2019 Polk State Human Library™

Polk State is hosting two Human Library™ events in spring 2019. At a Human Library™ event, instead of books, participants “borrow” people who share a significant personal experience or a particular perspective on life. Human Library™ events promote the idiom, “don’t judge a book by its cover,” and encourage dialogue, challenge stereotypes, and foster understanding.

The College encourages students, faculty, and staff to attend a Human Library™ event and unjudge someone.

Polk State Lakeland Campus, Lakeland Library (LKLD) | April 3, 2019 | 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Polk State Winter Haven Campus, Winter Haven Library (WH) | April 4, 2019 | 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Meet the books:

  1. "You Will Never Amount to Anything." - Proving People Wrong is Powerful (WH)

    Freddie Acevedo

    As a young Hispanic male growing up an abusive home, the narrator focuses on the discrimination and bullying that became a pervasive backdrop and almost defined him. The love of his mother and his strength of character helped him to overcome his father’s low expectations. This book proves that it is not the start that matters, but how one chooses to finish.

  2. From Single Mom to College Administrator (LKLD, WH)

    Yulonda Bell

    This narrative describes a lifetime of overcoming judgement and obstacles through faith and initiative by contrasting an upbringing in a two-parent household to the experience of being a single parent. Despite adversity, this story shows that goal-setting and perseverance can enable an individual to pursue higher education for career success and personal happiness.

  3. That Time I Had Breast Cancer... (LKLD)

    Anna Butler

    This is a story of fear, recovery, strength—and ultimately survival. Recounting the harrowing journey of a woman diagnosed with invasive lobular carcinoma, the book follows her path and resilience in the face of a double mastectomy, 12 rounds of chemotherapy, and 30 doses of radiation therapy.

  4. How I Got Here (WH)

    William DeWitt

    Life throws a lot of curveballs, but the secret to success is in looking at disadvantages as opportunities. This narrative discusses different obstacles, travels, and shakeups that helped forge adaptability and independence. Adversity, and oftentimes difficult journeys enabled the narrator to leave behind who he thought he was supposed to be, providing the freedom to discover who he really was.

  5. Not Broken... Just Bent, Beaten, and Scarred (WH)

    Alissa Floyd

    This is a story of a woman who had everything she wanted – a great marriage, a baby girl, a family – and whose life changed drastically when she was faced with leukemia.

  6. Not for Sale - The Story of a German Prostitute (WH)

    Faith Gallian

    This is Rebecca’s story, one of the millions who are entrapped by human trafficking. More than 50 percent of trafficking victims are sexually exploited, especially in countries where prostitution is legal. In these countries, the government does nothing to stop the atrocity and abuse from happening.

  7. Finding My Journey; Finding Myself (LKLD)

    John Glenn

    This book presents familiar life experiences repackaged with generational and social contexts, informing and encouraging others to reflect on the broad array of stories in the American experience.

  8. From Overcoming to Overachieving (WH)

    Latonnja Key

    After overcoming domestic violence that eventually caused her to drop out of Polk State College, this narrative follows the pathway taken to move beyond hardship to success. After completing a Polk State associate degree program and two master’s degrees, this book shows the power of positive thinking and goal setting which has led the narrator to pursue a doctoral degree while victoriously returning to teach at Polk State College, where her journey began.

  9. Turn Toward the Problem and Engage (LKLD)

    Carol Martinson

    In the wake of a child’s life gone too soon, this story shows how those left behind have learned from his life and have made it their mission to spread his message of hope and goodness.

  10. Ecce Enim Artifex (Behold the Artist) (LKLD)

    Derek Menchan

    This book provides an overview of some of the most salient philosophical minds, offering a broader way to look the world and one’s place within it. From learning how to live authentically, to living an empowered and autonomous life, this book is a guide to self-actualization and a tutorial on how live in one’s own skin comfortably.

  11. An Eastern European in North America (LKLD)

    Marina Morgan

    Kindness and tolerance go a long way in interpersonal relationships. For individuals in America from different countries with different languages and cultures, it is important to understand that there are commonalities. Regardless of origin, people mostly want the same things: to improve living conditions, advance professionally, and coexist peacefully.

  12. Teaching English in South Korea (LKLD, WH)

    Beth Pendry

    This story begins as its idealistic main character has just graduated from college and moves to a far-off continent to teach English. The journey challenges nearly everything she thought she knew about the world, but also presents hope through human connection. As she encounters anti-American protests and monster mosquitoes, she also develops friendships with Koreans and ex-pats as she adjusts to an entirely new way of life.

  13. Mentally Ill (LKLD)

    Christopher Philip

    Mental illness is often displayed as romantic or criminal in cinema, but the actuality is very different—it is scary, and it is hard. There is hope for those with mental illness, but this requires help. No one gets better by ignoring problems.

