We regret to inform you that due to health reasons, the Meet the Author: Angie Thomas event scheduled for Wednesday, April 17 at Miller Auditorium has been canceled. We do not have any rescheduling information at this time but will post any updates as information becomes available.

We truly apologize for the inconvenience. This has been one of Kalamazoo Public Library’s most successful Reading Together events to date. The community response and involvement in the programs leading up to the author visit have been overwhelmingly positive, and we thank you for your participation, activism, and support.

The final 2019 Reading Together event will take place on Tuesday, April 23, 5:30 pm at the Douglass Community Association. We hope you will join us to discuss ways we can utilize the themes in The Hate U Give to take action in our own communities.

Kindest regards,
Kalamazoo Public Library Staff


Events Still Remaining

  • Reading Together 2019 Call to Action All ages
    • Tuesday, April 23 at 5:30 pm
    • Douglass Community Association | 1000 W. Paterson St. 
    • The Black Arts & Cultural Center will host a facilitated interactive dialogue lifting up themes from the book and film The Hate U Give, honoring youth voice and encouraging community action. This engaging discussion is open to the entire community and is offered in collaboration with Kalamazoo Public Library, Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety, City of Kalamazoo, Fire Historical and Cultural Arts Collaborative, and the Kalamazoo Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation initiatives.
    • From the Black Arts and Cultural Center: Because we are concerned about maintaining our intention and the desired youth-to-adult ratio, we need to limit attendance at this event to 60. Please click here to register in advance.
  • The Hate U Give – The Book vs. The Movie RESCHEDULED!
    • Tuesday, April 30 at 6 pm
    • Oshtemo Branch Library | 7265 W. Main St.
    • In this presentation, we will explore the movie The Hate U Give, a complementary retelling of the novel with a few pivotal differences.  
    • Tirrea Billings is a local filmmaker and first-year graduate student at Western Michigan University.

About the Book

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter navigates between the poverty-stricken neighborhood where she lives and the upper-crust suburban prep school she attends. Her life is up-ended when she is the sole witness to the shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. As Starr finds herself even more torn between the two vastly different worlds she inhabits, she also has to contend with speaking her truth and, in the process, trying to stay alive herself.

“Angie Thomas has written a stunning, brilliant, gut-wrenching novel that will be remembered as a classic of our time.”

– John Green, #1 NYT Bestselling Author of The Fault in Our Stars.

The Hate U Give — widely known as the first Black Lives Matter-inspired YA novel — is the #1 New York Times bestseller which has topped the list for nearly two years. Described as “the best — and most important — book of the year,” by Entertainment Weekly, it’s now also a major feature film garnering critical praise. If that wasn’t enough, Thomas’ hotly-anticipated second novel, On the Come Up (Feb 2019), tells the tale of a young, aspiring female rapper — and it’s already generating massive buzz. Thomas’ keynotes resonate with the same authenticity, insight, and hope that make her writing so powerful, and give context and background to the culture, politics, and movement that inspired it. 

Download the Discussion Questions

About the Author

Angie Thomas is the inaugural winner of the Walter Dean Myers Grant 2015, awarded by We Need Diverse Books. Born, raised, and still residing in Jackson, Mississippi — and a former teen rapper — she holds a BFA in Creative Writing from Belhaven University and an unofficial degree in hip hop.

About Reading Together

The purpose of Reading Together is to build a stronger community with deeper connections through the common experience of reading the same book and exploring its themes together. When we do that, we engage and learn, not only about ourselves, but more importantly about each other and the world around us.

By experiencing the same book, hearing the author of that work speak right here in Kalamazoo, and examining the book’s themes through a local lens, we are able to embrace our similarities and differences from a common point of reference.

Very simply, when we read together, we grow together. 

Come check out this interview on Reading Together 2019!


Past Events

The Book

  • Reading Race Book Group
    • Tuesday, March 12 at 6:30 pm
    • Kalamazoo Public Library, Central Branch | 315 S. Rose St.
    • Led by Donna Odom of SHARE (The Society for History and Racial Equity)
  • Portage United Church of Christ Book Talk
  • Open for Discussion
    • Tuesday, March 19 at 10:30 am
    • Portage District Library | 300 Library Lane
    • Led by Ruth Cowles, Adult Librarian
  • Book Discussion
    • Wednesday, March 20 at 2 pm
    • Kalamazoo Institute of Arts | 314 S. Park St.
    • Led by KIA docent Harvey Myers and Stacey Randolph Ledbetter, retired police officer and Law Team Lead — Kalamazoo TRHT (Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation) Initiative

  • Book Discussion     

    • Tuesday, March 26, 12–1:30 pm
    • Western Michigan University | Multicultural Center-Trimpe Building
    • Open to the public, for more information
  • Book Talk
    • Tuesday, April 2 at 7 pm
    • Portage District Library | 300 Library Lane
    • Presented by Ruth Cowles, Adult Librarian
  • Teen Book Discussion
    • Thursday, April 11, 5–6:30 pm
    • Comstock Township Library | Heritage Room
    • Join Comstock High School’s Black Student Union group as they lead a discussion on The Hate U Give. This event is intended for middle school and up and is open to the public. Refreshments will be served. 

