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Required Reading: Community Partners


Required Reading: Reimagining a Colonial Library

Community Partners' Required Reading Lists

A major exhibition, Required Reading: Reimagining a Colonial Library, showcases and interprets the King’s Chapel Library Collection, one of the surviving treasures of 17th century Boston. The exhibition tells the story of some colonial Bostonians’ intellectual and spiritual quests, and invites visitors to reflect on their own “must-read” lists, along with those of ten community partners:


Boston City Council President Andrea Campbell

Over the last several years, numerous studies and reports have detailed the systemic and long-standing challenges related to equity and quality in the Boston Public Schools. Despite the many bright spots and assets in Boston classrooms and city, Councilor Campbell is struck by the sense that progress in education often gets stuck in Boston. Councilor Campbell invites Bostonians to join her in taking Action for Boston Children.


Chinese Historical Society of New England


Hebrew College


Institute for Human Centered Design


King’s Chapel


Museum of African American History


North Bennet Street School

As America’s first trade school, NBSS has helped generations of students from around the world to achieve meaningful lives and livelihoods through traditional trades. The suggested titles below are from the School's Bookbinding and Cabinet & Furniture Making programs, and encompass both historic and contemporary texts. Learn more at


Twelfth Baptist Church


University of Massachusetts Boston 


Women’s Foundation of Boston

Review our partners' required reading lists here and visit the exhibition in person to browse the books.


Boston City Council President Andrea Campbell

Alexander, Michelle. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. New York: New Press, 2012.

Angelou, Maya. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. New York: Random House, 1969.

Baldwin, James. The Fire Next Time. New York: Vintage International, 1993.

Coates, Ta-Nehisi. Between the World and Me. New York: Spiegel & Grau, 2015.

Du Bois, W.E.B. The Souls of Black Folk: Essays and Sketches. [North Charleston, SC]: [CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform], 2014.

Galeano, Eduardo. Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent. New York: Monthly Review Press, 1997.

King, Mel. Chain of Change: Struggles for Black Community Development. Boston: South End Press, 1981.

Lukas, J. Anthony. Common Ground: A Turbulent Decade in the Lives of Three American Families. New York: Knopf, 1985.

Morrison, Toni. The Bluest Eye. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1970.

Stevenson, Bryan. Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption. New York: Spiegel & Grau, 2014.

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Chinese Historical Society of New England

Douglass, Frederick. “Our Composite Nationality: An Address Delivered in Boston, Massachusetts, on 7 December 1869,” in The Frederick Douglass Papers, Series One: Speeches, Debates, and Interviews, Volume 4: 1864-80. Edited by John W. Blassingame and John R. McKivigan. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1991, 240-259.

Gold, Martin. Forbidden Citizens: Chinese Exclusion and the U.S. Congress: A Legislative History. Alexandria, VA: TheCapital.Net, 2012.

Kingston, Maxine Hong. The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood among Ghosts. New York: Knopf, 1976.

Lee, Erika. The Making of Asian America: A History. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2015.

Lee, Jennifer. The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food. New York: Twelve, 2008.

Ngai, Mae M. Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2004.

Siu, Paul C.P. and John Kuo Wei Tchen. The Chinese Laundryman: A Study of Social Isolation. New York: New York University Press, 1987.

twLF Demands, 1969, CES ARC 2015/1, Location 1:2 twLF box 1 Folder 2. Ethnic Studies Library, University of California, Berkeley.

Who Killed Vincent Chin? Directed by Christine Choy, Renee Tajima-Pena, Holly Fisher, Nick Doob, Kyle Kibbe, Alfred J Santana, Ronald Ebens, Michael Nitz, Lily F Chin, Alexander Street Press, Film News Now Foundation, WTVS-TV (Television Station : Detroit, Mich.), and Filmakers Library, Inc. Alexander Street Press, 2018. DVD.
**Call 617-720-7612 to register for a screening of this film.

Yung, Judy. Unbound Voices: A Documentary History of Chinese Women in San Francisco. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999.

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Hebrew College

Buber, Martin. I and Thou. Translated by Ronald Gregor Smith. New York: Scribner Classics, 2000.

Frank, Anne. The Diary of a Young Girl: The Definitive Edition. Translated by B.M. Mooyaart-Doubleday. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1967.

Green, Arthur. Radical Judaism: Rethinking God and Judaism. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2010.

Herzl, Theodore. Old-New Land. New York: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2015.

JPS Hebrew-English Tanakh. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 2001.

Matt, Daniel. The Zohar: The Pritzker Edition, Volume I. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 2004.

Plaskow, Judith. Standing Again at Sinai: Judaism from a Feminist Perspective. New York, NY: Harper Collins, 1991.

