Kent Library Compiles Diverse Reading List for Area Students in Celebration of King Holiday


Kent Library at Southeast Missouri State University has compiled a reading list exploring African Americans and diverse topics for use by area elementary, middle and high school students in observance of the upcoming Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday and Black History Month in February.

The reading list is assembled each year, but this year has been greatly expanded to include more than 200 titles with more female authors and books by and about LGBTQ populations represented, said Sonia Rucker, assistant to the president for equity and diversity and dean of students at Southeast.

Librarians Stephanie Hallam and Karl Suhr created the extensive list, organized by author and grade level with titles for Pre-K through 12th grade readers. The list, which offers a brief synopsis of each book, features several winners of the Coretta Scott King Book Award, an honor given annually to outstanding African American authors and illustrators of books for youth that demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values.

“These are very highly regarded titles,” said Barbara Glackin, Kent Library dean.

This year’s list is very inclusive and is available at

The list includes two books, “Cannon’s Crash Course” and “Changing Seasons” by Southeast alumna Mon Trice, who, in addition to authoring children’s books is a poet and former Pure News USA columnist. “Cannon’s Crash Course,” published in 2015 by Red Duck Books, is for kindergarten through third graders. It highlights “Cannon” who is eager to learn to ride his new bike, but it doesn’t go well. Encouragement comes from an unexpected person.

“I am an accidental children’s book author,” said Trice, who is driven by a passion for children to see themselves in the literature they read. “My son was an emerging reader at the time I realized there were barely any books that reflected him, his family, community or experiences, and that was 2009. My sister challenged me to be the change I sought. So I wrote my first book, ‘Changing Seasons’. The second book, ‘Cannon’s Crash Course’ was written a few years later.”

“Changing Seasons,” published in 2011 by Red Duck Books, is for Pre-K through second graders. It features Tanesha, who learns about the seasons in school. Her story includes insight into her African American culture and “things that make her happy.”

Rucker says books on the list would be excellent choices for this year’s Read-a-thon at local elementary schools. Volunteers are needed to read as part of the Read-a-thon during Black History Month in February. Those wishing to read should contact the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity Graduate Assistant, Harman Malhi at: or (573) 651-2626.