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Human Library

This guide provides information, book descriptions, and resources about PPLD's Human Library.

2019 PPLD Human Library Catalog

Titles for our 2019 Human Library Program are listed below. Resources and information about each title are included and some are favorites suggested by the "human books." 

We are also including some "best sellers" for limited circulation from our 2017 and 2018 collections. 

Click on a tab to read the description

This title was previously "90 years old," and he will soon be 93!

At age 91, I have “been there, done that.” I am interested in a wide variety of things and try to be a life-long learner. I love to make people laugh and am known as a storyteller. I appreciate humor in all its forms. I am easy to get along with and have no known enemies. Perhaps, it is as a friend said, “That’s right, you have outlived them all.” I consider myself to be a conservative person in a good way. That is, I want to conserve the principles that I believe in, but I also want to make what I consider to be needed, good changes. I believe that I am more compassionate than most people and in a broader sense that not only includes people, but also animals and plants—all living things. I was a high school English teacher and coach, as well as a junior college baseball and basketball coach, and university athletic administrator. I worked in multi-level marketing and as a public speaker for Success Motivation Institute. I was married to two wonderful ladies at different times. With ten decades of life experience, I want to share with others how these extensive experiences have shaped my ideas and beliefs.

Further Reading.

To call myself a late bloomer would be an accurate description of my life. Early and late simultaneously, strangely enough. It's carved out the journey that I've lived in life this far, growing me and breaking me down harder. My present day is the result of a decades worth of deep emotional pain, self doubt, perseverance, and a lack of forgiving. Life has led me too unforeseen circuses that I yearn for a time machine to change, which in turn I succumbed to my own inner demons.

I'm this isolation I call a life I have no friends to spend time with, a significant other, or get out and socialize like other 20-somethings. In this reality, I often feel like an everything empty shell of a human. Feeling unloved and lonely. Believing I'm never going to be worth anything to anyone. I don't believe other people would assume I have these feelings of that I am depressed. They can't see my pain and I do my best to hide it over guilt forbidding others with my problems. When I wanted to stop thinking about all that was wrong in my life, I figured out a way to make the thought to away. If even for a little while. I turned to different substances to escape when life became too much to handle at times. Something that was just meant as a relief slowly became a habit to the point where my day couldn't be a good day if I didn't use them. The stressed single mom became the lonely and isolated zombie, and I lost a piece of my soul every time I would wake up the next day. So incredibly self destructive. Now I'm putting myself back together again and it feels foreign to me and becoming the person I know I am is strange.

Autism spectrum disorder is a developmental condition that impacts about one percent of the world's population, characterized by varying levels of difficulty communicating, interacting with others, and processing abstract information. Despite my diagnosis with high-functioning autism, I have overcome countless obstacles in my school, work, and social life that many said were impossible. My disability has given me a unique perspective of the challenges we all face in our lives, from family relationships to the struggles of becoming an adult. I've made drastic changes as I progressed from struggling, emotional child to a strong, independent young woman with a flourishing life. What misconceptions do you have about autism and autistic persons? I want to answer your questions and leave you with a better understanding than you had before!

Further Reading.

I was born three months premature in the back seat of a car. Or so my mom begins my story when I’m freaking out about being different and she has to tell it to me again. I don’t know where the car was because neither did my birth mother at the time. I was small (for a while I was dressed in doll clothes, and slept in a dresser drawer) but I was lucky…very lucky. One in five children born with cerebral palsy have it this “good.” When Mom (who was my foster mom at the time) came to pick me up from the hospital the doctors even asked her, “Are you sure you want to take THAT one? She’ll never talk, or think, or go to school, or write…” This is why doctors are called practicing physicians because they practice on us, and in my case they had never met me! Neither have you, reader. But don’t worry I won’t bite…much. I have been answering elephant-in-the-living-room questions all my life. Cerebral palsy is called CP for short to those who are “in the know.” It is actually a blanket term for several brain injuries that usually occur at birth. My specific type of cerebral palsy is called Spastic Paralysis, which means some of my muscles are tight, some are loose, and none of them do what I want them to without a little… persuasion. It is NOT contagious. It is NOT a progressive or terminal disease, and it does NOT make me less clever or unable to hear.

