With Your Nose Stuck in a Book
Brittany Stillwell

When I was a kid, I picked Beauty and the Beast as my favorite Disney movie. It was an odd choice for a blond-haired girl who looked nothing like Belle, and while singing teapots and candlesticks were fun, I don’t think that’s what sealed the deal for me. Belle was my princess for one crucial reason: Like me, she spent most of her days “with her nose stuck in a book.” When I was younger, I could get lost in a book for hours. Actually, I still do.

I was and am an avid reader, and as a kid, I was pretty sure that I had read most of the books the world had to offer. I have to give my parents credit, they were intentional about shaping my personal library and my reading list, careful to include books written by and featuring people of color, but my library was and still is predominately white. With time and purposeful effort, I am coming to realize that there is a whole world of books out there that I know nothing about; a library as vast as the Beast’s, featuring extraordinary authors and characters that center the experience of people of color.

What we read shapes our view of the world; from the board books we slobber all over as babies to the fiction we read on vacation, from bedtime stories to nonfiction, from poetry to graphic novels. What we read for ourselves and to our children is a key step in becoming anti-racist.

Recently, our Children’s Minister, Kasey, and I went to Pyramid Art, Books, & Custom Framing to do some shopping. Kasey introduced me to this bookstore over the summer, but I hadn’t had a chance to visit just yet. Walking into the store, I felt immediate delight. I wanted to fling myself joyously on a ladder like Belle as I marveled in this overwhelming collection of new thoughts and adventures. It was a whole new world of books featuring people of color; characters, authors, and stories waiting to teach me that there is more to life than my white, privileged perspective.

Second Baptist’s Convictions & Beliefs on Systemic Racism includes a section on Ecclesial Reforms. In this section we acknowledge the Church’s complicity in the creation of unjust systems. We recognize that for too long we have centered and privileged the white experience in our teaching, our study, and in our reading together. One of the ways we will be actively anti-racist is by intentionally amplifying voices of people of color through what we read, what we watch, and from whom we learn.

In our main lobby you will find the beginnings of a Celebration Library. We plan to use this space to lift up all types of voices, but during this season it is intentionally an anti-racist library. These shelves are currently filled with more than 40 books for people of all ages, featuring authors and characters of color. We hope this library will aid you as you continue to develop your own anti-racist library. Stop by the church to borrow a book, and when you do, sign your name in the front cover. We are excited to see where these books travel! If you like the book you read and would like to add it to your own library, consider visiting our friends at Pyramid Art, Books, & Custom Framing. There is a sticker on the back of each book with more information.

We were able to start this library thanks to Kelly Hamman, LCSW. Kelly was one of panelists in our “How to Talk with Kids about Systemic Racism and White Privilege” conversation. Instead of being paid, she wanted to donate her honorarium to the work of anti-racism at 2BC. We are so grateful for her generosity.

The books are on the shelves, and while you won’t need to fling yourself on a ladder like Belle to find the perfect one, there are many great options for you to choose from. Come borrow a book. I’m excited to read with you.


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