Annual program will focus on caregivingand need for community support
The stories of two families that found renewed love and commitment to one another after being thrust into caregiving roles will be the centerpiece of Silicon Valley Reads 2018 and its theme "No Matter What: Caring, Coping, Compassion."
Goodbye, Vitamin is the critically-acclaimed debut novel of Rachel Khong. Through funny and poignant journal postings, a young woman chronicles the year she returned home to help take care of her father after his diagnosis of Alzheimer's.
My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward is a powerful memoir by Mark Lukach about a young couple whose marriage is tested by the sudden onset of mental illness. Both spotlight the challenges of caregiving and the importance of community support during tough times.
The annual community engagement program that asks everyone in Silicon Valley to read, think, discuss and share diverse perspectives will kick off on Thursday, Feb. 1, 7:30 p.m., at the Visual and Performing Arts Center at De Anza College in Cupertino where Mercury News columnist Sal Pizarro will interview both authors. Admission is free with open seating on a first come basis. It is co-sponsored by the Commonwealth Club Silicon Valley and De Anza College.
The community is also invited to arrive early on Feb. 1 for the opening of the "Serving One Another" exhibit at the Euphrat Museum of Art, located adjacent to the theater starting at 6:30 p.m. The museum will remain open for 30 minutes after the kick-off. The exhibit runs through March 22.
Both Khong and Lukach are Bay Area residents and will make multiple appearances in Silicon Valley during February and March. Schedule information about these talks and other Silicon Valley Reads events for all ages will be posted on the website SiliconValleyReads.org in early January.
"Last year, an estimated 43.5 million Americans provided unpaid caregiving (help with daily living activities and/or medical tasks) for a family member or friend," said Nancy Howe, Santa Clara County Librarian and Co-chair of Silicon Valley Reads. "Caregiving is a role that many will experience, often with little warning. We hope that Silicon Valley Reads 2018 will bring caregiving out of the shadows and encourage the community as a whole to help provide an extra set of hands and heart for those who are in crisis and those who are taking care of them."
Silicon Valley Reads 2018 is presented by the
Santa Clara County Library District, the
San José Public Library and the
Santa Clara County Office of Education. Each year, the program collaborates with community organizations to promote reading and literacy and to engage the community in dialogue about themes in a selected book or books that are relevant to Silicon Valley. Events will be scheduled throughout Santa Clara County with activities for all age groups. For more information, visit the website
Diane McNutt, Silicon Valley Reads Coordinator
Three books for children and teens that in different ways talk about caring for others have been selected for Silicon Valley Reads 2018. All relate to the theme "No Matter What: Caring, Coping, Compassion" and are companions to the two selections for adult readers – My Beautiful Wife in the Psych Ward by Mark Lukach and Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong.
Each year, Silicon Valley Reads identifies books for young people that will encourage families to read together and discuss how the theme is relevant to their lives. The goal is to promote reading and appreciation of literature while sparking conversations within the family about values and important regional issues. The 2018 companion selections are:
Mango, Abuela and Me by Meg Medina for preK-grade 3. When Mia's grandmother comes to live with her family they have trouble talking to each other. Abuela doesn't speak much English and Mia knows only a few words in Spanish. With the help of a parrot named Mango the two learn how to communicate a little better.
The Secret Life of Lincoln Jones by Wendelin Van Draanen for grades 4-7. Lonely Lincoln spends a lot of time at the dementia-care facility where his mother is a caregiver, but finds comfort in writing stories about young heroes with courage and power.
Not If I See You First by Eric Lindstrom for teens. Parker Grant is a fiercely independent teen who refuses to let her blindness keep her from setting big goals such as trying out for the track team. She learns that as much as she wants to do things on her own, she needs the help of others.
Mango, Abuela and Me will be featured in story times at public libraries throughout Santa Clara County in February and March. Special events at selected FIRST 5 Santa Clara County Family Resource Centers will include the distribution of free copies of the book in English and Spanish.
"When a community reads together, it becomes a place where more understanding and empathy are possible. It becomes a kinder place for people to live," said author Meg Medina. "What an honor to have Mango, Abuela and Me included in Silicon Valley 2018."
Authors Wendelin Van Draanen and Eric Lindstrom will each visit several public schools in Santa Clara County during February and March for educational presentations about their books and writing careers, and appear at public libraries.
Silicon Valley Reads is presented annually by the Santa Clara County Library District, Santa Clara County Office of Education and San José Public Library. The 2018 program kicks off on Thursday, Feb. 1, 7:30 p.m. at De Anza College with authors Mark Lukach and Rachel Khong interviewed live on stage by Mercury News columnist Sal Pizarro. Altogether, more than 100 free public activities will be offered including author talks, panel discussions, art exhibit, films and children's activities. For more information, visit SiliconValleyReads.org.