Batavia Public Library

One Book, One Batavia

One Book, One Batavia is an annual community-wide reading program presented by the Batavia Public Library in cooperation with Batavia High School and co-sponsored by the Friends of the Batavia Public Library.

One Book, One Batavia aims to:

  • Encourage personal enrichment by exposing individuals to a wide variety of books and ideas,
  • Foster a sense of community by providing individuals and groups with a shared reading experience, and
  • Promote the enjoyment of reading.

The Friends of the Batavia Public Library provides major funding for programs and author visits. Additional funding is provided by the Batavia Public Library.

Every year a book is selected by a committee for the following year. Library programs and events are scheduled with the purpose of supporting and supplementing the reader’s knowledge and appreciation of the book.

Previous Events

Rocket Men: The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8 and the Astronauts Who Made Man’s First Journey to the Moon

by Robert Kurson

About the Book

By August 1968, the American space program was in danger of failing in its two most important objectives: to land a man on the Moon by President Kennedy’s end-of-decade deadline, and to triumph over the Soviets in space. With its back against the wall, NASA made an almost unimaginable leap: it would scrap its usual methodical approach and risk everything on a sudden launch, sending the first men in history to the Moon—in just four months. And it would all happen at Christmas. Join the author on one of history’s greatest explorations–Apollo 8–a mission many still call the greatest ever undertaken in space.

About the Author

Robert Kurson is the author of four New York Times bestselling books, including Shadow Divers and Rocket Men. He began his career as an attorney, graduating from Harvard Law School, and practicing real estate law. Kurson’s professional writing career began at the Chicago Sun-Times, where he started as a data entry clerk and soon gained a full-time features writing job. In 2000, Esquire published “My Favorite Teacher,” his first magazine story, which became a finalist for a National Magazine Award. He moved from the Sun-Times to Chicago Magazine, then to Esquire, where he won a National Magazine Award and was a contributing editor for years. His stories have appeared in Rolling Stone, The New York Times Magazine, and other publications. He lives in Chicago.

Programs

Book Discussion

Rocket Men: The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8 and the Astronauts Who Made Man’s First Journey to the Moon by Robert Kurson

Adult Services manager Stacey Peterson facilitates this book discussion of the book Rocket Men: The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8 and the Astronauts Who Made Man’s First Journey to the Moon by Robert Kurson. Participants are asked to read the book prior to the discussion.

The Space Race

In the 1960s, the U.S. and the Soviet Union were locked in a race to send men to the Moon. How did it all begin? How did the Soviets try to beat the Americans? And, what happened to the Soviet effort after Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the Moon in July 1969? Let’s relive the Space Race! Presented by NASA Solar System Ambassador Michelle Nichols.

Author Visit

Rocket Men: The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8 and the Astronauts Who Made Mankind’s First Journey to the Moon by Robert Kurson

By August 1968, the American space program was in danger of failing in its two most important objectives: to land a man on the Moon by President Kennedy’s end-of-decade deadline, and to triumph over the Soviets in space. With its back against the wall, NASA made an almost unimaginable leap: it would scrap its usual methodical approach and risk everything on a sudden launch, sending the first men in history to the Moon—in just four months. And it would all happen at Christmas. Join New York Times bestselling author Robert Kurson as he chronicles Apollo 8–a mission many still call the greatest ever undertaken in space.

Galaxy Watercolor Painting

Create a starry, galaxy painting with watercolor paints, using a wet on wet technique. With Water Street Studios artist and instructor Sabrina Martin.

Rolling across Mars: NASA’s Mars Rovers, Old, and New  

Mobile robots have succeeded on Mars four times: Sojourner, Spirit, Opportunity, and Curiosity. Working together with orbiting spacecraft, NASA’s rovers have brought scientific instruments to the Martian surface for the meticulous examination of its geological, chemical, and meteorological nature.  Learn how they work, what they’ve learned about Mars, and what’s in store for the new rover NASA expects to launch in 2020. Presented by William Higgins, an Engineering Physicist at Fermilab, and a Jet Propulsion Laboratory ambassador.

A Lab Aloft: The International Space Station

The International Space Station is a cutting-edge Earth-orbiting laboratory where astronauts from all over the world live for six months at a time and conduct amazing experiments. What is life like aboard this enormous spaceport? How does science research benefit humanity on Earth? Take a behind-the-scenes tour of the ISS without having to leave your seat! Presented by NASA Solar System Ambassador Michelle Nichols.

