Richard Wright and the Library Card

Richard Wright and the Library Card



This is the true story of the renowned African American author Richard Wright and his determination to borrow books from the public library that turned him away because of his color.

As a young black man in the segregated South of the 1920s, Wright was hungry to explore new worlds through books, but was forbidden from borrowing them from the library. This touching account tells of his love of reading, and how his unwavering perseverance, along with the help of a co-worker, came together to make Richard’s dream a reality.

An inspirational story for children of all backgrounds, Richard Wright and the Library Card shares a poignant turning point in the life of a young man who became one of this country’s most brilliant writers, the author of Native Son and Black Boy.

This book is the third in a series of biographies by William Miller, including Zora Hurston and the Chinaberry Tree and Frederick Douglass: The Last Day of Slavery. All focus on important moments in the lives of these prominent African Americans.



ISBN - 13



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Reading Age

About the Author

William Miller is the award-winning author of numerous books for children for LEE & LOW. Mr. Miller lives in York, Pennsylvania, where he teaches African American literature and creative writing at York College.



R. Gregory Christie is the recipient of numerous awards including a Caldecott Honor and six Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award Honors, and his books have been recognized by The New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books list three times. He currently paints in the evenings while traveling around the country doing school visits. You can visit him online at

Editorial Reviews

“Written simply and powerfully, and accompanied by quiet but emotionally charged illustrations, this book makes the story of a young black man’s struggle for the right to read in a southern city during the early decades of this century easily accessible for young readers. — Booklinks

“Miller focuses his story on the stirring final chapters of Wright’s autobiography Black Boy (1945), in which he describes his struggle to get books from the whites-only library in Memphis. Christie’s powerful impressionistic paintings in acrylic and colored pencil show the harsh racism in the Jim Crow South… There are also strong portraits of Wright reading avidly through the night, lost in the world of books. — Booklist

An episode from the autobiography of Richard Wright is skillfully fictionalized, resulting in a suspenseful and gratifying story about the power of reading… A challenging endeavor, and an accomplished one. — Kirkus Reviews

“The volume offers a trenchant comment on American history and is bound to open the eyes of children who take their privileges for granted.”–Publishers Weekly


  • Notable Books for Children, Smithsonian magazine
  • Honor Book, Society of School Librarians International

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