Meredith’s Summer Reading book for 2021 is Tell Me Who You Are: Sharing our Stories of Race, Culture and Identity, by Winona Gua and Priya Vulcht.
This year’s book selection was guided by the College’s emphasis on anti-racism work.
“The committee accepted and embraced the challenge of finding a book to engage incoming students and the Meredith community in a time of increased awareness of systemic racism and social injustice,” said Rebecca Duncan, co-chair of the Summer Reading Committee and Mary Lynch Johnson professor of English. “We considered more than 15 titles and sought to understand a range of perspectives and disciplinary approaches.”
The book’s subtitle is “A Road Map for Cultivating Racial Literacy.” After realizing they had nearly completed high school without having substantive discussions about racism, the authors deferred college admission for a year to travel the country and interview a wide range of Americans on matters related to race. Interview subjects represent multiple races, cultures, and identities.
The committee felt that the authors’ youthful perspective and unique approach to discussing a difficult topic would appeal to incoming first-year students, as well as the entire Meredith community.
Committee member and Recruitment Assistant Bianca Diaz said she thinks Meredith readers will find it compelling.
“It’s an engaging, thought-provoking read that will foster rich, necessary conversations on our campus. It is a great combination of information and compelling narratives of real people all over the U.S.,” said Diaz. “It is accessible, visually appealing, includes historical context and statistics, and is remarkable in that two 18-year-olds collaborated to create it.”
Machaela Murrell, ’24, a student member of the Committee, agrees.
“I was hoping that this book would be chosen,” said Murrell. “It was written by two intelligent and passionate young people and it includes the personal stories of a diverse group of people. I can’t wait to discuss it with the students in my Student Adviser Group.”
About Summer Reading
Meredith’s Summer Reading Program enhances the academic climate on campus by engaging incoming first-year students in a shared intellectual endeavor with the entire campus community, including students, faculty, staff, and alumnae.
Incoming first-year students are given questions to guide their reading and then engage in facilitated conversations with faculty, staff, and upper-level students during the fall semester. Students also participate in experiential learning activities related to the book, and frequently attend lectures by or about the books’ authors. Previous summer reading selections include The Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Callings, Dimestore, and A Mighty Long Way: My Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High School.