Between the World and Me

In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men—bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden?

Between the World and Me is Ta-Nehisi Coates’s attempt to answer these questions in a letter to his adolescent son. Coates shares with his son—and readers—the story of his awakening to the truth about his place in the world through a series of revelatory experiences, from Howard University to Civil War battlefields, from the South Side of Chicago to Paris, from his childhood home to the living rooms of mothers whose children’s lives were taken as American plunder. Beautifully woven from personal narrative, reimagined history, and fresh, emotionally charged reportage, Between the World and Me clearly illuminates the past, bracingly confronts our present, and offers a transcendent vision for a way forward.

Ta-Nehisi Coates

Ta-Nehisi Coates is an American writer, journalist, and educator. Coates is a national correspondent for The Atlantic, where he writes about cultural, social and political issues, particularly as they regard African-Americans. Coates has worked for The Village Voice, Washington City Paper, and Time. He has contributed to The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, The Washington Monthly, O, and other publications. In 2008 he published a memoir, The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood. His second book, Between the World and Me, was released in July 2015. It won the 2015 National Book Award for Nonfiction. He was the recipient of a "Genius Grant" from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in 2015.


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Professional Development Activities

Community Book Connection “Question of the Week”

Don't miss out on a new and exciting way to become engaged with the Community Book Connection by challenging yourself to find the answer to the Question of the Week! Each Monday,CBC faculty will post a question on the CBC Facebook page and in the campus libraries related to the CBC 2016-17 selection "Between the World and Me." Submit your answer in one of the boxes, located in each of the libraries, by library closing each Friday. You may also submit your response electronically by clicking on the link that accompanies each week's question on Facebook. Winners will be announced on Tuesday afternoons on the Community Book Connection Facebook page. Challenge your information literacy skills, learn about the themes in the CBC book, and win some fun prizes! Faculty - please encourage your students to participate. For more information, like us on Facebook or contact Dr. Ted McCadden

Student Study Guides

The Community Book Connection relies upon student engagement to lead our discussion. Students in the African American Male "Think Tank", together with Professor Gretchen Rudham, have created a resource page for students and faculty. Click here to visit their page.

Faculty and Staff Resources

Blackboard: For CCBC Faculty, we have created a Blackboard site with interdisciplinary resources and classroom activities to address themes in this text. Please visit Blackboard and enroll in the Community Book Connection Blackboard site. Click here for instructions.

Professional Development Opportunities: We have a number of ongoing professional development opportunities for faculty and staff who want to explore themes from the text, learn practical tools for the classroom, or reflect upon their own teaching. Click here for upcoming professional development opportunities.

Library Resources

For research ideas or further reading, please visit our Library Guide for instructions developed by CCBC Librarians Debra Sambuco and Sharon Casey.


Propose a Book

The Community Book Connection is now accepting book proposals throughout the academic year. We are looking for books that are well-written, accessible, and engaging. We are enthusiastic about texts that are relevant for multiple academic disciplines and departments. Whether fiction, non-fiction, theatre, or poetry, the works we select are those that that connect classroom learning to social issues in the larger community. On a more direct note, we are no longer considering books that are over 400 pages.

To propose a book, please click on this link to download the proposal form. Please email the completed form to Dr. Ted McCadden.

Propose a CBC Event

One aspect that distinguishes the Community Book Connection from many collegiate reading programs is that we host a wide variety of co-curricular events throughout the entire academic year. These events are a way to enlarge and enhance the discussion of the book on campus. We have sponsored lectures, panel discussions, debates, field trips, theater, dance and musical performances, art exhibits, creativity contests, service learning programs, and many more types of exciting programs.

Anyone within the CCBC community is invited to propose and plan a CBC event or program.The person who proposes an event does the initial planning, however the CBC committee is involved every step of the way, helping with funding, coordination, publicity, and other important logistics.If you would like to learn more about how CBC event planning works, please email your campus CBC coordinator:

Essex: Elsbeth Mantler
Dundalk: Shannon Meers
Catonsville: Dr. Jennifer Pemberton

To propose an event for next semester, please fill out this form and send to Dr. Ted McCadden, CBC Director.

If you would like to learn more about how event planning works, please email your campus coordinator.

About Us

The Community Book Connection

Each year the college selects a book that it recommends to the community. Students are urged to read the book and faculty members are urged to include it or selections from it in their courses. A series of cultural and academic activities—films, plays, dance performances, debates, panels, and lectures—are organized to support the project. The goals of the Community Book Connection are to enhance student and community learning, to strengthen our common human and intellectual bonds; and to demonstrate the many ways that classroom learning is deeply connected to our lives in the everyday world.

Who We Are

The Community Book Connection is a faculty-initiated program designed and organized by people who believe that classroom learning is linked to real-life social issues and concerns. We strive to demonstrate--through our reading choices, lesson plans, extracurricular programs, and relationships with students and community-- the vital, exciting connections between literacy, education, and social awareness. We believe that we are all learners, and that education is a critical factor in creating a just society in which human creative potential is fully realized. And we believe that critical, engaged reading continues to play a central role in the educational process. We are grateful for the funding and support that we receive through the CCBC Office of Instruction.

We invite you to share your talent and ideas and to become involved in the program. Contact anyone on this list below to ask questions or get more information on the Community Book Connection.

Director of CBC:
Dr. Ted McCadden

Campus Coordinators:
Dr. Jennifer Pemberton, Catonsville
Professor Shannon Meers, Dundalk
Prof. Elsbeth Mantler, Essex

CBC Web Librarians:
Professor Sharon Casey, librarian
Professor Debra Sambuco, librarian

Website Administrator:
Lowell Yukna