2021 One Book, One Cherry Hill

 

 

What is One Book, One Cherry Hill?

One Book, One Cherry Hill is a community reading campaign encouraging Cherry Hill residents to read the same book at the same time. The idea of a community read was first introduced by the Washington Center for the Book in 1998, when they hosted author Russell Banks for four days of programs and discussion about his novel The Sweet Hereafter. The American Library Association now cites over 150 One Book city, state, and countywide programs all over the world.

Why are community reads important?

A community reading project aims to unite neighbors by reading and discussing One Book together. By exploring common themes central to both life and the book, we hope to gain a better understanding of our world and ourselves.

“People can go for days at a time not talking to anyone outside their immediate family. There are precious few opportunities for people of different ethnic backgrounds, economic levels or ages to sit down together and discuss ideas that are important to them. This project provides that opportunity.” — Nancy Pearl, Director, Washington Center for the Book

For our 2021 One Book, One Cherry Hill, we are reading The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett. By weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Brit Bennett produces a story that is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passing.

The Cherry Hill Public Library has copies of The Vanishing Half in the following formats:

Standard Print
Large Print
Standard Print in Chinese
Standard Print in Spanish
Audio Book on CD
Overdrive E-book
Overdrive Audio Book

Discussion questions for The Vanishing Half can be found HERE.

This year, we are also having a parallel youth One Read!

Aimed at reading ages 9 - 13, Genesis Begins Again by Alicia D. Williams received both  the Newbery and Kirkus Prize honors, was a William C. Morris prize finalist, and won the Coretta Scott King--John Steptoe Award for New Talent. 

The Cherry Hill Public Library has copies of Genesis Begins Again in the following formats: 

Standard Print  
Overdrive E-Book
Overdrive Audiobook

Discussion questions for Genesis Begins Again can be found HERE.

Funding for One Book, One Cherry Hill was made possible with support from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities and the Friends of the Cherry Hill Public Library.


One Book, One Cherry Hill Adult Programs
* Indicates Registration Required

The Queer Housewives and Husbands of New Jersey* 
Alison Lefkovitz, Ph.D.
Monday, October 4
7 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

We often assume that before marriage equality, we had only “traditional” marriage. But changes to marriage progressed more strangely than we might expect, especially in New Jersey. This program will use court cases to rethink LGBTQ+ rights, marriage, and the law. Cases involving a judge refusing to grant a divorce for a woman after her husband was incarcerated for sodomy, alimony for a transwoman, and custody issues for LGBTQ+ parents will all be explored. Through these court cases, participants can consider how our state was sometimes a haven for LGBTQ+ people in the past, at other times deeply oppressive, and nearly always representative of the forces against which LGBTQ+ people have had to fight.

Same Family, Different Colors: Confronting Colorism in the American Family* 
Lori L. Tharps
Sunday October 17
2 p.m. - 4 p.m.
This is a virtual program via Zoom. We invite you to join us in the Conference Center to watch it together in real-time. If you prefer, you also have the option to watch it virtually from home. Registration is required for either option.

In this timely and interactive presentation, award-winning author and educator, Lori L. Tharps will share her research and personal experiences with colorism in the American family. Using Brit Bennett's critically acclaimed novel, The Vanishing Half, as a starting point to examine how colorism can infect and impact a family over generations, Tharps will take a historical approach to showing how and why colorism manifests across cultures. Heartfelt and ultimately hopeful, this presentation will help audience members understand the deep roots of colorism and how to dissect and dismantle it in the family and beyond.

Boundaries of Love: Interracial Marriage and the Meaning of Race* 
Chinyere Osuji, PhD
Tuesday, October 19
7 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
This is a virtual program via Zoom. We invite you to join us in the Conference Center to watch it together in real-time. If you prefer, you also have the option to watch it virtually from home. Registration is required for either option.
Join Dr. Chinyere Osuji, Visiting Associate Professor in the Department of African American Studies at University of Maryland-College Park, as she discusses her book, Boundaries of Love: Intterracial Marriage and the Meaning of Race. This book compares how Black-White couples in Brazil and the United States understand and negotiate racial boundaries. Boundaries of Love challenges the idea that interracial couples, multiracial families, and children from these relationships eradicate racism.

 

In Their Own Voices – The Transgender Experience* 
Monday, October 25
7 p.m.  – 8:30 p.m.
The transgender experience has its own personal history with passing, both before and during transition. With that comes many risk factors affecting physical, emotional, and mental health. Join us for a panel discussion as trans guests discuss their own personal journeys.

 

Faith Ringgold and The Fabric Workshop and Museum* 
Christina Roberts and Ash Limés Castellana
Wednesday, October 27
7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
This is a virtual program via Zoom. We invite you to join us in the Conference Center to watch it together in real-time. If you prefer, you also have the option to watch it virtually from home. Registration is required for either option.
 
The Fabric Workshop and Museum (FWM) will present a virtual process conversation focusing on the long history of collaboration between artist Faith Ringgold and FWM. The lecture will begin with the story of Ringgold’s 1990 residency at the Museum where her paintings were first translated into a screenprinted quilt for Tar Beach # 2. It will also follow the Museum’s recent explorations with pigment dye for Dancing on the George Washington Bridge. This presentation will include images and stories, process materials, and process demonstrations live from FWM's studio in Philadelphia.

