Stories that Connect Us BCPL's month-long reading program unites

Get ready to get reading! Baltimore County Public Library’s annual month-long series of events, BC Reads, is happening now. A wide variety of programs, including author visits, community forums, film discussions, poetry workshops, book discussions and more encourages conversation and a deeper connection for residents living in Baltimore County. But the library’s list of great reads will appeal to all who love a good book!

This year’s theme is “Stories Connect Us,” and the chosen books highlight the need for better understanding of and a deeper connection to one another in our communities, and how both our similarities and our differences bind us together and make us stronger.

The Books:

“Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood” by F. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell, illustrated by Rafael López, Ages 4-7
Mira and her neighbors discover how art can change a neighborhood in this picture book based on the true story of the Urban Art Trail in San Diego. The story illustrates how art can inspire transformation and how even the smallest artists can accomplish big things. Sponsored by the O’Dell family.
Meet author Theresa Howell at the Hereford branch on Wednesday, April 25 at 7 p.m.

“Flying Lessons & Other Stories” edited by Ellen Oh, Ages 8-12
Whether it is basketball dreams, family fiascos, first crushes or new neighborhoods, this bold anthology celebrates the uniqueness and universality not only in all children, but in all of us. In a partnership with We Need Diverse Books, industry giants Kwame Alexander, Soman Chainani, Matt de la Peña, Tim Federle, Grace Lin, Meg Medina, Walter Dean Myers, Tim Tingle and Jacqueline Woodson join newcomer Kelly J. Baptist in a story collection that is as humorous as it is heartfelt.
Meet Ellen Oh, editor and founder of We Need Diverse Books, at the Loch Raven branch on Wednesday, April 11 at 7 p.m.

“The Creepy Case Files of Margo Maloo” by Drew Weing, Ages 8-12
Charles, who is new to Echo City, is stunned to learn that monsters, trolls, ogres and ghosts lurk everywhere. Lucky for Charles, he meets Margo Maloo, monster mediator. Charles finds himself joining Margo as she solves mysteries in the shadows of the city and keeps peace between all the citizens of Echo City.

“I Will Always Write Back: How One Letter Changed Two Lives” by Caitlin Alifirenka, Martin Ganda and Liz Welch
Ages 12 and up
It started as an assignment: Everyone in Caitlin’s class chose a pen pal from countries like France or Germany. But she saw Zimbabwe written on the board and it sounded like the most exotic place she had ever heard of — so she chose it. Martin was lucky to even receive a pen pal letter. There were only 10 letters and 40 kids in his class. That letter was the beginning of a correspondence that spanned six years and changed two lives.
Meet author Caitlin Alifirenka at the Rosedale branch on Friday, April 27 at 2:30 p.m.


“The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South” by Michael W. Twitty, Adult
From the tobacco and rice farms of colonial times to plantation kitchens and backbreaking cotton fields, Twitty, a culinary historian, tells his family story through the foods that enabled his ancestors’ survival across three centuries. He sifts through stories, recipes, genetic tests and historical documents, and travels from Civil War battlefields in Virginia to synagogues in Alabama to Black-owned organic farms in Georgia. This program is sponsored by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
Meet Michael Twitty at the Randallstown branch on Tuesday, April 17 at 7 p.m.

“The Wangs vs. the World” by Jade Chang, Adult
Charles Wang, a brash, lovable immigrant businessman who built a cosmetics empire and made a fortune, has just been ruined by the financial crisis. Now he is on a mission to pick up his children at the fancy schools he can no longer afford and move his entire family back to China, where he will attempt to reclaim his family’s ancestral lands — and his pride. Copies sponsored in part by the Friends of the Catonsville Library.

Additional programs
What else is happening this month? Check to find out about community art projects at eight branches throughout the county and registration requirements. There will also be BC Reads breakouts at six branches where children can dig into “The Creepy Case Files” and help Margo Maloo solve this mystery. Six branches also will host pen pal projects.

Two additional activities this month include:

Human LibraryTM: Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover
Adult, teen, elementary school age
Saturday, April 21, 1 p.m., Owings Mills branch

The Human LibraryTM is a place where real people are on loan to readers and where difficult questions are expected, appreciated and answered. It’s designed to build a positive framework for conversations that can challenge stereotypes and prejudices through dialogue. Come check out a living book and learn about a different culture or community through questions and conversations.

Share Your Story: An Open Mic Poetry Night
Adult, teen, elementary school age
Monday, April 23, 6 p.m., Woodlawn branch

What is your story? Hear from the winners of the BC Reads: Share Your Story Poetry Contest. Bring your own work or favorite poetry and share in a relaxed atmosphere with other poets. BC

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