Learning in Public with Courtney E. Martin @ the Napa Library

Napa Bookmine welcomes author Courtney E. Martin on Monday, September 12th at Napa County Library to celebrate the release of Learning in Public. 

This is an in-person event. Register on Eventbrite here.

Questions? Email events@napabookmine.com.


From the time Courtney Martin strapped her daughter, Maya, to her chest for long walks around their Oakland neighborhood, she was curious about Emerson Elementary, the public school down the street.

Courtney, a Brooklyn transplant, soon learned that white families in their gentrifying neighborhood avoided the majority-Black, poorly-rated school at all costs. Instead, they enrolled their kids in private schools, which sell themselves as bastions of social justice, or strategized their way into a handful of overwhelmingly white, highly-rated public schools in other neighborhoods. The PTAs at these schools are known to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for innovation labs and diversity, equity, and inclusion training. Maya, now 7-years-old, has never set foot in an innovation lab. Instead, she’s spent three years learning in multicultural community, where some kids have no WiFi or food to eat when they get home, but the school strives to teach and love every one of them just the same.

Learning in Public is the story of how one family’s decision, undertaken to embrace the common good, can have profound and often surprising reverberations. School, after all, is more than just a building, or test scores. It is still, despite our collective failings, the foundation of our fragile democracy. And as Courtney Martin vividly brings to life in the story of her family’s entree into the Emerson community, school is the first place that children meet the world outside the home and come to know their place inside that world. As this funny, relatable, and revealing book shows, the choices we make for our children can also change us. And help us build a different world.

“This is the story of what school segregation, a nationally important issue, looks like through the lens of one family’s experience.” ―Lit Hub

“Provocative and personally searching.” —San Francisco Chronicle

“Martin chronicles her efforts to narrow the space between her progressive principles and her behavior…a compelling account of the benefits of diverse, integrated schools.” ―Conor P. Williams, Washington Post


Courtney E. Martin is a writer living with her family in a co-housing community in Oakland. She has a popular Substack newsletter, called Examined Family, and speaks widely at conferences and colleges through out the country. She is also the co-founder of the Solutions Journalism Network, FRESH Speakers Bureau, and the Bay Area chapter of Integrated Schools. Her happy place is asking people questions. Learning in Public is her fourth book.

Event address: 
580 Coombs St.
Napa Library
Napa, CA 94559
Learning in Public: Lessons for a Racially Divided America from My Daughter's School By Courtney E. Martin Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316428279
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown and Company - August 16th, 2022

This "provocative and personally searching"memoir follows one mother's story of enrolling her daughter in a local public school (San Francisco Chronicle), and the surprising, necessary lessons she learned with her neighbors.

From the time Courtney E.