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Summer Film Tie-Ins

This season, we’re encouraging Pittsburghers of all ages to Read Five! You can participate by signing up for Summer Reading either online or at your preferred Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh location. Then you can start logging your reads on paper or using the Beanstack app. You can learn more about the Summer Reading program and Beanstack at

With summer reading comes summer blockbusters! Whether you’re beating the heat in your local CLP branch or in your neighborhood movie theater, we’ve got you covered. In keeping with CLP’s Summer Reading theme of Read Five!, here are five books to read before or after seeing each of these highly anticipated summer movies, that complement the films in different ways.

To accompany “In the Heights,” read “Clap When You Land” by Elizabeth Acevedo. 

If you enjoyed “Summer of Soul,” read “A Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance” by Hanif Abdurraqib. 

If you’re excited about “Space Jam: A New Legacy,” try “Machines That Think!” by Don Brown. 

While you wait for “Respect” to come out, check out “The Queen Next Door: Aretha Franklin, An Intimate Portrait.” 

For the “Black Widow” fans, read “Who Is Vera Kelly?” by Rosalie Knecht.

In the Heights   

Clap When You Landby Elizabeth Acevedo

The pain and joy of an Afro-Latinx community, on full display in the film adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical, can also be found in this emotional novel. Camino Rios lives for the summers when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this time, on the day when his plane is supposed to land, Camino arrives at the airport to see crowds of crying people. In New York City, Yahaira Rios is called to the principal’s office, where her mother is waiting to tell her that her father, her hero, has died in a plane crash. Separated by distance–and Papi’s secrets–the two girls are forced to face a new reality in which their father is dead and their lives are forever altered. And then, when it seems like they’ve lost everything of their father, they learn of each other. This title is also available as an eBook and eAudiobook on OverDrive/Libby, and as an eAudiobook on Hoopla.

Summer of Soul  

A Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performanceby Hanif Abdurraqib

The 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the subject of “Summer of Soul,” uplifted and celebrated the foundational contribution Black people and their culture made to music in the United States. Similarly, Hanif Abdurraqib, in his recent book of essays, reflects on how Black performance is inextricably woven into the fabric of American culture. This title is also available as an eBook on OverDrive/Libby.

Space Jam: A New Legacy  

Machines That Think!by Don Brown

The new “Space Jam” movie takes place in an exciting virtual reality environment – but how do people in the real world tell computers how to build such things? In “Machines That Think!” Don Brown draws and narrates an exploration of machines from ancient history to today that perform a multitude of tasks, from the abacus to artificial intelligence, machines through the ages have pushed the boundaries of human capability and creativity. This title is also available as an eBook on Hoopla.


The Queen Next Door: Aretha Franklin, An Intimate Portrait by Linda Solomon 

If seeing Jennifer Hudson portray the iconic singer makes you hungry for more of the life of the real Queen of Soul, take a look at this sumptuous book of photographs, creating a visual biography of the notoriously private singer. Yes, read the original memoir this movie is based on, but to get a glimpse of the real queen herself, you’ll want to see these images, captured by a friend of many decades. 

Black Widow   

Who Is Vera Kelly?by Rosalie Knecht

Recruited to the CIA from the underground gay scene of Greenwich Village in 1962, Vera Kelly is sent to Argentina to spy on a congressman, when a coup interrupts her mission and forces her to make decisions she may regret. If you’re looking for a tense spy story with psychological suspense after seeing Natasha Romanoff wrestle with her past–literally–in “Black Widow,” look no further. This title is also available as an eBook and eAudiobook on OverDrive/Libby.

CLP is also giving away books this summer! Children and teens can get a free book each time they visit the Library–stop by your favorite CLP location and see what’s available on your next visit. Book selection will vary throughout the summer, while supplies last. 

Looking for another good book, album, movie, TV show or something new entirely? We’re happy to make recommendations! Be matched with your next great read by visiting

You can sign up for a free library card here. If you are new to our eResources, check out these tutorial videos on how to get started. If you have any additional questions, you can contact a librarian through Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. You can also call us at 412.622.3114 or email us at


It’s not too late for Summer Reading! Start logging your books today.

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