First published in the Oct. 1 print issue of the Burbank Leader.
October marks the annual Burbank Reads program at the Burbank Public Library.
The library will hold a number of events throughout the month, including book and film discussions, scrapbooking, map making and more.
“Burbank Reads revolves around the idea that we can build community and common understanding through the shared act of reading,” said Elizabeth Goldman, Burbank Library services director, in her monthly newsletter. “The concept of everyone in a city reading the same book originated many years ago and spread across the country as a simple way to bring people together. Reading, after all, builds empathy, and empathy is a building block of a strong society.”
This year’s Burbank Reads theme goes deeper into that topic by focusing on the theme of “community and belonging” through a primary title, “A Map Is Only One Story: Twenty Writers on Immigration, Family, and the Meaning of Home,” edited by Nicole Chung, who collects essays about immigrant experiences.
“Belonging can mean many different things in different stages of life or circumstances,” Goldman said.
“Given that Burbank is made up of a range of people, identities, and experiences, what holds us together? Where can we find common ground, call upon ourselves to build and maintain a welcoming community, and consciously choose a less divisive path?”
Burbank Reads is for all ages, and this year’s children’s selection features a local author, Jennifer Jackson, who along with Miry Whitehill wrote “Our World Is a Family: Our Community Can Change the World.” The authors will talk to kids about their book at the Community Unity Story Time on Oct. 11.
The book introduces children to some of the reasons for human migration and encourages them to identify ways to welcome their neighbors.
Readers can participate by checking out the title, joining in a book discussion, or attending any of a variety of programs connected to the theme, which are listed at burbanklibrary.org/newsletter.
“Whatever the topic prompts you to think and learn about, we encourage you to discuss community and belonging with your friends and family. Everyone can relate to these universal themes,” Goldman said.