Great Stories Book Club

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The Pawling Free Library  has been selected as one of 58 libraries nationwide to take part in the Great Stories Club, a reading and discussion program for under-served teens. These competitive grants are offered by the American Library Association (ALA) with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

As part of the Great Stories Club, Maureen Meltzer-McGrath, Young Adult Program Coordinator from the Pawling Free Library will work with a small group of teens to read and discuss stories that explore questions of race, equity, identity and history. Bilingual book discussions will be led in partnership with Madelyn Ortiz from Camino al Éxito. Participants will receive copies of all the books to keep and Spanish language versions will be available when possible.

The books—curated for the theme “Finding Your Voice: Speaking Truth to Power”—will include “The Poet X” by Elizabeth Acevedo; “Piecing Me Together” by Renée Watson; “American Street” by Ibi Zoboi; and “Anger Is a Gift” by Mark Oshiro.

The books—curated for the second theme “Deeper than Our Skins: The Present Is a Conversation with the Past”—will include “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates; “The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano” by Sonia Manzano; “The Shadow Hero” by Gene Luen Yang, illustrated by Sonny Liew; and “Always Running: La Vida Loca: Gang Days in L.A.” by Luis J. Rodriguez.

The titles were selected to inspire young people—especially those facing difficult circumstances or challenges—to consider "big questions" about the world around them and their place in it. The first series, "Finding Your Voice: Speaking Truth to Power" will begin September 18th. For details, see below.

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September 18th thru December 20th

For ages 13 & up

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09/18, 6:00 PM 

The first meeting of Finding Your Voice: Speaking Truth to Power will be a bilingual discussion of The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo. A Spanish edition of the book is available upon request.
When participants register, they will receive the first book and a journal, in which to take notes or jot down thoughts during reading, prior to this meeting. During this one-hour meeting, we will talk about and will use the incidents in the book to create a discussion about the larger issues faced by the characters and how they might relate to the participants’ own lives. At the end of the meeting, the teens will be given the second book.

09/27, 6:00 PM 

Poetry Workshop based on The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo.

Participants will be given direction in writing their own poetry in their journals. The participants will be given the freedom to choose their own style and themes for these poems. After the participants have had sufficient time to write their poems, they will have the opportunity to share them with the group.

10/16, 6:00 PM 

Participants will have read Anger is a Gift  by Mark Oshiro prior to the meeting.  The discussion will be led bilingually to accommodate all participants. We will use the incidents in the book to address wider issues that the participants may have experienced or feel passionate about. If they are comfortable with the idea, the teens can share entries from their journals. At the end of the program, the teens will be given the third book.

 

10/25, 6:00 PM 

For this program, based on Anger is a Gift by Mark Oshiro, we will explore ways to find release from the events and incidents in our lives that cause anxiety and despair. These may include yoga, meditation, and/or coloring activities.

 

11/20, 6:00 PM 

Participants will have read I am Alfonso Jones  by Tony Medina prior to the meeting.  The discussion will be led bilingually to accommodate all participants. We will use the incidents in the book to create a discussion about the larger issues faced by the characters and how they might relate to the participants' own lives. If they are comfortable with the idea, the teens can share entries from their journals. At the end of the meeting, the teens will be given the fourth book.

 

11/29, 6:00 PM 

For this program, we will invite the participants to a “family” meal featuring the comfort foods from their home countries.

 

12/11, 6:00 PM 

Participants will have read Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson prior to the meeting. The discussion will be led bilingually to accommodate all participants. We will use the topics explored in the text to address the wider issues that the participants may have experienced themselves. If they are comfortable with the idea, the teens can share entries from their journals.

12/20, 6:00 PM 

For this workshop based on Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson, we will supply the teens with canvas, paint, and materials to use to create collage art.  Additionally, at the end of this series, participants will be invited to submit any of their poems, collages, or journal entries to compile into a published book highlighting their collected work.