Through the Eyes of Hubble

The Hubble Space Telescope has had more impact on astronomy and the public’s awareness of astronomy than any other telescope in history. This presentation will highlight some of the well-known, and not-so-well-known, images and science from the last 27 years of Hubble’s mission—and a sneak peek at Hubble’s 2018 replacement: the James Webb Space Telescope. Presented by NASA Solar System Ambassador Michelle Nichols.

New Horizons

The destinations of New Horizons, a spacecraft launched in 2006, are more distant than any other yet explored.  Its dramatic flyby of Pluto in 2015 revealed fabulous landscapes, a remarkable atmosphere, and a family of frigid moons. It kept moving onward for a billion miles.  On New Year’s Day 2019, New Horizons encountered the tiny asteroid-like object 2014 MU69, a frozen body that’s been dubbed “Ultima Thule.” At the edge of the Solar System, for years to come, the NASA mission will continue through a region known as the Kuiper Belt. With William Higgins.

Other Resources

Videos and photos related to Rocket Men and Apollo 8

One Book, One Batavia is an annual community-wide reading program presented by the Batavia Public Library in cooperation with Batavia High School and co-sponsored by the Friends of the Batavia Public Library.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope 

by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer

About the Book

In this inspiring memoir about perseverance and self-sufficiency, a teenager teaches himself to build a windmill to provide electricity to his small African village. A story of youthful exuberance, a love of learning, and hope in grim circumstances.

 
 
About the Authors

William Kamkwamba

Author and engineer William Kamkwamba (1987- ) was born in Malawi, a small country in southeast Africa. As a teenager, he built a windmill to provide electricity to his family’s home and later built a solar-powered water pump to provide drinking water to the people of his village. After speaking at TEDGlobal 2007 in Tanzania, his story received international coverage. He inspired the Moving Windmills project, which promotes Malawian-run economic development. Kamkwamba was named one of the “30 People Under 30 Changing the World” by Time magazine in 2013. He graduated from Dartmouth College in 2014 and now works for The WiderNet Project, a non-profit organization that works to improve digital communication worldwide.

Bryan Mealer

Author Bryan Mealer is the author of All Things Must Fight to Live, a book about his years covering the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Muck City: Winning and Losing in Football’s Forgotten Town. He lives in Austin, Texas.

Programs

Book Discussion

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope by William Kamkwamba

Adult Services manager Stacey Peterson facilitates this book discussion. Participants are asked to read the book prior to the discussion.

Oba William King, Storyteller

Award-winning storyteller Oba William King will capture the essence of The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. He will also share other stories and folktales from Malawi, including an example of the traditional style of Call and Response, which is specific to the region where William Kamkwamba is from, as well as “story with drum.”

William and the Windmill  Documentary Film

After William Kamkwamba succeeded at building a windmill for his village, he became known worldwide. This documentary shows the new challenges he faced as he shifted from inventor to leader. Winner of the SXSW Film Festival Grand Jury Award for Documentary Feature.

Stories and Songs of African People    

This unforgettable performance featuring Shanta Nurullah includes stories, poetry, chants, and the spellbinding sounds of African instruments. Melding the work of her own creative spirit with African folktales and contemporary African-American perspectives, Nurullah’s stories are about empowerment, peace, healing, and self-discovery. All ages respond to the warmth, humor, drama, and excitement conveyed through her dynamic storytelling.

One Book, One Batavia is an annual community-wide reading program presented by the Batavia Public Library in cooperation with Batavia High School and co-sponsored by the Friends of the Batavia Public Library.

Born Survivors: Three Young Mothers and Their Extraordinary Story of Courage, Defiance, and Hope 
by Wendy Holden

About the Book

This moving book tells the compelling true story of three women who hid their pregnancies, gave birth in a Nazi concentration camp, and survived along with their infants. Born Survivors has been published in 21 countries and translated into 16 languages.

 
About the Author

Wendy Holden (1961- ) worked as a journalist for 18 years, including 10 years at the Daily Telegraph. She has written or co-written several books, including Behind Enemy Lines: The True Story of a French Jewish Spy in Nazi Germany and Tomorrow to Be Brave, the story of the only woman to serve officially in the French Foreign Legion. In 2013, she learned about the survival of Eva Clark, a baby born in a concentration camp. When Clark told her of the existence of two other babies—Hana Berger Moran and Mark Olsky—Holden knew their story would become the subject of her next book. Holden divides her time between England and the United States.

Programs 

Book Discussion

Born Survivors: Three Young Mothers and Their Extraordinary Story of Courage, Defiance, and Hope by Wendy Holden

Adult Services manager Stacey Peterson facilitates this book discussion. Participants are asked to read the book prior to the discussion.

