Local residents invited to read, interact with each other and the author
By Nicole Brown Staff Writer, The Times
This summer, Unionville High School is trying something new.
The One Book One Unionville summer reading program began this year, and asks all high school students, along with members of the community, to read the same book.
The single summer reading book is The Queen of Water by Laura Resau and Maria Virginia Farinango. However, honors and AP students are still required to read additional books.
UHS Principal Paula Massanari explained that the high school English department is currently revising its curriculum, and several English teachers suggested this new summer reading program as part of that revision. Then a group of the teachers read many options and made recommendations.
Once The Queen of Water was chosen, the teachers reached out to Resau to request a visit.
“We always hoped that the author of our one book initiative would be available to speak, so we were delighted when the author of the book that we ultimately selected was available to come to our community,” Massanari said.
Resau is scheduled to visit the high school in October. The date and time have not been determined yet.
In addition to her visit, there are other events inviting the community to interact with Resau. The Bayard Taylor Memorial Library is hosting two One Read Cafe nights on Monday July 15 and August 19 at 6 p.m. Students and community members reading The Queen of Water are invited to attend these events and Skype with Resau.
Ivy Weir, the Young Adult Services representative at the BTML, reached out to the high school to organize these nights in attempt to connect the students with the library and make summer reading more exciting.
“I feel like summer reading has long been thought of as this very isolated, boring chore, and to be able to change that perception and make it into something really fun and interactive is awesome,” Weir said.
Resau is looking forward to participating in the program and visiting the high school.
“My co-author, Maria Virginia Farinango, and I feel deeply honored, and we hope that people in Unionville are enjoying the book,” Resau said.
The Queen of Water is appealing to all ages according to Resau, who has received feedback from teens and adults reading her book. They often comment on the global social justice issues in the book, which are relevant to current world news. Set in Ecuador and based on a true story, the novel explores the life of an indigenous girl who is forced to be an unpaid servant in a mestizo household.
Resau has visited many schools to discuss her books and she enjoys talking with the students to hear their thoughts on her work. She shares her inspiration, the process of writing the story, and personal anecdotes about her travels, which often influence her writing.
“I hope I can offer encouragement to any aspiring young writers in Unionville, while giving all the readers a behind-the-scenes look at what’s involved in writing a book set in another culture,” Resau said.
Massanari has high hopes for this new program, especially in its effort to connect the community.
“I believe it will provide a platform for multiple generations to have a shared experience that will generate thoughtful conversations,” she said. “I look forward to hearing the stories about how the book sparked discussions in households and in other venues around our community.”
The high school plans to continue this program in the future, but cannot guarantee that the author of the selected text will always be available to visit.