Young adult author to visit Kent Curtis event will coincide with Community Reads program

Chad Dryden Published:

Christopher Paul Curtis, the Newbery Award-winning author of the acclaimed young adult novels Bud, Not Buddy and The Watsons Go to Birmingham, 1963, will visit with Kent City Schools students April 2.

Curtis visit, which will coincide with the 40th anniversary of the Birmingham, Ala., bombings, is part of the Community Reads program sponsored by the Kent City Schools Author Committee and the Kent Free Librarys Friends of the Library.

A series of events will be held at the library in March to celebrate the nationwide program, which encourages members of a community to read the same book in order to promote literacy, fellowship and spontaneous discussion of thoughts and ideas.

The Friends of the Library is asking everyone in the Kent community to join students at Stanton Middle School and Theodore Roosevelt High School in reading The Watsons Go to Birmingham, 1963, which is the story of a familys visit to Birmingham at the time of the church bombings, told through the eyes of a child.

The group also has suggested for adult readers Diane McWhorters Pulitzer-prize winning Carry Me Home.

The group hopes that by bringing the community together to discuss the books that the barriers between people and cultures that led to the bombings can be broken down while providing an enriching experience for students outside of the classroom.

The following events will be held at the Kent Free Library leading up to Curtis visit: an open book discussion on The Watsons Go to Birmingham, 1963 and Carry Me Home facilitated by Pat Druckenmiller from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. March 6; a presentation of Stories of the Civil Rights Movement by storyteller Barbara Eady from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. March 10; a freedom conference with Clarence Watts, Fran and Marlene Dorsey and others discussing what it was like living in Kent during the Civil Rights era from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. March 20.

A community presentation and reception with Curtis will be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. April 2 in the Roosevelt High School library. The events are open to all community members, including students, parents, book clubs and organizations. For more information on participating in the Kent Community Reads program or attending any of the events, call Roosevelt librarian Jan Wojnaroski at (330) 676-8732.

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