Faith Ringgold’s quilt, Tar Beach 2, “tells the story of a young African American girl who grows up in Harlem, spending her time outdoors on the rooftops of her urban landscape. The narrative is told through text and image, which are printed with dyes on silk duppioni. Ringgold chose a variety of decorative fabrics to border the quilts, making each quilt in the edition of 24 unique. In 1991, Ringgold published Tar Beach as a children’s book (Crown Publishers). It has won over twenty awards, including the Caldecott Honor and the Coretta Scott King award for best illustrated children’s book in 1991.” (https://fabricworkshopandmuseum.org/artist/faith-ringgold/)

KEYNOTE LECTURE “It’s Not Even Past:” Identity, Race, and American History*
Dr. Christopher Fisher
Monday, November 1
7 p.m. - 9 p.m.
 

What is an American and does one’s relationship to the past shape its meaning?  Beginning with Britt Bennett’s fictional account in The Vanishing Half, we will discuss the complicated history of racial difference and American identity. Dr. Christopher Fisher is our humanities scholar for this year’s 2021 One Book, One Cherry Hill series. He is Associate Professor of History at The College of New Jersey. Much of Dr. Fisher's research centers around the history of race in America, racial politics, social movements, identity, with a particular focus on African-American history and its unique place in American culture. In 2018, he co-authored Global America: The United States in the Twentieth Century. This work takes a sweeping look at the ways in which our changing approach to race, class, and gender have impacted American culture at home and abroad over the last century. Dr. Fisher serves as the current Vice-Chair of the New Jersey Council for the Humanities Executive Board, as well as a State Priorities Speaker for NJCH's Horizon Speakers Bureau.

Book Discussions

Join us in the library as we discuss The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett. No registration needed.

Tuesday, October 5*
7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Half Conference Center, Lower Level

Sunday, October 24*
2 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Half Conference Center, Lower Level

ESOL Book Club (virtual)*
Meeting weekly in September and October, this is ESOL class will meet to discuss The Vanishing Half. If you are interested in joining this group, please contact Elby Wang directly at ewang@chplnj.org.
 

Movie Screenings

Must Watch Documentary: Dark Girls 
Thursday, October 14
2 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Conference Center, Lower Level   

About the documentary: This documentary explores the deep-seated biases and attitudes about skin color---particularly dark skinned women, outside of and within the Black American culture. 2011. 71 minutes. No rating provided.

Movie Monday: Imitation of Life 
Monday, October 18, 2021
2 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Conference Center, Lower Level

About the movie: Lora Meredith (Lana Turner), a white single mother who dreams of being on Broadway, has a chance encounter with Annie Johnson (Juanita Moore), a black widow. Annie becomes the caretaker of Lora's daughter, Suzie (Sandra Dee), while Lora pursues her stage career. Both women deal with the difficulties of motherhood: Lora's thirst for fame threatens her relationship with Suzie, while Annie's light-skinned daughter, Sarah Jane (Susan Kohner), struggles with her African-American identity. 1959. 125 minutes. No rating provided.

 


One Book, One Cherry Hill Teen Programs

Teen Book Club*
Tuesday October 26
7 p.m. -8 p.m.

Teens in grades 6-12 are welcome to join our no-stress Teen Book Club. Bring your own book based on the concept of “otherness” to share with other readers and collect new reading recommendations!
Attendees are invited to participate in-person in the Multicultural Room on the Lower Level of the library or virtually via Zoom.

Genesis Begins Again: Book Discussion* 
Wednesday, October 6
7 p.m. – 8 p.m. 
Half Conference Center, Lower Level

Join us for a book discussion of the multi-award winning book, Genesis Begins Again by Alicia D. Williams. This discussion will be led by CHPL Librarian (and Sharp Elementary School Librarian) Kim Laskey and Henry C. Beck Middle School  Librarian, Elizabeth Stern. 


One Book, One Cherry Hill Children Programs

Collaborative Story Quilt* 
Katie Parry, Christina Roberts, and Ash Limés Castellana
Wednesday, October 13
6:30 p.m. - 8 p.m.

In this hands-on screenprinting program, participants will help create a collaborative story quilt based on Faith Ringgold's Tar Beach.  After hearing the story of Tar Beach, children will think of their own story: the story of themselves, their family, the place where they live, and the dreams that they have. Using paper cut shapes, they will then screenprint their design onto a quilt block. Two quilt blocks will be made by each child: one for them to keep and one for a collaborative story quilt to be sewn and displayed by the library.

 

One Book One Cherry Hill Story Time! * 
Thursday, October 21
11 a.m. -11:30 a.m.
Improve literacy skills and encourage school-readiness with this special One Book, One Cherry Hill story time for children ages 2-6. Books in this story time will feature the theme of being yourself, which goes along with our One Book, One Cherry Hill slate of programming.

 

Take & Make: Self Portrait!*

Are you a budding Picasso, Frida, or Basquiat? Grab a mirror and set up your art studio because it’s time for your self-portrait! We’re providing Crayola multicultural crayons, cardstock, and some art tips to help create your masterpiece. Supplies are limited. Please reserve your Take & Make by registering for one kit per child. Materials will be available to pick up in the Youth Services department starting October 1.

 

 


Continue Your Journey: Further Reading

Check out these other biography, nonfiction, and fiction titles related to the themes present in The Vanishing Half.

 


Funding for One Book, One Cherry Hill was made possible with support from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities and the Friends of the Cherry Hill Public Library.

 

  

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