Community book discussion to cover teenage gun violence

Published 7:04 pm Friday, February 8, 2019



This month, the Boyle County Public Library  will offer book discussions relating to teenage gun violence, a serious topic in contemporary society. The book selected for the discussion is “Long Way Down,” a stunning young adult (YA) novel written in free verse by New York Times bestselling author Jason Reynolds.

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The fast-paced story follows grief-stricken, 15-year-old Will as he takes the 60-second ride down the elevator in his building, determined to honor “the rules” by taking revenge for the murder of his brother. At each elevator stop, a ghost from his past gets on the elevator to give Will a bigger piece of the story, forcing him to consider the consequences of his actions.

“Long Way Down” was awarded a 2018 Newbery, Coretta Scott King Author and Michael L. Printz honors.

“A discussion of ‘Long Way Down’ creates dialogue on a topic that is currently a part of a broader, national conversation,” says Caleb Conover, public services librarian at BCPL. “Danville High School will be holding a number of programs and a school-wide read on ‘Long Way Down,’ and they suggested to us that we pull the topic into a forum open to the entire community.”

In response to the high school’s suggestion, the library will host two book discussions — one specifically for teens, and an all-ages discussion for the community. The community book discussion will be held 2 p.m. Feb. 23. The discussion will feature a guest panel including Centre College Associate Professor of English John Kinkade and Danville City Commisisoner  J. H. Atkins, who is also a member of Citizens Concerned for Human Relations.

The library’s teen book club will hold their discussion of 4 p.m. Feb. 26., led by Atkins. The discussion is for ages 13-18.  Those who are interested in participating in either discussion group may pick up a copy of the book at the library.

“We hope that our teen book club and community book discussions will result in thought-provoking exchanges,” says Conover.

In an effort to make the book available to a wider audience, the library has developed a book kit for “Long Way Down” that will be available for reservation and check out following its use during the community discussion.

In addition to the adult and teen book discussions, the library will host a middle school book club, for ages 11-13, 4:30 p.m. Feb. 25.  Led by Youth Services Librarian Kinsey Hisle, the club will discuss “The Stars Beneath Our Feet” by David Barclay Moore.

The book is about Lolly, an African-American boy who uses his creativity while building with LEGOs at his community center to make new friends and to deal with his own turbulent home life after his brother was killed in a gang-related shooting.

“This story shows compassion, resiliency, creativity,” says Hisle. “It is told with a realistic voice that will connect with young readers as they hear from Lolly while he wrestles with tough decisions on doing the right thing.”

Middle-school students interested in participating may pick up a copy of the book in the Children’s Library.

For information about other programs offered at the library, call (859) 238-7323, or visit