AUBURN — The Auburn Public Library has been selected as one of 100 libraries nationwide to take part in the Great Stories Club, a reading and discussion program for underserved teens.

The competitive grant is offered by the American Library Association with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

For the next year, the library will participate in two series – “Empathy: The Cost of Switching Sides” and “What Makes a Hero? Self, Society and Rising to the Occasion.”

Books to be read on empathy will include “Flight” by Sherman Alexie; “Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation” by Octavia Butler, Damian Duffy and John Jennings; “All American Boys” by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely; and “March: Book Three” by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell.

On the topic of heroes, teens will read “Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet, Book 1” by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Brian Stelfreeze; “Maus II: A Survivor’s Tale: And Here My Troubles Began” by Art Spiegelman; “Binti” by Nnedi Okorafor; and “Buck: A Memoir” by M.K. Asante.

The titles were selected in consultation with humanities scholars and librarians to inspire teens, especially those facing difficult circumstances or challenges, to consider “big questions” about the world around them and their place in it, ultimately affecting how they view themselves as thinkers and creators.


Library staff will work with their partner organization, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Maine Auburn/Lewiston, to identify teens for this program.

As part of the grant, the library will receive 11 copies of each of the selected books, which will be gifted to the book club participants. The library will also receive resources and training, including travel and accommodations for an orientation workshop in Chicago. The workshops will include dialogue facilitation training led by consultants to Everyday Democracy and program modeling led by national project scholars Maria Sachiko Cecire of Bard College and Anna Mae Duane of the University of Connecticut.

Meetings of the Great Stories Club will begin in mid-October.

For more information, contact Donna Wallace, teen librarian, at 207-333-6640, ext. 4 or via email at

Comments are no longer available on this story