The Book Thief by Markus Zusak was announced today as the book chosen by the selection committee for Greenwich Reads Together. Greenwich Reads Together is a community-wide reading experience which will engage all of Greenwich in exploring a single book. This initiative has been awarded a $5,000 grant from the Verizon Foundation, also announced at today's ceremony.
Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak's groundbreaking novel, The Book Thief, is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can't resist, books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau. This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.
"Reading The Book Thief together will foster communication and spark ideas," said Carol Mahoney, Greenwich Library Director. "This generous grant from the Verizon Foundation will allow us to bring together thousands of people of all ages and backgrounds to compare views and interpretations; share feelings and personal stories; view exhibitions, movies, and performances; attend classes and panel discussions, as well as workshops--all inspired by a common reading experience," said Mahoney.
"This grant is consistent with Verizon's commitment to literacy," said Catherine Gasteyer, Verizon director for Government and External Affairs for Connecticut. "Verizon believes in Greenwich Reads Together's mission to bring people together through reading, and this grant will help share this great book and generate ideas and discussion throughout Greenwich."
After much deliberation, the Greenwich Reads Together Selection Committee selected The Book Thief from a list of more than 40 books nominated by the community. The Book Thief was selected for its high literary quality, reflection of universal issues, and capability of generating thought-provoking discussion and appeal to a diverse population. The Selection Committee was comprised of distinguished members of the community including Greenwich High School English Teacher and Program Administrator Brigid Barry, WGCH Radio host Darby Cartun, former Superintendant of Schools Ernie Fleishman, author and publishing consultant Lucy Hedrick, National Children's Poet Laureate Mary Ann Hoberman, freelance journalist and writer Shashi Khorana and Brunswick junior Will Peisch.
Free copies of The Book Thief were distributed at the announcement ceremony and attendees were encouraged to read the book, then pass it along to friends. Copies are available to borrow at Greenwich Library and may also be purchased at local bookstores including Diane's Books and Just Books. More information is available on the Greenwich Reads Together website. The page has been updated with new content about the book and author, reviews, interviews, discussion guides and more.
About The Verizon Foundation
The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, supports the advancement of literacy and K-12 education and fosters awareness and prevention of domestic violence. In 2009, the Verizon Foundation awarded $67.9 million in grants to nonprofit agencies in the U.S. and abroad. It also matched the charitable donations of Verizon employees and retirees, resulting in $26.1 million in combined contributions to nonprofits. Through Verizon Volunteers, one of the nation's largest employee volunteer programs, Verizon employees and retirees have volunteered more than 5 million hours of community service since 2000. For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizonfoundation.org.
About Greenwich Reads Together
Greenwich Reads Together is a community-wide reading experience which will engage all of Greenwich in exploring a single book. Several community organizations have formed a Steering Committee to lead this effort including Greenwich Arts Council, Greenwich Boys and Girls Club, Greenwich Historical Society, Greenwich Library and the YWCA of Greenwich. In Winter/Spring 2011, the whole community will explore a single book through discussions, programs and lectures. For more information, visit www.greenwichlibrary.org/GreenwichReadsTogether.aspx