Local schools will be on break Feb. 18-22, but there's still plenty for kids to do to keep their brains active and creative juices flowing. Saratoga Reads will play its part by offering a Lego contest at a local elementary school and an art program for kids at Skidmore College's Tang Museum.
The Lego contest, open to all grade levels, will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 19, 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 as a collaborative project.
Contest participants will bring in their pre-built models between 9:30 and 10:30 a.m., with judging beginning at 10:30. Prizes will be awarded at each grade level, with a special prize for the entry that best characterizes Saratoga Reads.
Click here for a Lego contest entry form and rules. Deadline for submission of the form is Feb. 11. There is an entry fee of $10, which goes directly to Saratoga Reads to support programs for the community.
Film Screening on January 13 Launches This Year's Programming
Saratoga Reads and SUNY Empire State College will present a screening of the HBO documentary Unchained Memories: Readings from Slave Narratives on Sunday, Jan. 13, 2 p.m. at the Empire State College Center for Distance Learning, 113 West Ave, Saratoga Springs. The film will be followed by discussion led by members of the ESC faculty.
The screening will kick off a series of events related to this year's Saratoga Reads book of choice, Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup.
The material used for Unchained Memories dates back to the 1930s, when journalists, under the auspices of the WPA's Federal Writers' Project, conducted thousands of interviews with former slaves who had been emancipated at the end of the Civil War.
"These faithfully transcribed 'slave narratives' are vividly read (acted, actually) here by a host of distinguished performers ranging from Samuel L. Jackson to Oprah Winfrey, from Don Cheadle to Angela Basset, with narration by Whoopi Goldberg," said Sam Graham, editorial reviewer for Amazon.com. "This is a moving record of bitter, weary, yet resilient and quietly proud people living with memories that never would, or could, fade." The narratives in the film are complemented by archival photographs, period images, and music.
Saratoga Reads announces selected books for young readers
Titles complement this year's book of choice
Saratoga Reads has announced its choice of a junior discussion book and a list of eight other titles for young readers, selected to complement the program’s designated book for this year—Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup—a harrowing account from the pre–Civil War era of the author’s abduction into slavery and long struggle to regain freedom.
The list of “companion books,” designed to appeal to a wide of range of age groups, includes picture books for beginning readers through titles for young teens. This year’s list focuses on slavery in the U.S. and related issues such as the abolitionist movement, the Underground Railroad, and the legacy of Abraham Lincoln. Some of the books depict daring escapes from slavery, both fictional and nonfictional.
Among the selected junior books is Stolen into Slavery: The True Story of Solomon Northup, Free Black Man by Judith and Dennis Fradin, which will be the focus of a two-part discussion series for students in grades 5-7. This biography of Northup closely parallels the story told in this year’s adult selection.
Saratoga Reads kicks off community series with Barnes & Noble book fair
Saratoga Reads will launch its ninth year of community programming with a book fair featuring activities for the whole family on Sunday, Dec. 2, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., at Barnes & Noble, Route 50, Wilton.
The event will celebrate this year’s Saratoga Reads book of choice, Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup, a compelling account from the pre–Civil War era of the author’s harrowing abduction into slavery and long struggle to regain freedom.
The book fair will raise funds to support Saratoga Reads and its series of public events related to Twelve Years a Slave. Door prizes at the event will include a $50 Barnes & Noble gift card, as well as copies of the book.
Book of choice draws on local history for a story of injustice and perseverance
Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup, a compelling account from the pre–Civil War era of the author’s harrowing descent into slavery and eventual rescue, has been selected by public vote as this year’s book of choice for Saratoga Reads, the community reading program now marking its ninth year.
Northup, a freeborn black man who lived with his family in Saratoga Springs, worked for local hotels and earned a reputation as a talented violinist. In his book, Northup tells how in 1841 two men enticed him to join their traveling circus as a musician, eventually luring him to Washington, D.C., where he was apparently drugged, then shackled and imprisoned. He was illegally sold into slavery in Louisiana, where he served three masters. He had left behind a wife and three children.
Twelve Years a Slave then chronicles Northup’s travails as he is passed from one owner to another and the political wrangling necessary for him to regain his freedom and be reunited with his family in 1853.
Saratoga Reads announces top five books for public vote
Special event on Oct. 16 will give an inside look at top contenders
Saratoga Reads has announced that out of some 87 titles nominated by the public for this year’s book of choice, five have been selected as finalists.
The winning title will be decided by public vote, with area residents having until October 31 to cast their ballots. The selected book will be announced in mid-November.
Among the top five contenders are three novels—The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon, Doc by Mary Doria Russell, and The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach. The ballot also includes two memoirs—Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup (as told to David Wilson) and Blood, Bones, and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton.
Voters are urged to read the descriptions of the books here. Votes may be cast online at the Saratoga Reads site here or at ballot boxes available at the Saratoga Springs Public Library and at Barnes & Noble in Wilton.
“This ballot launches our ninth year of Saratoga Reads with five great books that are engaging and thought-provoking,” said Tabitha Orthwein, chair of the board of Saratoga Reads. “Each of the books has the potential to inspire great programming and discussion, and now we need the community to make the tough choice as to the top book.”
To help readers learn more about the five books, Saratoga Reads will offer a “meet the candidates” event on Oct. 16, 7-8:30 p.m., at the Saratoga Springs Public Library. The evening will include an introduction to each of the top choices, a scavenger hunt designed to give new insights into the books, and door prizes. ...more
July 23, 2012
Deadline for Saratoga Reads Book Nominations is August 24
Public vote to determine winner
The clock is ticking for those who want to suggest a book for the next round of Saratoga Reads. As the community-wide reading program gears up for its ninth year, organizers are seeking nominations from the community for the next book of choice.
Nominations should be works of prose such as novels, short stories, memoirs, non-fiction works, and biographies. The suggested books must be readily available in paperback, capable of inspiring community participation and dialogue, and appealing to a wide audience.
A online nomination form is available here. In addition, a nomination box is located at the Saratoga Springs Public Library. The deadline for nominations is August 24, but organizers are looking for an early response.
“We are urging community members to make their nominations as soon as possible, so that our Selection Advisory Group can get a jump start reading the suggested books,” said Tabitha Orthwein, president of the Saratoga Reads board. She noted that all titles that fit the criteria are carefully reviewed, and that the selection group works throughout the summer and early fall to come up with a ballot of the top five for a community vote.
Saratoga Reads will announce a ballot of the top titles on October 1 and will then open the selection process up to a public vote through the month of October. The winning book will be announced in early November.
Saratoga Reads is a community-based organization dedicated to creating an extensive and shared conversation for a range of age groups. The program centers on community-wide reading of a single book, one compelling enough to inspire lively conversation and diverse educational and cultural activities. To inspire young readers, the organization each year produces a list of junior companion books for a range of reading levels.
Saratoga Reads is a Skidmore College–Saratoga collaboration.
June 19, 2012
Saratoga Reads Seeks Book Nominations for Year Nine
Public vote to determine winner
If you are digging into any great books this summer or have titles you highly recommend, Saratoga Reads wants to hear from you. As the community reading program gears up for its ninth year, organizers are seeking nominations for the year's book of choice.
Nominations should be works of prose such as novels, short stories, memoirs, non-fiction works, and biographies. The suggested books must be readily available in paperback and capable of inspiring community participation and dialogue.
"Each year, we urge members of the public to nominate titles they think would be super reads for our community," said Lauren Cohen, coordinator of the Saratoga Reads Selection Advisory Group. "We are looking for books that can stimulate lively discussion for a wide audience. Don't forget that the selection must be engaging enough to win a community-wide vote."