bryan-stevenson-credit-nina-subin-1Rhode Island’s One Book, One State Community Read Program kicks off its 15th year by inviting everyone to join in the reading of Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson.

Reading Across Rhode Island is a program of the Rhode Island Center for the Book and the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, made possible through a vibrant collaboration of librarians, teachers, book group leaders and readers from across the state.

A talk by Bryan Stevenson will be on April 8, 2017. The Center for Reconciliation is a sponsoring organization. One of the CFR board members, Morgan Grefe, Director of the Rhode Island Historical Society, is one of the experts who will be making presentations around the state in the spring. Watch this site for more information or go to

An Afternoon With Bryan Stevenson on April 8th at McVinney Auditorium in Providence, RI. Registration for this event will be available on the Rhode Island Center for the Book website in February. Look for other upcoming book-related events throughout the year at Sets of books are available for loan to classroom teachers, library discussion groups and senior centers by contacting (there is a shortage of books so if you can donate copies, Kate will help you find a place to do that). Further reading lists, book discussion guides, the author’s website, audio interviews and other supplementary materials may be found on the Rhode Island Center for the Book website at


justmercy-pb-2About This Year’s Book
An unforgettable true story about the redeeming potential of mercy. Bryan Stevenson was
a gifted young attorney when he founded Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice
dedicated to defending the poor, the wrongly condemned, and those trapped in the
furthest reaches of our criminal justice system.

Bryan Stevenson is the executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama and a professor of law at New York University Law School. He has won relief for dozens of condemned prisoners, argued five times before the Supreme Court, and won national acclaim for his work challenging bias against the poor and people of color. He has received numerous awards, including the MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Grant.

“We are so thrilled to learn that Just Mercy has been chosen as the 2017 Reading Across Rhode Island selection. We truly believe that the more people who read this book, the better the country will become.” – Caitlin Mccaskey, Random House.

“Even before we started this election process, we did have a sense that there was a lack of communication between communities, from Black Lives Matter protests to NFL players kneeling during the national anthem. The intense debate arising from these protests reinforced our sense of the need for dialogue. The first RARI book was chosen 15 years ago – the 9/11 attacks occurred the year before and a heaviness and wariness still remained. A group of librarians, educators and readers met to find a project that would be a positive step forward in the aftermath of the tragedy. They were inspired by initiatives
in Seattle and Chicago where whole communities had come together to read one inspiring book, gathering for discussions on the book’s theme,” stated Kate Lentz, Director of the Rhode Island Center for the Book. “Bryan Stevenson’s powerful, well written story presents bleak, almost overwhelming injustice against part of our population leavened by his hard work, hope and eventually good results for his clients. Just Mercy is an updated To Kill a Mockingbird.”