Further Reading.

‚ÄčI always say I was born on a pew and cut my teeth on the altar. It is “tongue in cheek,” of course, but I was raised all of my life very involved in my evangelical, charismatic church. When I was 8 my dad became a pastor and that made me a pastor’s kid. Among the great joys, adventures, and successes, my life has also included many other things, from abuse to depression, severe anxiety, trauma and great loss. Through it all, my faith has wavered but never faltered because I am not religious. I know Jesus. Fast forward to today: I am still very involved in leadership in my church where I am the Women’s Ministry Director and I sing on the Worship Team. But my everyday life is this: I am a stay at home mom of four children. I homeschool. I cook. I clean. I teach. I have never gone to college and I don’t plan to. I don’t work outside the home and I don’t have a business on the side. My husband, who is my best friend, is the breadwinner and I am happy with that. Yes, sometimes it feels like an island. But, it is my passion, and truly, I love my job.

Further Reading.

Born into a cycle of abuse, I was a very desperate girl at 13 and latched onto an older boy who wanted to take care of me. By the time I was 14, I was pregnant, then married, and then became a mom. It was a big year. The next several years would bring two more children and a life of physical, emotional, sexual, and mental abuse. My husband controlled me, dominated me, and in the end, when I tried to leave, he attempted to kill me. Ultimately, he died instead, and I was left widowed at 22 with three small children and a lot of unresolved pain. More than anything else, people want to know why I stayed in an abusive marriage for eight years. I love this question because I can be a real face to a dark issue.


 Further Reading.

When you think of what an immigrant might be  like, sound like or what they can accomplish you might not picture a podcast host, workshop facilitator and social advocate. Nancy Perez encompasses all of that and more. She immigrated from Mexico at age 10 by walking thru a desert. Not able to understand why this was happening she accepted fate and made the best she could out of her circumstances. She Americanized herself, lost the accent and did everything possible to fit the new role she had to play in hopes of finding acceptance. Once she received her Residency Status aka a “Green card” she made a vow to never be silenced again. Nancy traveled back to her home country after over a decade of absence in search of finding herself and connecting to the roots she had to let go of to fit in the American way of life. Now she advocates for everyone to find their voice and unlock their greatness from within. She spreads her message on LifeCope LLC a self-help podcast that broadcast on iTunes, iHeartRadio, Spotify and Google Play. The podcast deals with the human experience and finding the path to individual greatness. She most recently emceed the Colorado Springs Womxn’s March. She host workshops thru organizations like Hear, Here! Poetry and Colorado Springs Feminist to further engage the community. Her motto is “If I could do it so can you, unlock your greatness and find your voice!” 

Spread peace, feed the crowd, and pray to your lord while everyone's asleep.  No wealth is reduced by charity.  The best charity is food that you offer your wife with your own hand.  Muhammad bin AbdulLah, the seal of the prophets - peace be upon them.

The more I learn about him, the better I understand Islam.

I was born a Muslim to a Palestinian couple who migrated to Egypt then Kuwait from their home land in Gaza, Palestine.  I became a practicing Muslim after my second son was born nearly thirty years later.  This drastic change in my life was overdue by more than a decade.  I realized that this innocent newborn was also going to look up to me, seek my affection and find comfort in being close to me the same way his 22 month old brother demanded this attention with tears in his eyes impatiently while I was preparing his meal.  Fatherhood taught me patience, generosity, responsibility and faith in that everything will turn out fine.  Just have to do my part and keep the faith.  Life went on and I met many families from different backgrounds and faith denomination while raising those two boys.  I taught children Arabic and daily prayers on weekends, and played with technology during my daycare hours.  Then suddenly the house was quiet, the boys were in college and the day to meet my creator is getting nearer.  I still felt that there is more for me to do on this earth.  My dear fellow Muslims were not all model Muslims. I started to think maybe I am not such a perfect model practicing Muslim either.  Where are the real Muslims?  Saudi Arabia?  Egypt?  America?  I welcome the opportunity for you to sit down with me and talk about the real Muslims around us.


