One Book, One Community Book Reads!
In April of 2002, the Community School Organizers from Saginaw Township Community Education, Colleen Carty, Cathi Kerns, Linda Perry, and Chris Tiderington, and their committee embarked on its first One Book, One Community project. Based on successful efforts in Seattle, Chicago and Cleveland, the purpose of One Book, One Community was to encourage informal discussion and to spark important conversation across Saginaw County.
The book that had been chosen for the 2002 One Book, One Community project was Hope Was Here by Joan Bauer.
The book was targeted as a "Summer Read" seeking to alleviate some of the pain in Saginaw Township's schools following vehicle-related deaths of seven students and former students - all within 18 months. What transpired next could not have been imagined!
- Over 1,000 books were distributed to teachers, students, and community members. These books were provided at cost by The Children's Book Company in the Antique Warehouse on Tittabawassee
- " Hope Was Here " buttons were distributed and began showing up across the township
- An 8-page study guide and newspaper articles written by Rev. Mark Molldrem. Group discussions were held at Resurrection Lutheran Church
- Carol Lechel, director of the READ Association of Saginaw County, hand delivered copies of the book to the Juvenile Detention Center
- Two grants totalling $10,000 from the C.K. Eddy Memorial Fund, and the Arnold and Gertrude Boutell Memorial fund
- A"Hope Sandwich" was made at Cafe Suze, in honor of the book's main character, Hope Yancey
- The McBrite Manor book club chose this book for their read, using Rev. Molldrem's study guide
- The author, Joan Bauer, visited Heritage High School and White Pine Middle School to speak at an all-school assembly. This dynamic author and speaker's message was welcomed by the students and staff at both buildings. Over 300 people attended the book signing which followed
- Spin-off from the book, a TV show called "Java With Jan" starring Jan LeCureux at the Hope Cafe airs on Charter Cable Channel 98, providing information about the schools and community
- The Hope Was Here project was the winner of the Annual Critic's Choice Award, given by the Saginaw News, for Saginaw County!
Community Reads like Hope Was Here are designed to broaden people's appreciation of literature through reading and discussion, and to encourage a sense of community among our citizens. Community Reads began about five years ago with a program called, "If All of Seattle Read One Book." This and similar programs have become an exciting and effective way to promote unique community interactions.
Projects vary, but most include multiple opportunities for people to read and discuss one book during a defined period of time. A listing of programs across the country is on the Library of Congress' Center for the Book web site at: http://www.loc.gov/loc/cfbook/one-book.html .
For the web site for Hope Was Here, click here .
Our 2nd Community Read showcased "The Color of Water" by James McBride. Saginaw Township Community School's Community Schools Organizers Colleen Carty, Cathi Kerns, Linda Perry, & Chris Tiderington were the driving force behind the project, securing community partners, raising funds, coordinating meetings, making presentations, and ultimately securing the author's visit to Saginaw!
In the morning of March 18, James McBride talked with and, with his jazz band, entertained almost 750 students from 13 different schools from around the county! In the afternoon, the community visited with James up close at a book signing at the Hoyt library. And to cap off a great day, a day proclaimed "James McBride Day" by Saginaw's Mayor Wilmer Jones-Ham, James delighted an audience of almost 700 people at the Temple Theater in an evening performance!
For this great effort, Community Schools Organizers Colleen Carty, Cathi Kerns, Linda Perry, & Chris Tiderington received the 2003 Community Service Award from the United Way!
Click here for a web site for James McBride , author of The Color of Water.
For our third Community Read, we chose the topic of bullying. Three books were selected for various age levels: Hooway for Wodney Wat, Tales of Devereaux and the main book, Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson. Speak was also made into a movie. Classroom sets of Speak for the middle and high school were purchased by donated funds and inservices were held for bus drivers, nutrition services staff, and noon-hour supervisors.
Click here for a web site for Speak.
Our next Community Read centered around the topic of Internet predators. The book that was selected was Amy, by Mary Hooper. The books read was the impetus for a community forum, sponsored by the Saginaw News, and attended by almost 300 people. Representives included the FBI, a local prosecuting attorney, law enforcement, and local technology personnel.
Click here for a web site for Amy.
For our fifth Community read, we chose the topic of community engagement. The concept was to begin to chip away at the sense of isolation within a community, to get outside and meet your neighbors. The book chosen was Seedfolks.
This books was a summer read and led to a collaboration between the Saginaw Township Community Schools and Saginaw Charter Township. That collaboration yielded the creation of a Community Garden named Common Ground. That very next summer, ground was broken on a township area during our very first Common Ground Garden Party. Gardeners planted vegetables and flowers and a fall harvest celebration was held in late Fall. Since then, the gardens have tripled and the Common Ground Garden Party has become an annual event!
Click here for a link to Seedfolds.
Stay tuned in for our next, exciting Community Book Read!