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Wilton Reads 2021

Memorial Drive by Natasha Trethewey
March - April 2021

Memorial Drive We welcome all community members to join Wilton Library this spring as we come together to read, discuss and reflect upon Memorial Drive: A Daughter's Memoir by Natasha Trethewey, for our fifteenth Wilton Reads event. Wilton Reads has, for many years, given us an opportunity through fine literature to sharpen our view of ourselves and the world around us. This year’s community-wide read will bring an exploration of racism and race relations through insightful programming and a collaboration with the Wilton Public Schools.

In her memoir, Natasha Trethewey chronicles her life growing up as a “child of miscegenation” in Mississippi, and how it was impacted by her mother’s death during a horrific crime in 1985.

Memorial Drive has garnered awards and accolades including becoming a New York Times Bestseller, A New York Times Notable Book, A Washington Post Top 10 Best Book of 2020, An NPR Best Book of 2020, a Slate Best Book of 2020, a USA Today Best Book of 2020, an Amazon Best Book of 2020. Even President Obama has chosen it as one of his favorite books of 2020.

The author will be recognized with a Grodin Family Fine Writers award during her virtual talk. Elissa and Charles Grodin have been sponsoring the Grodin Family Fine Writers Awards for the library’s Wilton Reads programs.

The Village Market is the sponsor of the virtual author talk. The media sponsor of Wilton Reads is GOOD Morning Wilton. Books are available for purchase at Elm Street Books. A portion of the proceeds benefit Wilton Library.


Additional Resources

Nonfiction Books
Fiction Books
Audiobooks (Overdrive and CDs)
Videos (Kanopy, Hoopla and DVDs)
Books for Grades K-2
Books for Grades 3 – 5
Educational Resources and Videos


Book Giveaway

To encourage readership and to kick off the Wilton Reads 2021 program, hardcover books of Memorial Drive: A Daughter's Memoir will be distributed to members of the community free of charge courtesy of Fairfield County Bank on a first-come, first-served basis, one per person, on Tuesday, March 2, from 10 – 11 am and again from 5 – 6 pm at the Drive-Thru Window on Godfrey Place, while supplies last. The library also has copies of the book in print and audiobook on CDs, eBook and eAudiobook formats to borrow.


Wilton Reads 2021 Events

Please join us for the following programs that provide opportunity for insight and conversation about racism and race relations. Be part of our journey of book discussions, a historical perspective, a cultural look at music of the times, and so much more, all culminating in a very special live stream session with the author on Thursday, April 15, beginning at 7 p.m.  Please click on the registration links for more details about each program and to register for the Zoom links, as all programs are virtual.  

Wednesday, March 3 Celebrating Diversity, 3:30 – 4 p.m.

Children ages 4 through 7 are invited to join in this story time. Each Wednesday from March 3 through April 7, we will share picture books that represent a variety of cultural backgrounds. Kids will have a chance to explore these "window" books, where they can learn about someone else's life that may be different from their own. Children will hear the stories, have a discussion, and do an activity. Participants will receive a free copy of one of the books. Registration is required as space is limited. There is no fee. Please register for each session separately in order to receive the Zoom link.  Supported by an anonymous donor. Questions? Email aszabo@wiltonlibrary.org Register Now!

 

Wednesday, March 10 Celebrating Diversity, 3:30 – 4 p.m.

Children ages 4 through 7 are invited to join in this story time. Each Wednesday from March 3 through April 7, we will share picture books that represent a variety of cultural backgrounds. Kids will have a chance to explore these "window" books, where they can learn about someone else's life that may be different from their own. Children will hear the stories, have a discussion, and do an activity. Participants will receive a free copy of one of the books. Registration is required as space is limited. There is no fee. Please register for each session separately in order to receive the Zoom link.  Supported by an anonymous donor. Questions? Email aszabo@wiltonlibrary.org Register Now!

 

Monday, March 15 Wilton Reads - Teen Book Giveaway, 3 – 6 p.m.

In support of Wilton Reads 2021, Wilton Library is offering teens in grades 8-12 a limited number of free copies of The Black Friend: On Being A Better White Person by Frederick Joseph. Many thanks to an anonymous donor for sponsoring this initiative. Teens can pick up their complimentary copy at the library’s Drive-Thru Window on Godfrey Place beginning on Monday, March 15 at 3 p.m. and every afternoon that week while supplies last. Call Teen Services at 203-762-6342 or email teen@wiltonlibrary.org with any questions.

 

 

Wednesday, March 17 Celebrating Diversity, 3:30 – 4 p.m.

