"We humanize what is going on in the world and in ourselves only by speaking of it and in the course of speaking of it, we learn to be human." -- Hannah Arendt, Men in Dark Times
The "Let's Talk About It" program is more than a book discussion model. It is a multi-faceted way to experience a directed examination of contemporary life and culture through literature. The readings are selections from our culture's most outstanding works and consist of novels, plays, fairy tales, biographies and short stories.
Libraries interested in hosting a "Let's Talk About It" series using a past theme of the ALA "Let's Talk About It" program, can download each of the themes listed below, the following materials:
- summary of the theme
- book list
- humanities scholar's essay on the theme
- annotations of the book list which illuminate the theme
- supplementary texts with brief summaries
- programming guide
When planning a “Let’s Talk About It” program, you may wish to consult the Programming Guide (PDF) for general how-to information about program format, selecting a scholar, promoting your series, evaluation, and more.
- Being Ethnic, Becoming American: Struggles, Successes, Symbols
- Contemporary Japanese Literature
- Destruction or Redemption: Images of Romantic Love
- The End of Life: Conversations on Death and Dying for Contemporary Americans
- End of the World or World Without End: Readings for the Millennium
- Exploring the West... Whose West?
- Family: The Way We Were, The Way We Are: Seasons in the Contemporary American Family
- Individual Rights and Community in America
- Isabella's Sisters: Women Creating Worlds
- Jewish Literature - Identity and Imagination
- Between Two Worlds: Stories of Estrangement and Homecoming
- Demons, Golems, and Dybbuks: Monsters of the Jewish Imagination
- A Mind of Her Own: Fathers and Daughters in a Changing World
- Modern Marvels: Jewish Adventures in the Graphic Novel
- Neighbors: The World Next Door
- Your Heart's Desire: Sex and Love in Jewish Literature
- The Journey Inward: Women's Autobiography
- Liberty and Violence: The Heritage of the French Revolution
- Long Gone: The Literature and Culture of African American Migration
- Love and Forgiveness
- Making a Living, Making a Life: Work and Its Rewards in a Changing America
- Making Sense of the American Civil War
- The Many Realms of King Arthur
- Muslim Journeys
- The Nation That Works: Conversations on American Pluralism and Identity
- New American Worlds: Writing the Hemisphere
- Not for Children Only: Children's Classics for Adults
- One Vision, Many Voices: Latino Literature in the U.S.
- Picturing America
- Rebirth of a Nation: Nationalism and the Civil War
- Seeds of Change: The Encounter That Transformed the World
- Sovereign Worlds: Native Peoples Reclaim Their Lives and Heritage
- What America Reads: Myth Making in Popular Fiction
- Women's Suffrage
Grants for these series are not available through ALA at this time. Sign up for the Programming Librarian e-newsletter to get alerts on when new grant opportunities related to "Let's Talk About It" or other opportunities become available.
To view current grant opportunities from ALA's Public Programs Office, visit ala.org/apply.
Gentle Reminder about Copyright
The American Library Association is the copyright owner of all the essays and annotations associated with the "Let's Talk About It" themes listed above. The credit lines embedded in the program materials and/or sponsor and funder logos must remain on all published (print and web) materials derived from these "Let's Talk About It" themes.