Diversity and resilience.
Those are the themes at the heart of this year's Pikes Peak Library District's All Pikes Peak Reads. The program will run Sept. 10 through Nov. 17.
Helen Thorpe's 2017 book, "The Newcomers: Finding Refuge, Friendship, and Hope in an American Classroom," is the adult selection. Ellen Oh's 2017 "Flying Lessons and Other Stories" is on tap for teens and young adults, and Matt de la Peña's 2015 "Last Stop on Market Street" is the children's title.
"It gets people talking about things we see playing out in national media that are relevant locally, but also doing it in a neutral way," said Amy Rodda, PPLD's adult services division head. "We're trying to say, 'Let's read this book and talk about what these things mean, particularly the idea of multiculturalism.' In our community we have people from a variety of cultural backgrounds."
In "The Newcomers," Thorpe followed 22 immigrant teenagers through the 2015-16 school year at South High School in Denver. Many came from refugee camps, sometimes arriving alone after leaving or losing their families. They studied under English language acquisition teacher Mr. Williams, who hoped to help them build basic English skills by the end of the year.
"We thought this might be a great title with the local connection and highlighting some of the services PPLD offers, like our robust English as a Second Language program and citizenship courses," Rodda said.
The short story collection "Flying Lessons" features tales from award-winning authors, such as Kwame Alexander, Meg Medina, Tim Tingle and Jacqueline Woodson. One of those authors is also de la Peña, whose "Last Stop on Market Street" is a 2016 Newbery Award winner. The story follows a young boy and his grandmother as they ride a bus through the city, noticing how people look different in high- and low-income areas.
APPR will offer many programs during its run, including author visits by Thorpe and de la Peña, film screenings, community discussions, theater productions and art exhibits.
Go online to ppld.org/appr for more information.