Greenwich Reads Together 2020

For the first time ever, Greenwich Reads Together will explore not just one book, but two. These books explore themes that have been especially prevalent in the last year, public health and racial justice.

Just Mercy

Just Mercy is a powerful true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to fix our broken system of justice—from one of the most brilliant and influential lawyers of our time. Named One of the Best Books of the Year by The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Seattle Times,  Esquire, and TimeIt is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer’s coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of true justice.

Winner of the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction, Winner of the NAACP Image Award for Nonfiction, Winner of a Books for a Better Life Award, Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, Finalist for the Kirkus Reviews Prize, An American Library Association Notable Book.

About Bryan Stevenson

Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship—and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever.

Further Exploration

Byran Stevenson, Author of "Just Mercy"

Mountains Beyond Mountains

This compelling and inspiring book shows how one person can work wonders. In Mountains Beyond Mountains, Pulitzer Prize—winning author Tracy Kidder tells the true story of a gifted man, Dr. Paul Farmer, who loves the world and has set out to do all he can to cure it.

In medical school, Farmer found his life’s calling: to cure infectious diseases and to bring the lifesaving tools of modern medicine to those who need them most. Kidder’s magnificent account takes us from Harvard to Haiti, Peru, Cuba, and Russia as Farmer changes minds and practices through his dedication to the philosophy that “the only real nation is humanity.” At the heart of this book is the example of a life based on hope and on an understanding of the truth of the Haitian proverb “Beyond mountains there are mountains”–as you solve one problem, another problem presents itself, and so you go on and try to solve that one too.

About Tracy Kidder

Tracy Kidder graduated from Harvard and studied at the University of Iowa. He has won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Robert F. Kennedy Award, and many other literary prizes. The author of Strength in What Remains, My Detachment, Mountains Beyond Mountains, Home Town, Old Friends, Among Schoolchildren, House, and The Soul of a New Machine, Kidder lives in Massachusetts and Maine.

Further Exploration

Tracy Kidder, author of "Mountains Beyond Mountains"

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Virtual Events

Nancy Churnin, Author of “Manjhi Moves a Mountain”

Thursday, 10/29 at 4:00 pm
Cos Cob Library is honored to host a virtual reading and Q&A with award-winning children’s author Nancy Churnin, author of Manjhi Moves a Mountain, the story of Dashrath Manjhi who used a hammer and chisel, grit, and twenty years to carve a path through the mountain separating his poor village from the nearby village with schools, markets, and a hospital.

Jacqueline Jones-Peace, Equal Justice Initiative

Thursday, 10/29 at 7:00 pm
Jacqueline Jones-Peace, Senior Attorney and Director of Development, at Equal Justice Initiative will share the history of the Equal Justice Initiative, learn about key past and current cases, and talk about what’s next for the organization. The EJI was created by Byran Stevenson, author of Just Mercy.

Co-sponsored by Perrot Memorial Library and Greenwich Library

Companion Books

Middle School Selections

Just Mercy Young Adults AdaptationIn this young adult adaptation of the acclaimed bestselling Just Mercy, which the New York Times calls “as compelling as To Kill a Mockingbird, and in some ways more so,” Bryan Stevenson delves deep into the broken U.S. justice system, detailing from his personal experience his many challenges and efforts as a lawyer and social advocate, especially on behalf of America’s most rejected and marginalized people. In this very personal work–proceeds of which will go to charity–Bryan Stevenson recounts many and varied stories of his work as a lawyer in the U.S. criminal justice system on behalf of those in society who have experienced some type of discrimination and/or have been wrongly accused of a crime and who deserve a powerful advocate and due justice under the law.

Check out a Copy

Additional Social Justice Books for Grades 3-6

Tracy Kidder’s critically acclaimed adult nonfiction work, Mountains Beyond Mountains has been adapted for young people by Michael French. In this young adult edition, readers are introduced to Dr. Paul Farmer, a Harvard-educated doctor with a self-proclaimed mission to transform healthcare on a global scale. Farmer focuses his attention on some of the world’s most impoverished people and uses unconventional ways in which to provide healthcare, to achieve real results and save lives.

