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Libraries to read and celebrate Silver Sparrow by Rutgers professor Tayari Jones



Montclair Public Library (MPL) joins fifteen other Essex County libraries in the their first countywide reading program this April. Funded primarily through a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and presented by Essex County Library Directors (ECLD), the Big Read broadens our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book.

The Essex County Big Read will focus on Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones, a professor at Rutgers University-Newark. Jones will visit MPL on April 19 to discuss her novel as part of the library's With the Author series in partnership with Watchung Booksellers.

To encourage participation across all ages, public libraries will also use the picture book Families, Families, Families! by Suzanne Lang, and the young adult title Tell Us We’re Home by New Jersey author Marina Budhos.

Big Read events for adults happening at MPL include:

Big Read Read-In

Wednesday, April 5 at 7 p.m.

Join us in celebrating the Big Read with a Read-In! Choose your favorite poem about sisters or unique relationships, or a passage from Tayari Jones’ Silver Sparrow, and sign up for a two-minute time slot to read your chosen piece aloud. This program will be led by Laura Boss, founder and editor of Lips. Boss, whose poems have appeared in The New York Times, is a first prize winner of PSA’s Gordon Barber Poetry Contest as well as a recipient of three NJSCA Poetry Fellowships.

Conducting Historical Online Research for Your Fiction Writing

Saturday, April 8 at 1:30 p.m.

In the chapter “Love and Happiness,” Tayari Jones weaves into her fictional tale events from real life, incorporating an incident from 1974 when Mary Woodson threw boiling hot grits on the famous soul singer, Al Green. These types of details drawn from actual events can add much needed nuance to your fiction writing. The devil is in the details, and to get those details right, you need to be an excellent researcher. This class will focus on how to conduct research like a pro; topics include searching online library databases and open-source collections for primary and secondary sources.

Silver Sparrow Hair Talk – A Conversation About Good Hair and Other Entanglements

Tuesday, April 11 at 6:30 p.m.

The theme of hair is referenced repeatedly throughout Tayari Jones’ Silver Sparrow. Join us for a conversation with AhavaFelicidad, Founder Ahava Felicidad Hair and Body and Dr. Sandra Lewis, Professor of Psychology and Director of African American Studies at Montclair State University based around this theme of hair. The speakers hope this particular event can raise questions and point out the issues in certain ways of thinking about hair, as well as society’s take on African American hair, and the significance of hair in an African American woman’s life.

Best Years Book Club – Senior Book Group

Tuesday, April 18 at 2 p.m.

Join MPL’s newest book club! All older adults are invited to join us in the Senior Space once a month for a discussion of a great book. To join, please email reference@montclair.bccls.org or call 973-744-0500 ext. 2235. April’s book: Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones.

Healthy vs. Unhealthy Relationships: Recognizing The Clues

Tuesday, April 18 at 6 p.m.

In Tayari Jones’ Silver Sparrow, unhealthy relationships are on display, including how such relationships affect all those involved, sometimes for years to come. S.O.F.I.A. – Start Out Fresh Intervention Advocates presents this workshop on healthy vs. unhealthy relationships, and how to recognize the clues. Behaviors that we hope to encourage in relationships vs. those that are problematic in order to develop close and intimate relationships with others.

With the Author: Tayari Jones

Wednesday, April 19 at 7 p.m.

Big Read author Tayari Jones will discuss her novel Silver Sparrow. With the Author is presented in partnership with Watchung Booksellers to promote local authors with the intent of fostering a love of reading and a love of literature. Book will be for sale following the talk.

Silver Sparrow Book Discussion

Wednesday, April 26 at 7 p.m.

Join us for a book discussion of Tayari Jones’ Silver Sparrow. The casual chat will be led by MPL staff.

Big Read events for kids and teens happening at MPL include:

Toddler Time

Tuesday, April 4 at 10:30 a.m. & 11:30 a.m.

(2 year-olds)

Enjoy Suzanne Lang’s Families, Families, Families! for the Bid Read! Two-year-olds and the adults in their lives explore language and numbers through stories and songs. Picture books, flannel board stories, and nursery rhymes are used to introduce the wonder of books. Children of all abilities welcome. Registration begins March 27.

Family Storytime @ Bellevue Avenue Branch

Wednesday, April 5 at 11 a.m.

(Newborns to 5 year-olds)

Enjoy Suzanne Lang’s Families, Families, Families! for the Bid Read! This program is designed for newborns through five year-olds accompanied by a favorite adult. Share books, stories, finger-plays, rhymes, and music with your children. Enjoy a story session that encourages a love of reading and fosters the development of early literacy skills. Children of all abilities welcome. Registration begins March 27.

Babies in the Library

Monday, April 10 at 10:30 a.m. & 11:30 a.m.

(Newborns to 23 mos.)

Babies meet babies! Enjoy Suzanne Lang’s Families, Families, Families! for the Bid Read! Parents and caregivers sing nursery rhymes together with their little ones. Songs, language activities, and board books will be introduced during each session. Make baby's first library experience a special one! Children of all abilities welcome. Registration begins March 27.

KoRT: Knights of the Round Table Book Club

Tuesday, April 11 at 6:30 p.m.

(Ages 12 & up)

Hear ye hear ye, KoRT is now in session! Youth Services Librarian Kiersten Paine wants to know what you are reading. This month we'll have a special book talk presentation and discussion about Marina Budhos' "Tell Us We're Home," our Young Adult Big Read book. Following our Big Read discussion, we'll also have activities for National Poetry Month and a bite to eat! *Please advise of any food allergies.

Mother Goose

Thursday, April 13 at 3:30 p.m.

(Ages 3 to 6)

Enjoy Suzanne Lang’s Families, Families, Families! for the Bid Read! Mother Goose is a fun way to promote literacy among our preschool-aged patrons. Picture books, flannel board stories, songs and puppets are used to build upon children’s natural enthusiasm for books and reading. Children of all abilities welcome. Registration begins March 27.

For more information on any of these events and to register, visit montclairlibrary.org/bigread or call (973) 744-0500 ext. 2235.

Other participating libraries include John Cotton Dana Library of Rutgers University-Newark, Belleville Public Library, Bloomfield Public Library, Caldwell Public Library, Cedar Grove Public Library, East Orange Public Library, Glen Ridge Public Library, Livingston Public Library, Maplewood Public Library, Millburn Public Library, Montclair Public Library, Newark Public Library, Roseland Public Library, South Orange Public Library, West Caldwell Public Library and West Orange Public Library. For more information and the full list of county events, visit essexcountybigread.org


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