Runoia Reads: a reading list for MLK day

Runoia reads – for fun, to grow, to learn, to challenge perspectives, and to place ourselves in the shoes of others.

Reading is a major component of the Runoia lifestyle – with unstructured free-time, an amazing library, and group reading time in cabins before bed, we are sure to make it a priority every day that we can! It serves as a time to unwind from the tiring and busy camp day, and to escape to alternate worlds.

In the past year, our Diversity Advisory Committee has worked to diversify our library with books that fall under the following categories: Black representation, Black history, gender fluidity, South Asian representation, Asian-American representation, Latinx representation, Indigenous representation, Jewish representation, LGBTQ+ representation, and protagonists with disabilities. From DAC member Claire Williamson’s book list to our 2022 selections that Pam and I stocked our library with this past summer, we are happy to offer more and more voices and represent more of our campers with each passing year.

In honor of MLK day next week, and in celebration and commemoration of Dr. King’s life and work and upcoming Black History Month, we encourage our campers, family, staff, and friends to incorporate more books with Black voices, history, and experiences into their reading lists.

This week we are sharing recommendations from our reading list, with many books you can find in the Runoia library! If you find one that catches your eye, consider ordering from a Black-owned bookstore local to you. Runoia reads, and we hope you join us!

Black Representation
A is for All the Things You Are: A Joyful ABC Book by Anna Forgerson Hindley
All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold
Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman
A Visit to Grandad: An African ABC by Sade Fedipe
Big Hair, Don’t Care by Crystal Swain-Bates
Black is Brown is Tan By Arnold Adoff
Change Sings by Amanda Gorman (Youth Poet Laureate)

I am Enough by Grace Byers
The Colors of Us by Karen Katz
The Water Princess by Susan Verde
Waiting in the Wings by Debbie Allen

Black History
Henry’s Freedom Box by Ellen Levine
How I Met Lewis Howard Lattimer by Ramon Robinson and Brandon Freeny
Little Leaders, Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison
Malcolm Little by Ilyasah Shabazz
Through My Eyes by Ruby Bridges

Graphic Novels
March by John Lewis
New Kid by Jerry Craft

To Change: The 2022 Log Dedication

If I were to hold a self-authored book in my hand titled ‘lessons learned in recent years,’ the first page would read: “change, while uncomfortable, and at times even scary, is inevitable, necessary, and important.” Just below this line would read a dedication which credits this realization largely in part to my experiences at Runoia and my witnessing its resilience.

I hold immense gratitude for Runoia’s eagerness to change in ways that show care for our community and open our gates to more friends and family each year. Runoia is able to hold fast to its most vital traditions and pieces of history when we are flexible and bold enough to transform around them.

We owe our continuation, and the perpetuation of our traditions and history, to the courage of ourselves and of generations before us to change. It is due to this courage that we may keep what matters most: the same small bell that has called our attention for over eighty years; our voices that carry through Runoia trees with melodies passed through lifetimes; our boathouse which stands with painted names from the 1920’s through 2022; a culture of summer siblings and lifelong family. 

The winds of Camp Runoia have taught me that change is good. The winds play no favorites – filling our sails one moment, then shifting to calm our waters for skiers the next. Among the winds, we honor all of the transformative shifts of Runoia:

 

Everything ‘lost’ each summer which has ever made room for something ‘found’;

The rain which rolls in just as we could use respite from the sun; 

New lyrics which empower us rather than place us in boxes;

New campers and counselors who arrive at our gates; 

 

People coming as strangers and leaving as siblings;

The ‘Bees and Eees’; 

The changes made each summer, 116 times over, which have made Runoia a permanent fixture in our summers and souls.

 

I hereby dedicate the 2022 log to the changes, both monumental and slight, of the past 116 summers of Runoia, and to its agents of change – our campers, staff, and alumni. May we continue to adjust our sails together to point toward the future. Tonight we celebrate changes which have made Runoia what it is, and who it is, and have led to this very moment exactly as it is now – Runoia and I would not have it any other way.