Sarna, Jonathan. American Judaism: A History. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2005.

Shṭainzalts, Adin, Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, Shalom Z Berger, Joshua Schreier, and Shelomoh Ben Yitsḥaḳ. Berakhot: Masekhet Berakhot. 1. Hebr./Eng. ed. Koren Talmud Bavli, = Talmud Bavli. Jerusalem: Koren Publ, 2012.

Talmud Bavli, Masechet Berachot. Spring Valley, NY: Oz Vehadar, 2012.

Zornberg, Aviva. The Beginning of Desire: Reflections on Genesis. New York: Schocken Books, 2011.

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Institute for Human Centered Design

Burton, Elizabeth and Lynne Mitchell. Inclusive Urban Design: Streets for Life. London: Routledge, 2006.

Fletcher, Valerie. “Inclusive/Universal Design: People at the Center of the Design Process.” The Routledge Companion for Architecture Design and Practice. Ed. Mitra Kanaani and Dak Kopec. New York: Routledge, 2016. 251-267.

Froyen, Hubert. Universal Design, A Methodological Approach. Boston: Institute for Human Centered Design, 2012.

Horton, Sarah and Quesenbery, Whitney. A Web for Everyone: Designing Accessible User Experiences. Rosenfeld Media, 2013.

Norman, Donald A. The Design of Everyday Things. New York: Basic Books, 2002.

Ostroff, Elaine, Mark Limont, and Daniel Hunter. Building a World Fit for People: Designers with Disabilities at Work. Boston: Adaptive Environments, 2002.

Preiser, Wolfgang, Editor in Chief, Elaine Ostroff, Senior Editor. Universal Design Handbook. Columbus, OH: McGraw Hill, 2000.

Preiser, Wolfgang, Editor in Chief, Korydon Smith, Senior Editor. Universal Design Handbook, Second Edition. New York: McGraw Hill, 2010.

Rose, David H., and Anne Meyer. Teaching Every Student in the Digital Age: Universal Design for Learning. Alexandria, VA: Associate for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2002.

Zola, I.K. “The Sleeping Giant in our Midst: Redefining Persons with Disabilities.” Implementing the Americans with Disabilities Act – Rights and Responsibilities of All Americans. Ed. L.O Gostin and H.A. Beyer. Baltimore: Paul H. Brook, 1993.

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King's Chapel

Collins, Chuck. Robin Hood Was Right: A Guide to Giving Your Money for Social ChangeNew York: W.W. Norton, 2000.

Farrow, Anne. Complicity: How the North Promoted, Prolonged, and Profited from SlaveryNew York: Ballantine Books, 2005.

Foote, Henry Wilder, John Carroll Perkins, and Henry Herbert Edes (ed.), Annals of King’s Chapel: From the Puritan Age of New England to the Present Day. Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 1882-1940.
**Volumes 1 and 2 are in the exhibition. Schedule an appointment in the Vershbow Special Collections Reading Room to view volume 3.

The Holy Bible. The Authorized or King James Version of 1611 Now Reprinted with the ApocryphaLondon: Nonesuch Press; New York: Random House, 1963.

King’s Chapel (Boston, MA). Book of Common Prayer According to the Use of King’s Chapel, BostonBoston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1900.

King’s Chapel (Boston, MA). Book of Common Prayer According to Use at King’s Chapel. 9th Edition. Boston: Wardens and Vestry of King’s Chapel, 1986.

Ladinsky, Daniel James, translator. Love Poems from God: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and WestNew York: Penguin Compass, 2002.

Peterson, Betsy. Voices of Alzheimer’s: Courage, Humor, Hope, and Love in the Face of DementiaCambridge, MA: Da Capo, 2005.

Scovel, Carl and Charles C. Forman. Journey toward Independence: King’s Chapel’s Transition to UnitarianismBoston: Skinner House Books, 1993.

Scovel, Carl. A Prayer Book Companion: A Guide to Christian Worship. Boston: The Society of King’s Chapel, 2017.

Wright, N.T. Simply ChristianLondon: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 2011.

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Museum of African American History

Alexander, Michelle. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of ColorblindnessNew York: New Press, 2012. 

Blight, David. Frederick Douglass: Prophet of FreedomNew York: Simon & Schuster, 2018.

Coates, Ta-Nehisi. “The Case for Reparations,” The Atlantic, June 2014.

Douglass, Frederick. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American SlaveEdited by John R. McKivigan, Peter P. Hinks, and Heather L. Kaufman. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2016. 

Hambly, Barbara. A Free Man of Color (Benjamin January series). New York: Bantam Books, 1997.

