injustices were addressed and/or the conflicts resolved?
    • Would you suggest another way to address the injustices or resolve the conflicts?
Consider also:
  • are they the main characters of the story, other people, both?
  • are they those who have suffered injustice? Direct witnesses of injustice? Well-meaning outsiders?
  • What finally inspires them to action?  What obstacles stand in their way?
  • What conflicts do those who take action face?
Consider also:
  • Are they large actions, small actions? Local? National? International?
  • How do they attempt to address or make changes to the injustice?
  • How are those actions received? Do they generate any conflicts?
  • What is their impact on culture or society?
  • What challenges are faced in taking action?

Related Books in Our Library

Surviving Justice

No Choirboy

A collection of essays in which inmates at American prisons who were sentenced to death while still in their teens share their thoughts and feelings about how they ended up in prison and how they feel about capital punishment.

The New Jim Crow

Argues that mass incarceration of African- and Latino Americans in the United States is a form of social control, and contends the civil rights community needs to become more active in protecting the rights of criminals.

The Real Cost of Prisons Comix

A collection of comics based on real case histories of those who have been involved in the U.S. prison system, examining the social and community costs and various impacts of mass incarceration, with reader responses and statistics about the economic impact of prisons in specific communities.

Race to Incarcerate

A graphic novel adaptation of Marc Mauer's study of criminal justice policy in the U.S. that discusses the explosion in prison populations in recent years, and considers the reasons why the national approach to solving crime has been to rely on the prison at the expense of other more effective and humane responses.

So You Want to Talk about Race

Writing My Wrongs

an unforgettable tale of forgiveness and hope, one that reminds us that our worst deeds don't define who we are or what we can contribute to the world. And it's a lasting testament to the power of compassion, prayer, and unconditional love, for reaching those whom society has forgotten"--

Gale - Opposing Viewpoints

Topic Pages from GALE Opposing Viewpoints in Context & Global Issues in Context

The following issues are among those that are evident in the books on the Summer Reading List.  Each term below links to a topic page on GALE Opposing Viewpoints in Context or Global Issues in Context, which are databases that contain: viewpoint essays; newspaper, magazine, and academic journal articles; reference sources;  primary source documents; and more.

Passwords for Off-Campus GALE Database use are available on Canvas.