One Book (Actually Three), One Swarthmore
The votes have been tallied, and Swarthmoreans have chosen three books for various levels of readers for the inaugural year of “One Book, One Swarthmore.” A week-long festival of events beginning June 7 will celebrate unity, involving readers of all ages in activities promoting conversation about the books and their relation to the theme of this year’s program, “I, Too, Am America” (inspired by the Langston Hughes poem, I, Too). The books chosen by voters who cast their ballots at the Swarthmore Public Library are:
For adult readers, Men We Reaped: A Memoir by Jesmyn Ward. In five years, Jesmyn Ward lost five young men in her life to drugs, accidents, suicide, and the bad luck that can follow people who live in poverty, particularly black men. In this book, the two-time National Book Award winner grapples with the deaths of these five young men dear to her, and the risk of being a black man in the rural South.
For readers in the middle grades, All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely, in which Rashad and Quinn — one black, one white — realize through an instance of police brutality that racism and prejudice didn’t die after the civil rights movement. There’s a future at stake, and these boys have to risk everything to change the world.
For elementary and younger readers, I Can Do Hard Things by Gabi Garcia, introduces children to the practice of listening to their quiet voice inside and using mindful affirmations to support them in navigating hard situations.
All these books are available at the Swarthmore Campus and Community Store at a 20% discount through June 15. In addition, Swarthmore Public Library has stocked ten extra copies of Men We Reaped for lending.
“One Book, One Swarthmore” events — all free and open to the public — begin Friday, June 7, with a community potluck and book club gathering at the Swarthmore Community Center, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Readers aged 16 and up are invited to bring a dish and discuss Men We Reaped with neighbors and community members. Registration is required; see https://delcolibraries.libcal.com/event/5422030, where you can find particulars on all programs and books in “One Book, One Swarthmore.”
At the Swarthmore Farmers Market on Saturday, June 8, children and their adults can participate in the “I, Too, Am Swarthmore” community art project. You’ll help create a community collage representing what it means to be from our community. Magazines, construction paper, markers, crayons and other art supplies will be provided.
Readers and writers aged 10 -14 are the prime movers in the “Me and My Community” poetry workshop and open mic session on Monday, June 10, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at the Swarthmore Borough Hall Council Room. Attend a poetry workshop with local writer Satya Nelms, and create haikus and free verse poems expressing what makes you and your community unique. The first half of the session will be spent creating, and the second half in (optional) sharing. Register beforehand at swarthmorepubliclibrary.org.