  14. The Quiz Czar: "It's Like Team Jeopardy!" (WH)

    Peter Preston

    This book presents research on memory improvement and instilling cultural literacy based on the author’s years of experience coaching for academic teams and quiz bowls at the county, state, and national levels. Tips and techniques are shared, filling individuals’ heads with not-so-useless trivia.

  15. Coast-to-Coast: Journeys of an America Coaster Enthusiast (LKLD)

    Jim Rhodes

    This true story follows the narrator’s love of roller coasters and theme parks—and how this led to cross-country travel and inspiration. The climbs, pitches, falls, and drops of coasters mirror the ups, downs, and upside-downs of life. The narrator reveals how he has not just hung on– but also sometimes raised his hands– throughout his journeys coast-to-coast and during the peaks and troughs of life.

  16. The Best is Yet to Come: There are Always Turning Points (WH)

    Jacci Rizzo

    In literature, the climax is the point to which all action in the narrative leads, and after which little can be changed. But life is different than literature. Though a life may begin in the depths of hopelessness, overshadowed by alcoholism and homelessness, there are critical moments that act as turning points– surviving a major car accident, beating cancer, living through a coup d’état, raising three children. Adversity makes life’s blessings sweeter. This story is evidence that despite the worst of life’s challenges, the best-of-life is just around the corner.

  17. A Wonderful Trip on a High-Speed Train (LKLD, WH)

    James Sacco

    This book is the story of an individual’s 50-year journey to live the Baha’i faith which teaches the elimination of racial prejudice to achieve unity and world peace. This story is of an individual’s efforts to meet the challenges of embracing racial and cultural diversity, and his desire to promote the spiritual unity of the human family in Europe, South America, and North America.

  18. Craniomommynbaby: Riding the Cranio Rollercoaster (WH)

    Cindy Scofield

    This book tells the story of a mother and her child who have both suffered from a craniosynostosis, a birth defect in which one or more of the joints in a baby’s skull fuses prematurely, resulting in extensive surgeries in order to accommodate normal brain growth. This narrative offers unique perspectives on this condition as a told by a patient and a parent.

  19. Haunted! (WH)

    Sherry Siler

    This book presents the story of a teenager and her family living in a house that was plagued by supernatural forces. The narrative presents the frightening events that happened over a four-year period, and how the family tried to justify unexplainable incidents as mere figments of adolescent imagination.

  20. From Disabled Naval Nuclear Engineer, to Tattooed Biker, to Chief Information Officer: Reinvention Despite Stereotypes (WH)

    Bob Stack

    This book shares an inspiring story of career invention and reinvention brought on as a result of life’s changes and challenges. The narrator shares the experience of an individual who successfully jumpstarted a new career in a different industry despite challenges brought on by the stereotypes of disability and skin art. This story proves a book should not be judged by its cover.

  21. Looking to the Scriptures for Answers (WH)

    Diane Suarez and Mario Gonzalez

    In this world of constant chaos, it is easy to feel alone, struggling to prioritize and manage life’s daily challenges. But no one is ever truly alone–this book shows how to look to The Bible for guidance and inspiration in everyday life.

  22. He Had Coffee Breath and Other Stories of Childhood Sexual Abuse (WH)

    Patricia Sullivan

    A survivor of multiple sexual assaults tells her story–how she coped with the abuse and how she continues to deal with its aftermath.

  23. From Illiteracy to College, and Beyond: The Legacy of Rosella Sam White (WH)

    Kim Thomas

    A person’s beginnings need not define his or her destiny. An individual can be the catalyst of change in his or her life, within a family, for future generations of family members—or even for the community at large. This is a story of how one person’s life can be an instrument of inspiration and leave a truly meaningful legacy.

  24. Blessed and Balanced (LKLD)

    Reggie Webb

    For those who want to live lives of purpose and follow their passions, this book shares the true story of an individual who has juggled family, work, and faith successfully– while serving as a pastor and college administrator. This book shows that it is possible to enjoy work and love life by finding meaning and value in one’s role.

  25. Me and My Destanie: Living with Disability (LKLD)

    Noreen Weber

    This is the story of a mother and her adult daughter, Destanie, a 26-year-old with the mind of a child due to a developmental disability. The narrative shows how, as a team, parent and child have overcome obstacles and adversity. The book shares the joy and heartache of raising a child in a society that does not always appreciate people who are different.

  26. A Foster/Adoptive Parent (LKLD)

    Mike Whann

    The narrator discusses the joys, challenges, and misconceptions of opening one’s home to foster children, and how adopting two children has changed his life for the better.