———. Fever Season (Benjamin January series). New York: Bantam Books, 1998.

———. Graveyard Dust (Benjamin January series). New York: Bantam Books, 1999.

———. Sold Down the River (Benjamin January series). New York: Bantam Books, 2000.

———. Die Upon a Kiss (Benjamin January series). New York: Bantam Books, 2001.

———. Wet Grave (Benjamin January series). New York: Bantam Books, 2002.

———. Days of the Dead (Benjamin January series). New York: Bantam Books, 2003.

———. Dead Water (Benjamin January series). New York: Bantam Books, 2004.

———. Dead and Buried (Benjamin January series). Sutton, Surrey: Severn House, 2010.

———. Ran Away (Benjamin January series). Surrey, England: Severn House, 2011.

———. The Shirt on His Back (Benjamin January series). Surrey, England: Severn House, 2011.

———. Good Man Friday (Benjamin January series). Sutton, Surrey: Severn House, 2013.

———. Crimson Angel (Benjamin January series). Sutton, Surrey: Severn House, 2015.

———. Drinking Gourd (Benjamin January series). Sutton, Surrey: Severn House, 2016.

———. Murder in July (Benjamin January series). Sutton, Surrey: Severn House, 2017.

———. Cold Bayou (Benjamin January series). London: Severn House, 2018.

Horton, James Oliver and Lois E. Horton. Black Bostonians: Family Life and Community Struggle in the Antebellum NorthNew York: Holmes & Meier, 1979.

Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching GodNew York: Perennial Library, 1990.

Jacobs, Harriet and John S. Jacobs. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2009.

Lawrence-Lightfoot, Sara. Balm in Gilead: Journey of a Healer. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1988.

Marshall, Paule. Brown Girl, BrownstonesBrattleboro, VT: Echo Point Books & Media, 2015.

Morrison, Toni. Sula. New York: Knopf, 1981 (1974).

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North Bennet Street School

Aronson, Joseph. Encyclopedia of FurnitureNew York: Crown Publishers, 1965.

Burdett, Eric. The Craft of Bookbinding: A Practical Handbook. 1975.

Compston, Christine, Stephen Senge, and Walter McDonald. Rewarding Work: A History of Boston’s North Bennet Street School. 2018.

Designer Bookbinders. The New Bookbinder: Journal of Designer Bookbinders. London: Designer Bookbinders, 1981-.

Fairbanks, Jonathan L. and Elizabeth Bidwell Bates. American Furniture 1620 to the PresentNew York: R. Marerk, 1981.

Foot, Mirjam M. Bookbinders at Work: Their Roles and Methods2006.

Hasluck, Paul. Manual of Traditional Wood CarvingNew York: Dover Publications, 1977.

Hayward, Charles. Cabinet-Making for BeginnersLondon: Evans Brothers, 1960.

———. Woodwork Joints, A Woodworker Handbook. London: Evans Brothers, 1965.

Hayward, Charles and William Wheeler. Wood Carving: The Beginner’s Guide. New York: Sterling Publishing Co., 1979.

Hoadley, R. Bruce. Understanding Wood. Newtown, CT: Taunton Press, 2000.

Joyce, Ernest. Encyclopedia of Furniture Making. New York: Drake Publications, 1970.

Lincoln, W.A. The Complete Manual of Wood VeneeringLondon: Stobart, 1984.

Middleton, Bernard. History of English Craft Bookbinding Technique. New York: Hafner Pub. Col, [1963].

Miller, Julia. Books Will Speak Plain: A Handbook for Identifying and Describing Historical BindingsAnn Arbor, MI: Legacy Press, 2010.

Needham, Paul. Twelve Centuries of Bookbindings: 400-1600. New York: Pierpont Morgan Library: Oxford University Press, 1979.

Pearson, David. English Bookbinding Styles 1450-1800London: British Library, 2005.

Pye, David. The Nature and Art of WorkmanshipLondon: Herbert Press, 1995.

Stem, Seth. Designing Furniture. Connecticut: The Taunton Press, 1989.  

Szirmai, J.A. The Archaeology of Medieval Bookbinding. Brookfield, VT: Ashgate, 1999.

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Twelfth Baptist Church

Cromwell, Adelaide. M. The Other Brahmins: Boston’s Black Upper Class, 1750-1950Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 1994.

Douglass, Frederick. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American SlaveEdited by Benjamin Quarles. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1960.

Du Bois, W.E.B. The Souls of Black Folk: Essays and Sketches. Chicago: A.C. McClurg, 1915.

Dungca, Nicole. “Lost on Campus, as Colleges Look Abroad. Boston. Racism. Image. Colleges,” Boston Globe, 13 December 2017.

