Book Discussion Kits for UWMadison’s Go Big Read 2022-23 selection, How the Word is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America by Clint Smith, are now available at Madison Public Library.

A deeply researched and transporting exploration of the legacy of slavery and its imprint on centuries of American history, How the Word Is Passed illustrates how some of our country’s most essential stories are hidden in plain view — in places we might drive by on

our way to work, holidays such as Juneteenth, or entire neighborhoods like downtown Manhattan, where the brutal history of the trade in enslaved men, women and children has been deeply imprinted.

Informed by scholarship and brought to life by the story of people living today, Smith’s debut work of nonfiction is a landmark of reflection and insight that offers a new understanding of the hopeful role that memory and history can play in making sense of our country, and how it has come to be.

You’re invited to take part in any of the library’s scheduled book discussions:

  • Wednesday, September 21, 6 p.m., Hawthorne Library
  • Wednesday, September 28, 7 p.m., and Thursday, September 29, 1 p.m., Sequoya Library
  • Saturday, October 15, 1:30 p.m., Goodman South Madison Library
  • Monday, October 17, 4 p.m., Meadowridge Library
  • Thursday, November 3, 1:30 p.m., Alicia Ashman Library
  • Tuesday, November 8, 7–8 p.m., Pinney Library
  • Saturday, November 12, 2 p.m., Monroe Street Library

Smith will speak at Memorial Union’s Shannon Hall at 7 p.m. Tuesday, November 1, in a jointly presented UW-Madison and Wisconsin Book Festival event.

For more information about Book Discussion Kits at Madison Public Library, go to /bookclubs.

Book Discussion Kits are funded in part through gifts to the Judy P. Olson Book Discussion Kit Endowment Fund. If you would like to make a contribution to this fund, visit the foundation’s Donate page and select the fund in the dropdown menu upon checkout, or write it on the memo line of your check, which can be mailed to our office.