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Harris County Public Library firmly believes that only knowledge, understanding, and positive engagement can combat hate. Everyone has a constructive part to play in the fight. Our role as a library is to provide you with the materials and resources from a variety of perspectives to help you grow, learn and talk about these issues so that we can all live lives that produce positive change.

As a 4th-generation Mexican American, I am proud of my family’s history here though all generations have struggled with being seen as outsiders in our own country. All the Stars Denied by Guadalupe Garcia McCall follows a family deported to Mexico in the1930s. More than 600,000 U.S. citizens were deported in the Mexican American Repatriation. Not once, was it mentioned in my Texas History class. - Anjela M. , Literacy Services Specialist

Own Voices and Reading Diversely

Reading opens up worlds to us. It allows the reader to see, feel, and ultimately understand experiences they otherwise could not. Reading allows us to see what we have in common with others as well as to celebrate the range of human experience beyond our own. In short, reading builds empathy and empathy cancels hate. It is that simple.  

In school I was often the only Caribbean-Indian student. To dispel stereotypes and generalizations about myself and others, I believe in connecting through food. When I cook not only am I sharing my culture, but I'm also encouraging dialogue about who I am and where I came from. - Jennifer N. , Program Specialist

Own Voices: Mirrors and Windows

HCPL recommends exploring the work of authors with whom you might not seem to have much in common. “Own Voices” refers to books by writers from marginalized and traditionally under-represented groups. Own Voices authors give an inside perspective on their own communities while offering a view from the outside of the larger social structures that have pushed them to the margins. Reading books with diverse, complex characters is important because they represent the world as it is. Own Voices books take that several steps further. On one hand, they offer hope to those readers who do not often see themselves and their lives reflected in popular culture, and on the other, they provide insight and understanding to those whose experiences and backgrounds may be vastly different.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz. Not only does this book address feeling like an outsider by being part of the LGBTQ+ community, but feeling like an outsider in your own racial community (both things I feel). It ends on such a strong and  hopeful voice. - Jennifer L. , Library Services Specialist

Own Voices Are Exactly That

Own Voices also individualizes experience. Through the singular voices of own voices authors and their characters, readers come to see under-represented groups and communities as collections of individuals rather than a single set of attributes, lifestyles, and beliefs. Own voices short circuit stereotypes.

I grew up with Gyo Fujikawa books, which meant I grew up seeing children of all races and abilities drawn together.  This juvenile biography tells the amazing life of Gyo Fujikawa who argued to integrate the illustrations in children's books. - Jennifer F. , Branch Manager

For Kids
Own Voices Books - Asian American and Pacific Islander Authors

Own Voices eBooks & More - Asian American and Pacific Islander Authors

For Teens
Own Voices Books - Asian American and Pacific Islander Authors

For Adults
Own Voices Books

Own Voices eBooks & More - Asian American and Pacific Islander Authors

Own Voices eBooks & More - LGBTQ+ Authors

Own Voices LGBTQ+ Book Covers

Reading Against Hate: Knowledge

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander opened my eyes to how laws that might sound like a good idea on the surface can have horrible repercussions that affect a disproportionate number of people of color. - Laura S. , Librarian

If Own Voices authors make us feel the struggles of others, Reading Against Hate will give you a deeper and broader knowledge of the issues and social structures that make racism and inequality such tenacious realities. The resources found here provide tools to engage with the issues proactively.

For Kids
Read Against Asian Hate - eBooks & More

For Teens
Read Against Racism - Books

For Adults
Read Against Hate - eBooks & More

Read against hate book covers

A better world starts in our hearts and minds.

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