Fox, Stephen R. The Guardian of Boston: William Monroe Trotter. New York: Athenaeum, 1970.

Horton, James Oliver and Lois Horton. Black Bostonians: Family Life and Community Struggle in the Antebellum North. New York: Homes & Meier, 1979.

Jackson, Francis. Account Book of Francis Jackson, Treasurer, the Vigilance Committee of Boston. S.l.: s.n., not before 1924. Facsimile of handwritten manuscript.

Johnson, Akilah. “Boston. Racism. Image. Reality.” Boston Globe, 10 December 2017.

King, Coretta Scott and Barbara A. Reynolds. My Life, My Love, My LegacyNew York: Henry Holt and Company, 2017.

King, Martin Luther, Jr., Coretta Scott King, and Vincent Harding. Where Do We Go from Here? Chaos or Community? The King Legacy. Boston: Beacon Press, 2010.

Kowalczyk, Liz. “Color Line Persists, in Sickness as in Health. Boston. Racism. Image. Hospitals.,” Boston Globe, 12 December 2017.

Ryan, Andrew. “A Brand New Boston, Even Whiter than the Old Boston. Racism. Image. Seaport.,” Boston Globe, 11 December 2017.

Ryan, Andrew, Adrian Walker, and Todd Wallack. “For Blacks in Boston, a Power Outage,” Boston Globe, 15 December 2017.

Walker, Adrian. “The Bigot in the Stands, and Other Stories,” Boston Globe, 14 December 2017.

Walker, David and Peter Hinks. David Walker’s Appeal to the Coloured Citizens of the World. Mansfield Center, CT: Martino Publishing, 2015.

Wallack, Todd, Nicole Dungca, Akilah Johnson, Liz Kowalczyk, Andrew Ryan, Adrian Walker, and editor Patricia Wen. “A Better Boston? The Choice is Ours,” Boston Globe, 16 December 2017.

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University of Massachusetts Boston

Baldwin, James and photographs by Steve Schapiro. The Fire Next TimeCologne, Germany: Taschen, 2019.

Carson, Rachel. Silent Spring and Other Writings on the EnvironmentEdited by Sandra Steingraber. New York: The Library of America, 2018.

Cisneros, Sandra. The House on Mango StreetNew York: Knopf, 2001.

Ehrenreich, Barbara. Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America. New York: Metropolitan Books, 2001.

Holleran, Andrew. Dancer from the DanceNew York: Morrow, 1978.

Kozol, Jonathan. Death at an Early Age: The Destruction of the Hearts and Minds of Negro Children in the Boston Public Schools. New York: Plume, 1995.

Lorde, Audre. Zami, a New Spelling of My NameWatertown, MA: Persephone Press, 1982.

Morrison, Toni. Beloved. New York: Knopf, 1987.

Myers, Walter Dean. Patrol: An American Soldier in VietnamIllustrated by Ann Grifalconi. New York: HarperCollins, 2002.

Robinson, Randall. The Debt: What America Owes to BlacksNew York: Dutton, 2000.

Silko, Leslie Marmon. CeremonyNew York: Penguin Books, 2006.

Skloot, Rebecca. The Immortal Life of Henrietta LacksNew York: Crown Publishers, 2010. 

Urrea, Luis Alberto. The Devil’s HighwayNew York: Little, Brown, 2004.

Weglyn, Michi Nishiura. Years of Infamy: The Untold Story of America’s Concentration CampsSeattle: University of Washington Press, 1996.

West, Dorothy. The Living Is EasyNew York: Feminist Press, 1982.

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Women's Foundation of Boston

Alcott, Louisa May. Little Women: An Annotated Edition. Edited by Daniel Shealy. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2013.

Cain, Susan. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop TalkingNew York: Crown Publishers, 2012.

Diamant, Anita. The Red TentNew York: St. Martin’s Press, 1997.

Faust, Drew Gilpin. This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil WarNew York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2008.

Frank, Anne. The Diary of a Young Girl: The Definitive Edition. Edited by Otto H. Frank and Mirjam Pressler; translated by Susan Massotty. New York: Doubleday, 1995.

Shetterly, Margot Lee. Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space RaceNew York: William Morrow, 2016.

Skloot, Rebecca. The Immortal Life of Henrietta LacksNew York: Crown Publishers, 2010. 

Steinem, Gloria. My Life on the Road. New York: Random House, 2015.

Tan, Amy. The Joy Luck Club. New York: Penguin Books, 2019.

Westover, Tara. Educated: A MemoirNew York: Random House, 2018.

Yousafzai, Malala with Christina Lamb. I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the TalibanNew York: Little, Brown, and Company, 2013.

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