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#WakeUpIndy a Reading Program for All Ages

#WakeUpIndy is an all ages community reading challenge to read books that raise awareness about racial and social injustices written by diverse authors, especially those who share a marginalized identity with their characters. This challenge is a call to educate ourselves and commit to reading books with voices and viewpoints different from our own.

Reading categories include LGBTQIA+ Voices, Voices from the Disability Community, Asian American Voices, Voices Newly Honored at Central Library, African American Voices, Hispanic American Voices, Native American Voices, Female Voices, Immigrant Voices, and more.

Set your own goals. Read at your own pace.

To register, visit or search "Beanstack" in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store to download the app. Create an account and choose #WakeUpIndy to begin. Or call your local branch to register and log your reading over the phone.

You will find book lists of reading suggestions from Library staff and others once you are in Beanstack. Staff at any of our locations would also be happy to help you!

Note the category, Voices Newly Honored at Central Library. This category refers to authors whose names are memorialized via name engravings at Central Library. Of the 81 names that are currently engraved on the building's exterior and interior, only five are women and none are of the African Diaspora.

This year, the Library will engrave the names of Black authors outside of the Center for Black Literature & Culture. The names of the authors selected will be announced soon. Future engravings will add the names of authors of other diverse backgrounds.

“We want our Libraries to reflect the diverse public we serve. This project is an opportunity to shine a light on the literary contributions of people who have been omitted in the past." ~Tariq Robinson, Adult Program Specialist

What makes a book "woke?"

#WakeUpIndy was inspired by Read Woke, a program originally created by Cicely Lewis, a teacher, writer, librarian and Person of Color at the Meadowcreek High School Media Center in Norcross, Georgia. Lewis was recently named School Library Journal’s 2020 School Librarian of the Year. The #ReadWoke movement is an international phenomenon among educators.

In Lewis’ words: “Read Woke is a movement. It is a feeling. It is a style. It is a form of education. It is a call to action; it is our right as lifelong learners. It means arming yourself with knowledge in order to better protect your rights. Knowledge is power and no one can take it away. It means learning about others so that you can treat people with the respect and dignity that they deserve no matter their religion, race, creed, or color.”

Cicely Lewis determined that a "woke book" must do at least one of five things:

  1. Challenge a social norm
  2. Give voice to the voiceless
  3. Provide information about a group that has been disenfranchised
  4. Seek to challenge the status quo
  5. Have a protagonist from an underrepresented or oppressed group

Get Started Reading:

In the School Library Journal article, Welcome to "Read Woke," Lewis shared four of her "woke book" selections which are also a great place to start! Read her thoughts on why she chose these four titles here.

The Beauty of the Moment

The Beauty of the Moment by Tanaz Bhathena
"Sixteen-year-old Susan is the new girl in her Canadian high school, striving to meet her parents' academic expectations, missing the friends she left behind in Saudi Arabia, dreaming of pursuing her passion for art, and secretly meeting with troublemaker Malcolm."
print | e-book (OverDrive)

On the Come Up

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas
"As the daughter of an underground hip hop legend who died right before he hit big, Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time-- and has massive shoes to fill. She's been labeled a hoodlum at school, and the fridge at home is empty after her mom loses her job. So Bri pours her anger and frustration into her first song, which goes viral -- for all the wrong reasons. Portrayed by the media as a menace, Bri makes a choice-- and becomes the very thing the public has made her out to be. The odds are stacked against her, and freedom of speech isn't always free."
print | e-book (OverDrive) | audiobook (OverDrive) | e-book (Axis360) | audiobook (Axis360)

Watch Us Rise

Watch Us Rise by Renée Watson and Ellen Hagan
"Jasmine and Chelsea are best friends on a mission--they're sick of the way women are treated even at their progressive NYC high school, so they decide to start a Women's Rights Club. They post their work online--poems, essays, videos of Chelsea performing her poetry, and Jasmine's response to the racial microaggressions she experiences--and soon they go viral. But with such positive support, the club is also targeted by trolls. When things escalate in real life, the principal shuts the club down. Not willing to be silenced, Jasmine and Chelsea will risk everything for their voices--and those of other young women--to be heard. These two dynamic, creative young women stand up and speak out in a novel that features their compelling art and poetry along with powerful personal journeys that will inspire readers and budding poets, feminists, and activist."
print | e-book (OverDrive)| e-book (Axis360) | audiobook (Axis360)

Can I Touch Your Hair?

Can I Touch Your Hair? Poems of Race, Mistakes and Friendship by Irene Latham and Charles Waters
"Irene Latham, who is white, and Charles Waters, who is black, present paired poems about topics including family dinners, sports, recess, and much more. This relatable collection explores different experiences of race in America."
print | e-book (OverDrive) | audiobook (OverDrive)