Children ages 4 through 7 are invited to join in this story time. Each Wednesday from March 3 through April 7, we will share picture books that represent a variety of cultural backgrounds. Kids will have a chance to explore these "window" books, where they can learn about someone else's life that may be different from their own. Children will hear the stories, have a discussion, and do an activity. Participants will receive a free copy of one of the books. Registration is required as space is limited. There is no fee. Please register for each session separately in order to receive the Zoom link.  Supported by an anonymous donor. Questions? Email aszabo@wiltonlibrary.org Register Now!

 

Wednesday, March 24 Celebrating Diversity, 3:30 – 4 p.m.

Children ages 4 through 7 are invited to join in this story time. Each Wednesday from March 3 through April 7, we will share picture books that represent a variety of cultural backgrounds. Kids will have a chance to explore these "window" books, where they can learn about someone else's life that may be different from their own. Children will hear the stories, have a discussion, and do an activity. Participants will receive a free copy of one of the books. Registration is required as space is limited. There is no fee. Please register for each session separately in order to receive the Zoom link.  Supported by an anonymous donor. Questions? Email aszabo@wiltonlibrary.org Register Now!

 

Wednesday, March 31 Celebrating Diversity, 3:30 – 4 p.m.

Children ages 4 through 7 are invited to join in this story time. Each Wednesday from March 3 through April 7, we will share picture books that represent a variety of cultural backgrounds. Kids will have a chance to explore these "window" books, where they can learn about someone else's life that may be different from their own. Children will hear the stories, have a discussion, and do an activity. Participants will receive a free copy of one of the books. Registration is required as space is limited. There is no fee. Please register for each session separately in order to receive the Zoom link.  Supported by an anonymous donor. Email aszabo@wiltonlibrary.org Register Now!

 

Thursdays, April 1, 8, 15 & 22 Spring Poetry with Judson Scruton: Natasha Trethewey - Experiencing Prejudice in the American South, 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Judson Scruton leads a 4-week poetry series on the poetry of this year's Wilton Reads author and poet Natasha Trethewey. Natasha Trethewey is a 2007 Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and the 2020 author of a widely-acclaimed memoir — Memorial Drive. In her five poetry collections, she explores her own mixed-race experiences growing up in Mississippi and Georgia as well as other mixed-race women’s experiences in earlier times. No charge for the program. Register online in order to receive the readings and the Zoom session invitation links. By registering for the first session, you will automatically be registered for all four sessions. Please email Michael Bellacosa with any questions at mbellacosa@wiltonlibrary.org. Judson Scruton M.A (The Johns Hopkins University, The Writing Seminars, specializing in poetry) has taught creative writing and literature at prep schools and universities. Please see the registration link for program and speaker details, and to register. Register Now!
 

Tuesday, April 6 Book Discussion - Memorial Drive with Susan Boyar, 7 – 8:30  p.m.

Join professional book discussion leader Susan Boyar for an evening discussion of Wilton Library's Wilton Reads 2021 selection, Memorial Drive, by Natasha Trethewey via Zoom.   A Zoom link will be sent to all registered participants before the program.  Questions?  Please contact Karen Zeibak at kzeibak@wiltonlibrary.org. Register Now!

 

 

 
Wednesday, April 7 Book Discussion - Memorial Drive with Susan Boyar, 12 – 1:30 p.m.

Join professional book discussion leader Susan Boyar for a midday discussion of Wilton Library's Wilton Reads 2021 selection, Memorial Drive, by Natasha Trethewey via Zoom.   A Zoom link will be sent to all registered participants before the program.  Questions?  Please contact Karen Zeibak at kzeibak@wiltonlibrary.org. Register Now!

 

 

 

Wednesday, April 7 Celebrating Diversity, 3:30 – 4 p.m. Children ages 4 through 7 are invited to join in this story time.

Each Wednesday from March 3 through April 7, we will share picture books that represent a variety of cultural backgrounds. Kids will have a chance to explore these "window" books, where they can learn about someone else's life that may be different from their own. Children will hear the stories, have a discussion, and do an activity. Participants will receive a free copy of one of the books. Registration is required as space is limited. There is no fee. Please register for each session separately in order to receive the Zoom link.  Supported by an anonymous donor. Email aszabo@wiltonlibrary.org Register Now!

 

Tuesday, April 13 Wilton Reads Interfaith Panel - Finding Success: Women Clergy Share Their Experiences, 6 – 7:30 p.m.

