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The California Reads: Searching for Democracy community reading program gives the County Library the opportunity to celebrate our nation’s founding documents, to explore the history of those ideas as they have been applied (and sometimes not applied) to minority populations in the Los Angeles area, and to have a conversation about civic involvement and participation.

Featured Event  |  Events  |  Authors  |  Discussion Guides

Featured Event

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Film Screening of "Carved in Silence" and a Conversation with Filmmaker Felicia Lowe

"Carved in Silence" is a documentary about the experience of Chinese immigrants detained on Angel Island. It combines oral history interviews with historical footage and dramatic re-enactments to tell the story of the Exclusion Era. Following the film screening is a discussion with Emmy-award winning filmmaker Felicia Lowe. Learn more.


The County Library will use the books as the overall theme around which book discussions, lectures, panel discussions, and film programs will highlight the achievements and history of the communities served by the resource centers in areas such as civil rights and immigration.

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Cover of The Penguin Guide to the US Constitution

The Penguin Guide to the U.S. Constitution
by Richard Beeman

Annotated by one of the nation’s foremost Constitutional scholars, this edition of our nation’s founding documents provides text and context for readers seeking to understand the framework of our democracy as well as its meaning, past and present.

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Cover of Farewell to Manzanar

Farewell to Manzanar
by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston

A heartbreaking and compelling memoir about the Japanese American internment experience as seen through the eyes of young girl, this personal story bears witness to a failure of American democracy.

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Discussion Guides

The discussion guides for each book provide an overview of the book and author, a series of discussion questions to begin conversations, a brief author interview, bibliographies and other supplemental resources for interested readers.

Featured Books

book jacket

Watch the author interview

book jacket

Watch the author interview

Sponsored By

California Reads programs are made possible with support from Cal Humanities in partnership with California Center for the Book.