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Buena Vista residents of all ages are invited to participate in a “community read” during the 2021 summer season. Buena Vista Schools and the Buena Vista Public Library are teaming up to connect youth and adults through shared reading and multiple events this summer.

Superintendent of the Buena Vista School District, Lisa Yates explained “After a year of distancing and learning disruption, we wanted to create a way for our community to reconnect in ways that also encourage learning and thinking. At a time such as this, we all could benefit from hearing perspectives, finding common ground, expressing ideas clearly, and engaging respectfully with one another, face-to-face.”

Image courtesy of the Buena Vista Community Library.

Book selections include picture books, a fiction novel for middle-grade readers, and a nonfiction book geared toward teens and adults. Library director Cecilia LaFrance said, “The selections pose unique stories and invite reaction and interpretations characteristic of quality literature.”

When You Trap a Tiger, by Tae Keller, tells a fantastical story of a young girl, who moves with her family to Washington to be with her ailing grandmother and encounters a magical tiger she’s heard about in her grandmother’s Korean folktales.

“This Newbery Award-winning book spurs the imagination and highlights the power of generations in families,” said youth service coordinator, Julia Makowski. The community is welcome to attend the discussion and activities for this book at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, June 23, at the Middle and High School. Picture book activities will also entertain young readers.

For teens and adults, discussion and activities will be held at 5:00 p.m. on July 7 at the Middle and High School for the book Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer. Braiding Sweetgrass weaves Native American myth and tradition, ecology, and botany in spirited essays to promote a message of reciprocity with nature. The Greater Arkansas River Nature Association (GARNA) will present on wetlands and lead hands-on projects using cattails. Story Times are available for the youngest readers.

Image courtesy of the Buena Vista Community Library.

Director of GARNA, Dominique Naccarato said, “I’ve looked forward to reading Braiding Sweetgrass ever since seeing author Robin Wall Kimmerer speak about reciprocity at the 2017 Headwaters Conference at Western Colorado University. I have a shared dream with Mrs. Kimmerer of being a ‘Professor of Earthly Gifts’, and I’m excited to be reading this book with our community.”

“It is a simple idea: a community reading the same book (or two) together and having conversations,” Yates said. “We imagine older adults sitting with younger people sharing the wisdom of lived experience as they talk together about books they have both read.”

The community will also have a chance to respond to the reading at the Library’s Summer Reading Tail End Burro Party at McPhelemy Park on July 31.

Free copies of all books may be picked up at the Buena Vista Schools Office at 113 N. Court Street from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. Print and digital copies may be checked out through the library.

“Maybe BV READS can be a small part of reconnecting all ages to one another while also keeping our students thinking and learning even during summer. I look forward to connecting at the three events planned this summer as well as on our streets and in our shops to talk about When You Trap a Tiger and Braiding Sweetgrass,” said Yates.