This is a Wilton Reads interfaith clergy discussion moderated by Our Lady of Fatima Pastor Father Reggie Norman. Wilton is a unique town in that the majority of the religious leaders are women. Many have overcome discrimination and hardships to fulfill their vocations. A panel of local clergy will discuss their experiences and how their ministries impact the daily lives of their congregations during this difficult time. Attendees are invited to send their questions to eventquestions@wiltonlibrary.org prior to the program so they may be addressed by the panel. Clergy panelists are Rev. Dr. Anne Coffman, Sr. Pastor, Wilton Congregational Church; Cantor Harriet Dunkerley, Cantor, Educator, Lead Clergy, Temple B'nai Chaim; Golnar Rassi, Muslim Community Representative; Rev. Marissa S. Rohrbach, Rector, St. Matthew's Episcopal Church; Caroline Smith, Pastor, Wilton Baptist Church; and Rev. Shannon White, Pastor, Wilton Presbyterian Church. There is no charge. Online registration required to receive the Zoom invitation link. Questions about the program: email mbellacosa@wiltonlibrary.org. Register Now!
 
Wednesday, April 14 Gospel, Soul, and Motown: the Transmutation of Rock with Dr. Gil Harel, 5 – 6:30 p.m.

Please join us for a Wilton Reads program centered on the musical environment of Trethewey's life growing up in the 1970s. There are numerous references in Memorial Drive: A Daughter's Memoir to the music and musicians of that period including Curtis Mayfield. Marvin Gaye and iconic groups such as The Jackson Five. Dr. Gil Harel will take us on a tour of several of the genres of popular music of that era. Harel will discuss important artists including Curtis Mayfield, Al Green, Marvin Gaye, as well as iconic groups such as the Temptations, the Four Tops, and the Jackson Five, all whom provided a bold, improvisational singing approach that is often cited as reflecting consciousness and pride in being black. Gil Harel is a musicologist and music theorist whose interests include styles ranging from the western classical repertoire to jazz. Registration is required in order to receive the live stream-link. See the registration link for program and speaker details, and to register. Register Now!

Wednesday, April 14 New Kid Book Club, 1:30 – 2:30 p.m.

Students in grade 5 are invited to join Cider Mill and Wilton Library is this engaging three-week book club exploring New Kid by Jerry Craft.  Each week kids will have the chance to openly and honestly discuss their thoughts and feelings about different aspects of the story and the characters’ experiences. Topics to be discussed are graphic novel as a format, Jordan’s experiences related to his race, bullying, family relationships, and more. This program is being offered as part of the library’s Wilton Reads program.  Students who participate will receive a signed copy of the book distributed through the school. Registration is required. Questions? Email aszabo@wiltonlibrary.org. Register Now!
 
Thursday, April 15 Author Talk: Natasha Trethewey: Memorial Drive: A Daughter's Memoir, 6 – 7:00 p.m.

Join us for a virtual author talk by Pulitzer Prize winner Natasha Trethewey, author of Wilton Reads 2021 pick Memorial Drive: A Daughter's Memoir.  Trethewey will be in conversation with Wiltonian Megan Smith-Harris. The author will be recognized with a Grodin Family Fine Writers award during her virtual talk. Elissa and Charles Grodin have been sponsoring the Grodin Family Fine Writers Awards for the library’s Wilton Reads programs. The virtual talk is sponsored by The Village Market.  In her memoir, the author chronicles her life growing up as a “child of miscegenation” in Mississippi, and how her life was impacted by her mother’s death during a horrific crime in 1985. Memorial Drive has garnered awards and accolades including becoming a New York Times Bestseller, A New York Times Notable Book, A Washington Post Top 10 Best Book of 2020, An NPR Best Book of 2020, a Slate Best Book of 2020, a USA Today Best Book of 2020, an Amazon Best Book of 2020. Even President Obama has chosen it as one of his favorite books of 2020. Writer/filmmaker Megan Smith-Harris is the founder and Executive Director of the Fairfield Film Festival. Registration is required in order to receive the live stream-link. See the registration link for details on the program, speakers and to register. Click here to purchase Memorial Drive: A Daughter’s Memoir. A portion of the proceeds purchased through Elm Street Books benefits Wilton Library. Register Now!

Tuesday, April 20 Anatomy of Race Relations: The Way Forward, 7 – 8:30 p.m.

Please join us for a Wilton Reads panel discussion in which four Wilton community members will discuss race relations in America and explore ways in which to make further progress on this critical issue. Our panel includes: Adrienne Reedy, currently a member of Wilton’s Police Commission; Kelly Weldon, Director of Foundations in Faith for the Bridgeport Diocese; Bill Harris, adjunct professor at Sacred Heart University and Director of the SHU Community Theatre; and, Chris Brubeck, musician and composer of jazz and classical music. The discussion will be moderated by writer/filmmaker Megan Smith-Harris, founder and Executive Director of the Fairfield Film Festival. No charge. Online registration is required in order to receive the Zoom invitation link. Attendees will be able to submit questions for a moderated Q&A period following the panel discussion. Register Now!

 

Wednesday, April 21 New Kid Book Club, 1:30 – 2:30 p.m.

