UPDATE: Recordings and Discussion Questions posted below.
Join us for a community read aloud and discussion of the book Three Girls From Bronzeville by Dawn Turner. The KCKPL Read Aloud aims to bring people together in our staff and community as we all share the same reading experience. The Read Aloud will culminate in the author’s zoom visit on December 2, 2021.
KCKPL Read Aloud
Thursdays from Noon – 1:30 pm
October 7, 2021 – Thursday, December 2, 2021
Join our Zoom meeting each week and listen as we read aloud and have a meaningful discussion of the topics presented in each chapter of Three Girls From Bronzeville by Dawn Turner. This read aloud is happening with permission from Simon and Schuster.
Registered participants will be emailed a Zoom link and the link will be posted here 24 hours prior to the event.
Reading, Listening, and Contemplating on Your Own:
These recordings are provided with permission from Simon and Schuster until December 2, 2021.
Week 1 Recordings:
https://youtu.be/HxFelMdFNh4 (Chapters 1-2) 42 minutes
https://youtu.be/mYe1sEOFXVU (Chapter 3) 29 minutes
https://youtu.be/65duS7Z726E (Chapter 4) 25 minutes
1. Bronzeville is ultimately a character in this book. How much does ‘place’ impact Dawn, Debra & Kim?
How many of you are familiar with Bronzeville?
2. A highly relatable feature of these early chapters is the impact females have on our lives – whether young or old. Debra is introduced as the most obvious influence. Discuss the various females in Dawn’s life and how that might be reflected in your own life.
3. As a young child, Dawn sees abuse firsthand. How impactful was it to hear her mother tell the cab driver: “This is your boss’s shit. Tell him not to come back. Ain’t nothing left.”
Week 2 Recordings:
https://youtu.be/0Y5gqqKRiAg (Chapter 5) 24 minutes
https://youtu.be/2flfJEYb9Io (Chapter 6) 21 minutes
https://youtu.be/_85Pgix5AXI (Chapter 7) 25 minutes
https://youtu.be/9K36tU89WvY (Chapter 8) 17 minutes
1. Changes are already beginning in Dawn, Debra and Kim’s lives. Debra going to a new school, Granny’s dislike of Debra, and separate interests. Why do you think Dawn and Debra are still so attached to each other?
2. “We like to look at the squalor and say Black people don’t keep stuff clean.” ”But downtown didn’t do what was required to sustain a healthy, functioning community. The entire deck has always been stacked favoring everyone but us.” P.79 How do the three different housing characters (Ida B. Wells, Lawless & Lake Meadows) reflect this?
3. “Dawn,” she wrote, ” why do you sound white? We are Black.” (Debra) p.83 Teachers complimented her for sounding mature. The knucklehead boys simply offered silence. Are both implied meanings about sounding white? If so, how do you imagine that feels to Dawn?
Week 3 Recordings:
https://youtu.be/TQJSGiL0VkU (Chapters 9-14) 1 hour, 35 minutes
1. The Violation is self-explanatory. What do you think the author means by The Maiming? Do you agree with the decision to not tell Dawn’s father?
2. Why do you think Dawn chose the hair-pressing issue to take a stand? Why did Dawn’s mother take the position that she did?
3. In calling the police on Kim, Dawn seems to be at a crossroads. She has alienated both her mother and Kim. Do you think they were alienated for the same reasons? Different reasons?
Week 4 Recordings:
https://youtu.be/9VGpwzetMO8 (Chapters 15-19) 1 hour, 18 minutes
1. Dawn and Kim react very differently to the others’ pregnancy. Dawn with disappointment and despair. Kim with support and single-minded encouragement. What made these sisters react so differently to the same situation?
2. Dawn is well into college before realizing she has replaced her father with other Black role models. Do you think Dawn has done the same with her mother?
3. Dawn wrote many words about her feelings on Kim’s miscarriage and her worry for Kim. She wrote relatively fewer with her own fateful decision to end her pregnancy. ”No, Debra and Kim didn’t have to dream my dreams. I just wanted them to have – and make – better choices.” p.164 But what makes Dawn think her choices are better?
Week 5 Recording:
https://youtu.be/Ov_6PO61k3w (Chapters 20-23) 1 hour, 7 minutes
1. When Dawn and Kim visit Debra, they see Debra’s decline firsthand, both in her appearance and her job choice. Debra described strippers as being in one of these categories: drug abusers, prostitutes, college students, underaged runaways, or moneymakers. Do you think she really believed she was one of the moneymakers?
2. Kim and her mom visit Dawn shortly after Kim’s accident. Instead of talking about Kim’s health … this. “When my sister returned from her walk, the three of us sat around the kitchen table drinking tea and talking about nothing of consequence.” P.187
Why do you think they missed this opportunity?
3. Kim’s death at 24 years old was shocking. Dawn says that her mom believed a parent could survive the death of a child, as hard as it might be. Dawn writes: “Mom would be one of the survivors. Her daughter, baby Brandon’s mother, would not be.” P. 204 Kim was always a wild child, but how much, if any, did the death of baby Brandon contribute to her drinking?
Week 6 Recording
https://youtu.be/xQOPhDCsHD8 (Chapters 24-28) 1 hour, 28 minutes
1. Dawn pledges to herself to parent her child differently. But circumstances with Hannah force her to acknowledge: “My mother – whose parenting skills I did not want to emulate, whose instincts I doubted – had saved my child.” p.215 Was it naïve of Dawn to blame her mother for Kim’s behavior? For ‘losing Kim’ as she puts it.
2. Dawn: “Right after your conviction, you believed that jail was exactly where you needed to be. You still feel that way?” Debra: “I can handle myself, Dawn. I can make it on the outside. All I need is a tiny glimpse of daylight and I won’t ever look back.” p.244 Do you believe Debra will be one of the ones prison really does change?
Week 7 Recording
1. Four months into her visits with her father, Dawn finally asks about him choking her mother. She says she didn’t need an “I’m sorry.” But it sure seems like her ambivalence towards him throughout her life said otherwise. Do you think she did? And do you think she had regrets after he passed?
2. So much life-altering change in these chapters. Divorce, death, Debra’s graduation and move. Which of these events was most impactful?
Week 8 Discussion Questions: