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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?

The Silence of Our FriendsThe Silence of our Friends, by Mark Long, illustrated by Nate Powell (2012)

"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends."

Martin Luther King, Jr.The Trumpet of Conscience, Steeler Lecture, November 1967.

Based on writer Mark Long's childhood in Houston, TX. The Silence of our Friends is a semi-fictional account of events surrounding the Texas Southern University "Riots" in 1967 and 1968.  The story centers around Long's father Jack, a "Race" reporter for the local TV station, and a Larry Thompson, a community activist.

Read this book if...

  • You are looking for a Graphic Novel, or liked March
  • You prefer to read about an event that happened in the past that is related to a topic still relevant today.
  • You want to read about someone struggling to do the right thing.
  • You are interested in seeing both Black and White perspectives of the Civil Rights Era.


SEE BELOW for more background, relevance, etc.

More About the Book

Texas Southern University, 1968 from the Texas Archive of the Moving Image

About the Book

About the Authors

Video Footage


The Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee

The SNCC was a civil rights organization active in the 1960s that aimed to give young people a greater voice in the Civil Rights Movement.

CNN: SNCC's legacy: A civil rights history

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?

Similar Books in our Library

So You Want to Talk about Race

March, Books 1-3

Presents in graphic novel format the life of Georgia congressman John Lewis, focusing on his youth in rural Alabama, his meeting with Martin Luther King Jr., and the birth of the Nashville Student Movement.

Walking with the Wind

Biography of John Lewis, civil rights worker and member of the House of Representatives, discussing his participation in several events in the civil rights movement during the 1960s and 1970s and his terms as a congressman from Georgia during the late 1980s and 1990s.

Claudette Colvin

Presents an account of fifteen-year-old Claudette Colvin, an African-American girl who refused to give up her seat to a white woman on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama, nine months before Rosa Parks, and covers her role in a crucial civil rights case

Freedom Summer

Introduces the efforts of student volunteers who traveled to Mississippi in 1964 to encourage African Americans to exercise their right to vote, and dicusses the violent resistance they faced from supporters of segregation.

Mine Eyes Have Seen

Examines the civil rights movement in words and images, presenting photos by Bob Adelman and essays by author and scholar Charles Johnson.

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.