Students in grade 5 are invited to join Cider Mill and Wilton Library is this engaging three-week book club exploring New Kid by Jerry Craft.  Each week kids will have the chance to openly and honestly discuss their thoughts and feelings about different aspects of the story and the characters’ experiences. Topics to be discussed are graphic novel as a format, Jordan’s experiences related to his race, bullying, family relationships, and more. This program is being offered as part of the library’s Wilton Reads program.  Students who participate will receive a signed copy of the book distributed through the school. Registration is required. Questions? Email aszabo@wiltonlibrary.org. Register Now!

 

Wednesday, April 28 New Kid Book Club, 1:30 – 2:30 p.m.

Students in grade 5 are invited to join Cider Mill and Wilton Library is this engaging three-week book club exploring New Kid by Jerry Craft.  Each week kids will have the chance to openly and honestly discuss their thoughts and feelings about different aspects of the story and the characters’ experiences. Topics to be discussed are graphic novel as a format, Jordan’s experiences related to his race, bullying, family relationships, and more. This program is being offered as part of the library’s Wilton Reads program.  Students who participate will receive a signed copy of the book distributed through the school. Registration is required. Questions? Email aszabo@wiltonlibrary.org. Register Now!


The Music in Her Life: The Remarkable Career of Betty Jones

Enjoy a piece of Wilton history, courtesy of the Wilton Historical Society as shared by the family of famous opera star, the late Betty Jones. In this episode of “History is Here,” Wilton Historical Society’s Associate Curator Nick Foster had an opportunity to speak with Janet Shipp, the daughter of Betty Jones, and Betty’s husband Eugene “Doug” Jones, to discuss the fascinating and unconventional life of the opera star. They shared their thoughts on Betty’s love of music, the hours spent at the Wilton Playshop, as well as being the first African American couple to buy a home in Wilton in 1954, and their lifetime of active civil rights engagement.





Programs

Date

Time

Author Talk - Virtual

Author Talk: Natasha Trethewey: Memorial Drive: A Daughter's Memoir

Thursday, April 15

6 - 7:00 pm

Book Giveaway

Memorial Drive Book Giveaway at Drive-Thru Window

courtesy of Fairfield County Bank

Tuesday, March 2

10 - 11 am;

5 - 6 pm

Book Group Discussions - Virtual

Book Discussion with Susan Boyar - Memorial Drive

Tuesday, April 6

7 - 8:30 pm

Book Discussion with Susan Boyar - Memorial Drive

Wednesday, April 7

12 - 1:30 pm

Music Appreciation - Virtual

Gospel, Soul, and Motown: the Transmutation of Rock with Dr. Gil Harel

Wednesday, April 14

5 - 6:30 pm

Seminars - Virtual

Spring Poetry with Judson Scruton: Natasha Trethewey - Experiencing Prejudice in the American South

Thursday, April 1

10:30 am - 12 pm

Spring Poetry with Judson Scruton: Natasha Trethewey - Experiencing Prejudice in the American South

Thursday, April 8

10:30 am - 12 pm

Wilton Reads Interfaith Panel - Finding Success: Women Clergy Share Their Experiences

Tuesday, April 13

6 - 7:30 pm

Spring Poetry with Judson Scruton: Natasha Trethewey - Experiencing Prejudice in the American South

Thursday, April 15

10:30 am - 12 pm

Anatomy of Race Relations: The Way Forward

Tuesday, April 20

7 - 8:30 pm

Spring Poetry with Judson Scruton: Natasha Trethewey - Experiencing Prejudice in the American South

Thursday, April 22

10:30 am - 12 pm

Children’s Programs - Virtual

Celebrating Diversity Story Time—free book giveaway courtesy of an anonymous donor. 

Wednesday, March 3

3:30 - 4 pm

Celebrating Diversity Story Time—free book giveaway courtesy of an anonymous donor

Wednesday, March 10

3:30 - 4 pm

Celebrating Diversity Story Time—free book giveaway courtesy of an anonymous donor

Wednesday, March 17

3:30 - 4 pm

Celebrating Diversity Story Time—free book giveaway courtesy of an anonymous donor

Wednesday, March 24

3:30 - 4 pm

Celebrating Diversity Story Time—free book giveaway courtesy of an anonymous donor

Wednesday, March 31

3:30 - 4 pm

Celebrating Diversity Story Time—free book giveaway courtesy of an anonymous donor

Wednesday, April 7

3:30 - 4 pm

New Kid Book Club

Wednesday, April 14, 21 & 28

1:30 – 2:30 pm

Teens

Teen Book Giveaway – at the Drive-Thru Window – The Black Friend: On Being A Better White Person courtesy of an anonymous donor 

Monday, March 15 while supplies last through the week

3 - 6 pm

 

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