Check out a Copy

Additional Epidemics and Illnesses, Fact and Fiction Books for Grades 3-6

Elementary School Selections

The Undefeated by Kwame AlexanderThe Newbery Award-winning author of The Crossover pens an ode to black American triumph and tribulation, with art from a two-time Caldecott Honoree. Originally performed for ESPN’s The Undefeated, this poem is a love letter to black life in the United States. The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander highlights the unspeakable trauma of slavery, the faith and fire of the civil rights movement, and the grit, passion, and perseverance of some of the world’s greatest heroes. The text is also peppered with references to the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, and others, offering deeper insights into the accomplishments of the past, while bringing stark attention to the endurance and spirit of those surviving and thriving in the present. Robust back matter at the end provides valuable historical context and additional detail for those wishing to learn more.

Check out a Copy

Additional Social Justice Books for PreK-2

Manjhi Moves a Mountain by Nancy ChurninDashrath Manjhi used a hammer and chisel, grit, determination, and twenty years to carve a path through the mountain separating his poor village from the nearby village with schools, markets, and a hospital. Manjhi Moves a Mountain shows how everyone can make a difference if their heart is big enough.

Check out a Copy

Additional Books Exploring Health for Young Children

A community-wide reading experience that engages all of Greenwich in exploring books.

Greenwich Reads Together Steering Committee

Greenwich Library

Greenwich Alliance for Education

Greenwich Arts Council

Greenwich Historical Society

Greenwich Pen Women

Greenwich Public & Independent Schools

Perrot Memorial Library

Retired Men’s Association of Greenwich

Greenwich Reads Together is supported by the Friends of the Greenwich Library.

Previous GRT Selections

Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451 HardcoverBy Ray Bradbury
Fahrenheit 451 is a dystopian novel by American writer Ray Bradbury, first published in 1953. Often regarded as one of his best works, the novel presents a future American society where books are outlawed and “firemen” burn any that are found.

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Code Girls

Code Girls Greenwich Reads Together 2018By Liza Mundy
Recruited by the U.S. Army and Navy from small towns and elite colleges, more than ten thousand women served as codebreakers during World War II. While their brothers and boyfriends took up arms, these women moved to Washington and learned the meticulous work of code-breaking.

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News of the World

By Paulette Jiles
In the wake of the Civil War, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd travels through northern Texas, giving live readings from newspapers to paying audiences hungry for news of the world. An elderly widower who has lived through three wars and fought in two of them, the captain enjoys his rootless, solitary existence.

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Station Eleven

By Emily St. John Mandel
Kirsten Raymonde will never forget the night Arthur Leander, the famous Hollywood actor, had a heart attack on stage during a production of King Lear. That was the night when a devastating flu pandemic arrived in the city, and within weeks, civilization as we know it came to an end.

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Americanah

By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Separated by differing ambitions after falling in love in occupied Nigeria, beautiful Ifemelu experiences triumph and defeat in America, while Obinze endures an undocumented status in London until the pair is reunited in their homeland 15 years later.

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Boys in the Boat

By Daniel Brown
Brown’s robust book tells the story of the University of Washingtons 1936 eight-oar crew and their epic quest for an Olympic gold medal, a team that transformed the sport and grabbed the attention of millions of Americans.

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When the Emperor Was Devine

By Julie Otsuka
A story told from five different points of view, chronicles the experiences of Japanese Americans caught up in the nightmare of the World War II internment camps.

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Zeitoun

By Dave Eggers
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, longtime New Orleans residents Abdulrahman and Kathy Zeitoun are cast into an unthinkable struggle with forces beyond wind and water.

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The Book Thief

By Markus Zusak
Trying to make sense of the horrors of World War II, Death relates the story of Liesel – a young German girl whose book-stealing and storytelling talents help sustain her family and the Jewish man they are hiding, as well as their neighbors.

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