Saratoga Reads will present a number of events in February specifically designed for young readers and their families. All events are open to the public free of charge.
The activities are related to this year’s Saratoga Reads book of choice, The Round House by Louise Erdrich, and to the Saratoga Reads junior companion books designated for young readers. All of the books center on Native American themes.
The youth programs will begin on Thursday, Feb. 5, with a junior book discussion, Part 1, 6:30-8 p.m. at the Saratoga Springs Public Library, H. Dutcher Community Room. Students in grades 4-6 are invited to join students from Saratoga Springs High School and Skidmore College in a discussion of The Heart of a Chief by local author and educator Joseph Bruchac. In this story an 11-year-old Penacook Indian boy living on a reservation faces his father’s absence, a controversy surrounding plans for a casino on a tribal island, and insensitivity toward Native Americans in his school and nearby town. As he confronts these issues, he finds himself taking his first steps toward leadership.
A second discussion for The Heart of a Chief will be offered on Thursday, Feb. 12, as part of a meet-the-author night with Bruchac. Participants are urged to attend both sessions.
Registration for the events is required. Students may register by emailing their name, grade, and school to email@example.com. Registered students will be given a copy of the book to read and keep.
Lego Contest and Festival
The third annual Saratoga Reads Lego Contest, open to all ages, from preschool to adults, will take place on Saturday, Feb. 7, 10–noon at the Division Street Elementary School in Saratoga Springs. The challenge issued by Saratoga Reads is to build an original Lego model inspired by a favorite book. Students may work on their own, or with family and friends in a collaborative project. For contest rules and an entry form, click here.
There is an entry fee of $10, which goes directly to Saratoga Reads to support programs for the community. The entry deadline is January 31.
A new feature to this event this year will be a “Lego Fest” featuring Lego games, animation demos, a raffle for a Lego Mindstorm robot, a book signing with Minecraft series author Mark Cheverton, refreshments, and more.
Contest participants will display their pre-built models at Lego Fest. Prizes will be awarded at each grade level and a special “best of show” award will be determined by public vote.
Sept. 15, 2014
|Saratoga Reads announces new book of choice and books for young readers
Selections center on Native American themes
The Round House by Louise Erdrich has been selected by public vote as this year’s book of choice for Saratoga Reads, a community-wide reading program now marking its 11th year.
The Round House, Erdrich's 14th novel and winner of the 2012 National Book Award for fiction, transports readers to a literary terrain that Erdrich has used in a number of her works–the North Dakota Ojibwe reservation, a place where contemporary Native Americans and their white neighbors navigate complex interrelationships.
The narrator of the book, Joe Coutts, is one of Erdrich's most memorable characters, a 13-year-old boy who hunts for the perpetrator of a violent crime that took place on the reservation. Though this story of family, friendship, and the search for justice stands on its own, it fits squarely in the writer’s overarching, interconnected literary vision.
The Round House is infused with Erdrich's trademark narrative excursions into a world of spirit and tradition still central to Native American cultures. Set in 1988 and driven by contemporary issues of tribal criminal jurisdiction, the book probes the life of marginalized Indians living on the reservation.
Wrote Ron Charles in the Washington Post, "Book by book, over the past three decades, Louise Erdrich has built one of the most moving and engrossing collections of novels in American literature. Few writers have done as much to help modern readers consider the position of Native Americans within a national culture that has denigrated, ignored, and romanticized them."
Maria Russo in the New York Times Book Review wrote, "The Round House represents something of a departure for Erdrich, whose past novels of Indian life have usually relied on a rotating cast of narrators, a kind of storytelling chorus. Here, though, Joe is the only narrator, and the urgency of his account gives the action the momentum and tight focus of a crime novel, which, in a sense, it is."