Penguin Random House has announced the launch of a new website to support families, educators, communities, organizations, and readers who are working to combat racism and end racial inequities in our daily lives.
Named “The Conversation,” this website brings together a curated array of resources and programming for readers, including discussion guides, title lists, and special content for all age groups. With a strong focus on family reading and community engagement, The Conversation was designed as a resource to support multiple constituencies, including educators, librarians, booksellers, activists, and allies, as well as Penguin Random House employees. The site is designed to be a dynamic resource, and will be updated in real time as authors and allies create and share relevant content.
This organic employee initiative grew out of an internal company brainstorm about how to assist those learning about antiracism take the next actionable steps. It also reflects discussions held by PRH employees throughout the company, including members of the Penguin Random House Diversity & Inclusion Council.
“In virtual classrooms and virtual conference rooms, and within our company, people are grappling with how to discuss our world, and how to create real and lasting change,” said Penguin Random House President of Sales Jaci Updike. “We want to amplify the work of our authors, engage with readers, listen carefully to what is being asked of us, and share resources that fuel conversation and spark collective action.”
The Conversation includes resources to facilitate dialogue about books by Toni Morrison, James Baldwin, and other iconic writers. It will also provide toolkits, inspired by the works of Ibram X. Kendi and Jennifer L. Eberhardt, for creating antiracist workplaces. The website will feature books and content from all of Penguin Random House’s publishing divisions, and the company is creating book bundles and materials for independent bookstores to help these businesses with their outreach to local schools and libraries.
A primary focus will be young readers, with toolkits for raising antiracist children, centering on books by Jacqueline Woodson and Nic Stone, among others. Additionally, a Family Reads initiative will be launched via The Conversation later this fall, which will include family reading guides for the adult and young-reader editions of Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy and Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime, along with video content and other resources to facilitate meaningful family conversations.
“We want to maintain momentum in our communities, and provide resources for our collective journey ahead,” said Updike. “All of PRH is committed to the ongoing development of The Conversation — to creating new material and responding to current events as close to real-time as we can.”