theme of Puerto Rico: the memoir When I Was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago, the graphic novel anthology Puerto Rico Strong edited by Marco Lopez, Desiree Rodriguez, Hazel Newlevant, Derek Ruiz, and Neil Schwartz, and the children’s picture book Parrots Over Puerto Rico by Susan L. Roth and Cindy Trumbore with collages by Susan L. Roth.
Since 2003, readers in Arlington have been coming together through literature to engage with ideas and issues facing the community. This year, a thematic program with three titles to choose from invites readers of all ages and to participate in the program.
The committee discussed a variety of topics before settling on the theme of Puerto Rico. Stacy Kitsis, Library Media Teacher at Arlington High School says, “I’m personally fascinated by the idea of Puerto Rico as both a mirror and a window, being both a U.S. territory and much in the news in recent years, while at the same time seemingly mysterious or misunderstood by many. It will be a great opportunity to explore the experience of being Puerto Rican together as a community during this year’s community read, and especially fortuitous timing in that we are sending a group of AHS students to visit Puerto Rico later this spring.”
Librarian Verónica Rodríguez says of the trio of titles, “We want everyone in the community to feel like they can participate, so instead of using a ‘one size fits all approach’ we went with ‘there’s a little bit of everything for everybody.’” Librarian Rob Lorino adds, “This move allows more people in the community to engage with our chosen topic in a way that’s accessible to them and will allow more members of our community to participate in the rich dialog we open up every year with Arlington Reads Together.” Head of Children’s Services Pam Watts-Flavin says, “We’re so excited to have three fantastic books to choose from this year. Each book highlights a different aspect of Puerto Rico with some art, some wildlife, some history, some folklore and some personal memoir. All this adds up to a great picture of Puerto Rico!”
Library visitors can pick up copies of the books at the Robbins or Fox branch libraries. Staff members are always happy to place holds in person or over the phone as well.
Events, book discussions and more take place during March 2020. A full schedule of events and programs will follow.
Arlington Reads Together is a project of the Robbins Library in partnership with the Envision 2020 Diversity Task Group. The program is generously funded by the Arlington Libraries Foundation, the Friends of the Robbins Library, and the Trustees of the Library. Questions can be directed to Anna Litten at firstname.lastname@example.org or 781-316-3202.