Further Reading.

I was born in 1947 deformed with multiple physical abnormalities such as improperly formed joints and the lack of certain muscles.  I have normal cognitive abilities.  Because of the time and place of my birth US society determined early-on that there was not a place for me in the normal social and employment world.  As a result, that same US society subsidized my existence through programs such as Social Security Disability Insurance for my entire adult life.  And as a result of that, I have had my entire life available to me to do with as I saw fit.  I am grateful for that opportunity.  I have spent my time learning, and as a leader in political and social justice activism (eventually served in an elective office.)  I became a lifelong autodidact (self-learning, self-taught).  My life begs the question: So what exactly is meant by “disabled” (crippled, handicapped, other-enabled, etc.)?

Further Reading.

I was born in Serbia to my ethnic German father and Romanian-born mother. When Germany invaded Yugoslavia in 1941, ethnic Germans were persecuted. To escape this, my parents and their three young children (ages 3, 2 and an infant), became refugees traveling to Germany. There my brother was born and we survived the Allied bombings for about three years. Late 1944, my father was conscripted into the German army and died in Poland (at age 34 or 35) in the waning days of WWII. My mother decided to return to her Romanian parents in Yugoslavia. We again became refugees; she was a 25 year old widow with 4 young children. Arriving in Serbia, we were sent to a Communist-run concentration camp, where all of my family died (mother age 26, sisters 6 and 4, and brother age 2). The camp closed two months after I turned 8. Then I was transferred to live in Communist Slovenian orphanages and institutions. I was lost for eight years; none of my next of kin knew if anybody from my family was still alive. In 1953 an uncle in the USA located me with help from the Red Cross. On my journey to the USA I was detained in Germany for 17 months because my (and others’) immigration papers were “lost;” we had to wait for new papers to be created. Arriving in the USA in 1956, I was finally reunited 15 years later with my aunts and uncles and met my many American cousins for the first time.

Further Reading.

I am 28 years old and was diagnosed with childhood-onset schizophrenia when I was 10.  My illness has impacted all aspects of my life: friendships, family relationships, school, and typical adult activities such as driving a car and getting a job.  Throughout my education, I was often bullied or goaded into exhibiting bad behavior by those who found it amusing to “push my buttons.”  Medications have caused weight gain, which has led to a variety of medical concerns including high cholesterol and diabetes.  My mom has been my primary caregiver and support system.  

Further Reading.

Spurred by minimalism, mobility, and promises of greater financial freedom, the tiny house movement has made way for a different creature: the skoolie (bus converted into an RV).  As awareness of alternative home lifestyles is on the rise, the promises of the skoolie life are enough to lure some who hear the call to step into the shoes of an amateur builder.  Come visit with one skoolie converter who took the plunge and find out about the process of converting a bus into a living space, the obstacles faced during the conversion and projected after completion, as well as what is so appealing about the skoolie lifestyle.

Further Reading.

My name is Jace and I am not your average guy. Going through puberty once is an exciting and terrible time, however what if you had to do it twice and while going to college and working full time? I was born a female but have always felt male. My mind and body never matched until I transitioned to male. Growing up and experiencing two genders has been not only challenging but an extraordinary experience. As a kid I never acted like a little girl and always knew something was wrong. I had to take the steps to find my true self. What it means to be a man to me is very different than most. Being transgender is a whole other world most do not know exists.

Further Reading.

Jamia Wells-Palmer, more affectionately known as “Mimi the Motivator”, spent the majority of her life in south (despite having northern native parents). Spending 30 years living simultaneously in Nashville, TN and Tampa, FL, she has encountered a fair share of prejudice and discrimination from the black community, in addition that of non-black people. With fair skin, dreadlocks and a very southern accent, one would be amazed as to what has been written on the pages of this beautiful southern belle's life. 

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