FORSYTH COUNTY -- September marks the month for local libraries to hold various programs and speakers for the annual Forsyth Reads Together program, and the headlining author comes to town with her bestselling novel set in the South that was turned into an Oscar-winning movie.
Kathryn Stockett, author of “The Help,” will speak and hold a book signing at 7 p.m. Sept. 15 in the Lanier Technical College Forsyth Conference Center.
“This year’s Forsyth Reads Together book selection is unique because it allows readers to imagine what it might be like to walk in someone else’s shoes in an important time in our country’s history,” said Laura Bradley, program manager for Forsyth County Public Library.
“Forsyth Reads Together includes opportunities for readers to discuss the novel and explore the very real issues faced by these fictional characters.”
Published in 2009, “The Help” tells the story of three Mississippi women who start a movement of their own while in the midst of the civil rights era in the early 1960s.
The novel spent more than 100 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and was the basis for the Academy-Award-winning movie of the same name starring Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer and Emma Stone.
The book is available in a variety of formats for checkout from the library. Those attending the event can bring their own copies to be signed or purchase a copy from Barnes & Noble at the event.
Admission is free, but registration is requested.
To register, visit forsythpl.org or visit the Ask Us Desk at any library branch.
To complement Stockett’s visit, book clubs for adults will be reading and discussing “The Help” throughout multiple weeks leading up to the final event.
The Hampton Park Library will host a special Forsyth Reads Together book discussion at 2 p.m. Sept. 8
The Literazzi group at the Sharon Forks Library will hold a meeting at 2 p.m. Sept. 9.
The Coffee Talk book club at the Cumming Library will meet at 1:30 p.m. Sept. 10.
Three library branches will offer screenings of the movie based on Stockett’s book. “The Help” will be shown at Sharon Forks at 5 p.m. Sept. 8; at Cumming at 2 p.m. Sept. 13; and at Hampton Park at 5 p.m. Sept. 14.
While Stockett may be the largest draw, Forsyth Reads Together goes beyond simply reading a book. Several other events related to civil rights themes highlighted in “The Help” are planned during September.
Genealogy is a popular topic for study among library patrons, but one of the biggest challenges for African American genealogy researchers is finding formerly enslaved people before the 1870 federal census, when former slaves were first recorded by name.
Elyse Hall, an expert in genealogical research, will lead a workshop called “Breaking Through the 1870 Brick Wall” at Sharon Forks at 11 a.m. Sept. 12.
Charles Black, actor and champion of Human and civil rights issues, will speak about his experiences in the Atlanta Students Movement and studying under Martin Luther King Jr. in a program called “Charles Black Remembers” at Sharon Forks at 2 p.m. Sept. 13
Programs for young audiences
“Forsyth Reads Together has customarily focused on books and events for adult audiences, but our audience of younger patrons has grown significantly in recent years, and we’ve decided to expand the program in a way that includes young readers,” Bradley said. “Civil rights is a prominent theme in ‘The Help’ so we have decided to address this same theme with our younger audience by providing a youth component to Forsyth Reads Together.”
Coretta Scott King Honor illustrator R. Gregory Christie will lead an illustration and book binding workshop as part of the monthly Storytellers Crafternoon program at Post Road at 4:30 p.m. Sept. 8.
Children in kindergarten through fifth grade will learn about Christie’s experiences illustrating books related to civil rights and create their own illustration and hand-bound books.
For the first time, the library system has selected a Forsyth Reads Together title for tweens and teens.
“Brown Girl Dreaming” by Jacqueline Woodson has won various awards, including the National Book Award, the Newbery Medal and the Coretta Scott King Award.
In vivid poems that reflect the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, Woodson shares what it was like to grow up in the 1960s and 1970s in both the North and the South.
Programs focusing on “Brown Girl Dreaming” will be held at Sharon Forks at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 9 and at Hampton Park at 4:30 p.m. Sept. 10.
Tweens and teens are invited to compose poetic memories of their own at these programs in addition to discussing the book and its prominent themes.
Post Road will focus on the book during their Wednesday Writer’s Workshop program at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 9. In this program, writers will be encouraged to share their own work as they draw inspiration from “Brown Girl Dreaming.”
The Bookmarks book club for teens in seventh through 12th grades will discuss the book at Cumming at 1 p.m. Sept. 24.
The library system holds the annual month of programs with support from Forsyth County Arts Alliance, Forsyth County Public Library Friends and Advocates, Literacy Forsyth and BookLogix.
For more information or to register, visit forsythpl.org.