By Juhi Varma
Representatives from the popular community reading program Malden Reads made a presentation to the Malden City Council on Tuesday night, updating the council on the organization’s plans for this year’s “One City One Book” program. The councillors also received their own copy of this year’s book, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,by Sherman Alexi.
“We find it just amazing how much the program has grown over the past three years, and how widespread and vibrant it has become.” said Anne D’Urso Rose, Malden Access Television (MATV) assistant director and Malden Public Library trustee. She explained, “Malden Reads is brought to you by residents of this city, city leaders, school representatives, local businesses, nonprofit organizations, and other community groups in collaboration with the Malden Public Library and MATV.”
“As we kick off the third year of Malden Reads, we wanted to introduce you to this year’s book selection,” said Jodie Zalk, Malden Reads co-facilitator. “We felt this book, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexi, would continue the themes from last year—continuing traditions, bridging traditions old to new, harnessing one’s own tools of resilience—and it’s really dealing with universal themes that we thought would be relevant.”
Last year’s book was Outcasts United: An American Town, A Refugee Team, and One Woman’s Quest to Make a Difference, by Warren St. John. Over the next few months, Malden Reads will organize a series of events related to the book’s themes.
“We have a wonderful lineup of supporting events at the library, including the opening celebration on February 21, which will take place in the Converse Memorial Building,” said Susan Francis, librarian at the Malden Public Library. “There will be music and art that celebrate heritage and tradition and embrace bridging two worlds, something many of our community members have experienced personally.”
In March the library will host a group from Medford who volunteered their time to build a straw bale house at a reservation in South Dakota. In April the library has invited award-winning children’s author Diane Edgecomb for a reading of the book, Native American Nature Tales, whichexplores tribal myths and legends of North America.
Francis commented: “Using books to open discussions and develop relationships between community members sounds almost a little crazy, or at the least ambitious, but it works. I feel honored to take part in this initiative. We are all fortunate to work in a place where literacy and community matter.”