Dig Deeper – Explore the Themes

  • Social Protest Through Song: From Spirituals to Dylan to Tupac to Trump
    • Saturday, March 16 at 10:30 am
    • Parchment Community Library | 401 S. Riverview  Ave.
    • Protest music has been around for centuries. As long as people have been getting fed up with the status quo, they’ve been singing about it. And because music styles, human emotions, and social issues are so wide-ranging, protest songs are, too. These songs are usually written to be part of a movement for cultural or political change, and to galvanize that movement by drawing people together and inspiring them to take action.
  • How to Talk to Your Teens in Difficult Times
    • Tuesday, March 19 at 7 pm
    • Portage District Library | 300 Library Lane
    • Local parent educator, speaker, author, and coach Leona Carter will speak about 6 Strategies to Support Teenagers with great practical examples of each.  She will also share some highlights and reflections from the movie/book The Hate U Give. This will be an interactive conversation among the group.
  • Protest as writing; writing for protest: An interactive exploration of The Hate U Give through the historical lens of Protest Literature in the United States.
    • Tuesday, March 26 at 7 pm
    • Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership | 205 Monroe St.
    • An interactive exploration of The Hate U Give through the historical lens of protest literature in the United States
    • Drawing on a rich body of political writing, Linda Lee, English Department Head at Kalamazoo Central High School, and Elaine Sayre, English Teacher and Social Justice Book Bowl Coach draw upon the contemporary themes and issues presented in The Hate U Give, such as isolation, privilege, and activism into an intricate tapestry that owes much of its foundation to authors such as; Ellison, Wright, Hurston, Baldwin, and Douglas. After a brief presentation of the history of protest literature our audience will examine excerpts from our Reading Together novel and discuss impact and importance to and for our community.
  • Art Hop All ages
    • Friday, April 5 at various times and locations.
    • This month’s Art Hop will feature local artists’ response to The Hate U Give. Check the Art Hop brochure for more details. 

Events for Youth (Grades 6–12)

  • BOOK CLUB: On the Come Up by Angie Thomas
    • Tuesdays, February 12, 26, March 12, 26 & April 9, 2:30 pm | Kalamazoo Central HS Library, Open to KC students, 2432 N. Drake Rd.
    • Saturday, March 23, 1 pm | Central Library
    • Thursday, April 11, 4:30 pm | Alma Powell Branch Library
  • Movie: The Hate U Give
    • Saturday, March 9 at 1:30 pm | Alma Powell Branch Library
    • View the 2018 film based on this year’s Reading Together title! Snacks and refreshments provided!
  • The Hate U Give Art Show All ages
    • Tuesday, March 5, 5–7 pm | Alma Powell Branch Library
    • Join us as we celebrate The Hate U Give in art form with local artists Amy Baker and Gerald King.
  • Shoe Cleaning Party
    • Tuesday, March 26 at 6 pm
    • Alma Powell Branch Library | 1000 W. Paterson St.
    • Be like Starr. Bring your favorite pair of sneaks or those you need restored to the shoe lab! Learn the tricks and tips on restoring your kicks!
  • “Speak Your Truth” Through Art
    • Tuesday, April 2, 2–4 pm | Alma Powell Branch Library
    • Wednesday, April 3, 2–4 pm | Oshtemo Branch Library
    • Thursday, April 4, 2–4 pm | Central Branch Library
    • Create a print inspired by The Hate U Give. Take a copy home and leave a copy with us to show off your work at Friday’s Art Hop. All supplies provided.
  • Pizza Pre-party at RAWK
    • Wednesday, April 17 at 5 pm
    • Read and Write Kalamazoo (RAWK) | 802 S. Westnedge Ave.
    • Come grab a piece a pizza and learn more about Angie Thomas in preparation for her appearance at Miller Auditorium tonight at 7 pm. What question would you ask her if you have the opportunity? Space is limited so registration is required. Call (269) 743-7005.
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Community Participation

Reading Together is a celebration of community. The following local organizations are participating in Reading Together 2019 by hosting discussions, planning special events, and/or participating on the steering committee. To add your organization to this list, contact Reading Together.


Additional Resources