EAST MARLBOROUGH — Longwood Gardens and a host of community partners today launched its second annual Community Read, which is designed to encourage the region to join together in reading the same book to spur discussion around an idea or topic.
This year’s title, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Kimmerer, explores the human relationship to the natural world. New this year is the addition of a children’s title, The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry, which gives young readers an inspired look at what the Kapok Tree means to the creatures that live in it—and what rainforests mean to the world’s ecology.
Area libraries and community organizations are joining in the Community Read by hosting programs and events now through April. Community Read partners include Awbury Arboretum, Brandywine Conservancy, Chester County Library System, Delaware County Community College, Delaware County Library System, Delaware Nature Society, Mt. Cuba Center, Natural Lands Trust, Nemours Foundation, New Castle County Library System, Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, Quarryville Library, The Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County, Tyler Arboretum and the Wyck Historic House, Garden and Farm. A complete list of community partners and programs can be found at www.longwoodgardens.org/community-read.
“We chose Braiding Sweetgrass because Robin Kimmerer introduces readers to a language of flora and fauna that is easy to understand and urges them to recognize a holistic relationship between humans and nature. This holistic approach is integral to Longwood Gardens, and is an important message to share and explore with our community,” said Paul B. Redman, Executive Director of Longwood Gardens.
To make the Community Read more accessible to young people, the Community Read is expanding to include the award-winning children’s book, The Great Kapok Tree. This book by environmentalist Lynne Cherry teaches children the importance of trees and how “all living things depend on one another.”
As part of the Community Read, Family Community Read Day will take place at Longwood Gardens on Sat., March 7 from 10am -1:30pm. This event will allow children and their families to meet the author of the Great Kapok Tree, Lynne Cherry, and discuss how they too can connect to nature in their own lives. Children will embark on a Conservatory scavenger hunt, see a real Kapok Tree, and be inspired to share their conservation ideas. Family Community Read Day is free with Gardens Admission.
Longwood is offering Book Chats on Saturday, April 11 and Sun., April 12, from 10-11:30 am featuring the author of Braiding Sweetgrass Robin Kimmerer. The $29 registration fee includes a copy of the book.
On April 12, from 2-4 pm Longwood will hold a Community Conversation where readers will get an opportunity to learn more about Kimmerer’s writing and be among fellow peers to celebrate and discuss the book. There will be a book signing and opportunity to continue the conversation in an informal social setting. Registration is required and is free for members.
Readers can join the conversation on social media throughout the Community Read by following Longwood Gardens on Twitter and using the hashtag #LongwoodRead.
Braiding Sweetgrass and The Great Kapok Tree are available for purchase at the Longwood Gardens GardenShop and at major book retailers. It is available as an eBook with Kindle, Nook, and iBook and is also available to borrow at many public libraries in Chester County, Delaware County and New Castle County.