Ironton resident to give away free books to encourage discussion about race

Published 2:11 pm Thursday, June 18, 2020

By Taylor Burnette

The Ironton Tribune

When Ironton resident Sue Vanderhoof saw the viral video of the murder of George Floyd, she felt moved to help start conversations about race.

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“I’m a great believer that change happens in everyday conversations that we have with people that usually take place on our front porch,” Vanderhoof said.

This idea led to her and her son, Andrew Fortman, to have a free book pop-up this Friday.

Those interested can come to Vanderhoof’s porch at 1610 S. 5th St. from 3-7 p.m. to view an array of titles, with book levels ranging from Pre-K to adult.

The titles Vanderhoof will be offering center around the subject of race. Some of the titles Vanderhoof will be offering include “My Hair is a Garden”, “A Kids Book About Racism”, “White Fragility”, “Stamped”, “A People’s History of the United States”, and “The Color of Law”.

Vanderhoof will take the addresses of those who would like a book, purchase the book for them, and have it sent to their address.

The giveaway will be this Friday, which is the annual holiday of Juneteenth. Juneteenth, celebrated on June 19 each year, marks the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States.

Although Vanderhoof has multiple books curated for people to select, she is willing to take requests for other books centering around the subject matter as well.

“If people have a book that they particularly would like to purchase that’s not out here on our list, … they can tell us that and we’ll order that one, as long as it has to do with the topic.” Vanderhoof said.

Vanderhoof said that during the book pop-up, social distancing and safety measures will be in place. She will encourage those who come to socially distance.

The funding for the books will come from Vanderhoof, her son, and her son’s husband, Tyler.

The giving away of these books, Vanderhoof said, is about learning together as a community and creating a conversation about the issues people of color face every day. Vanderhoof said that she is still learning, and feels books are a good way to educate people.

“It’s not about politics; it’s not about religion,” Vanderhoof said, “This is about basic humanity. This is about each of our responsibilities to take care of each other.”

For more information on the giveaway, visit