The Gift & the Curse: A Musical Sojourn of My Life

Through stories, music, and images, Karen Berk Barak shares personal stories of growing up in a home of Holocaust survivors. Her parents were among the “hidden children”—those saved in various ways by non-Jewish people. This uplifting, heart-warming program illustrates how Barak used her musical talent to transform a legacy of loss.

A classically trained pianist, Karen Berk Barak began performing on stage at age eight and composing at age 12. At 14, she won the Young Peoples Concerto Competition of Ohio and at age 16, studied in Israel at the Tel-Aviv Conservatory of Music. That year, she won the Golda Meir Competition of Israel.

After graduating college, Karen moved to Israel. She recorded a song called In Beirut, describing the first major suicide bombing that killed American servicemen stationed in Lebanon. It was an overnight sensation and she was catapulted onto the Israeli music scene. Even though censorship rendered artistic statements about politics taboo, the song achieved national recognition as the first song in English to make it to the Israeli top ten and was declared one of the most influential songs of the 1980s in Israel.

One Book, One Batavia is an annual community-wide reading program presented by the Batavia Public Library and is co-sponsored by the Friends of the Batavia Public Library.

The Hound of the Baskervilles 

by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

About the Book

Originally published as a serial in The Strand Magazine from August 1901 to April 1902, The Hound of the Baskervilles was first published as a novel in 1902. Considered by many to be Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s best novel, The Hound of the Baskervilles presents Sherlock Holmes in the midst of a case involving a mysterious death and a terrible family legend about a ghostly hound on the menacing moor.

About the Author

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) was the author of four Sherlock Holmes novels—A Study in Scarlet, The Sign of the Four, The Hound of the Baskervilles, and The Valley of Fear—as well as 56 short stories about Sherlock Holmes. Although he worked as a physician and wrote dozens of non-series books, Conan Doyle is best remembered as the writer who created the timeless Holmes.

 
Programs

Book Discussion

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle

 Adult Services manager Stacey Peterson facilitates this book discussion. Participants are asked to read the book prior to the discussion. Registration is not required.

 Inclusion Movie Night

This month Inclusion Movie Night features a Sherlock Holmes classic and everyone is invited! Free popcorn and other refreshments make the evening a complete treat. Inclusion Movie Night is presented monthly at the Library for teens and young adults of all abilities—and their families and friends. Registration is not required.

Footprints of the Hound: Exploring the World of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and the Baskerville Legend

The Hound of the Baskervilles is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s most famous adventure featuring Sherlock Holmes. Written after Doyle supposedly killed Holmes in a titanic struggle with Professor Moriarty at the Reichenbach Falls, The Hound invites all manner of conversation and speculation as to its creation and enduring appeal. Tim Johnson, curator of the world’s largest collection of Sherlockiana at the University of Minnesota, will explore some of the many facets surrounding this tale. The program is co-sponsored by the Batavia Public Library Foundation. Registration is required.

The Hound of the Baskervilles – Movie  

Watch the classic 1959 Terence Fisher film starring Peter Cushing as Sherlock Holmes and Christopher Lee as Sir Henry. No registration required. 

Old Time Radio Show

Those Were the Days Radio Players West perform the Sherlock Holmes short stories “The Speckled Band” and “A Scandal in Bohemia.” Original scripts from the radio performances of 1945, complete with sound effects and original music, will be featured. Registration is required.

One Book, One Batavia is an annual community-wide reading program presented by the Batavia Public Library and is co-sponsored by the Friends of the Batavia Public Library.

Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer 

by James L. Swanson

About the Book

April 14, 1865. President Abraham Lincoln was shot at 10:15 p.m. while attending a performance of Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theatre with his wife Mary. The President died the following day at 7:22 a.m. It would be 11 more days before Lincoln’s assassin was found and fatally shot.

There have been many books and articles written about the assassination of Lincoln. As we approach the 150th anniversary of that fateful night, the Batavia Public Library looks to author James L. Swanson’s vivid account of the assassination and the days that followed. This riveting account of the search for John Wilkes Booth is unexpectedly suspenseful, given that we know the outcome of the chase. Swanson’s detailed narrative puts the reader on the scene, amidst the killers, conspirators, cavalry, and detectives.

Manhunt won the 2007 Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime book and was a New York Times bestseller.

Middle school and high school students are invited to read the youth version, Chasing Lincoln’s Killer, also written by Swanson.

About the Author

James L. Swanson is the Edgar Award-winning author of New York Times bestsellers Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer and its sequel, Bloody Crimes: The Chase for Jefferson Davis and the Death Pageant for Lincoln’s Corpse. He is also the author of End of Days: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy. He has written youth versions of each book: Chasing Lincoln’s Killer, Bloody Times: The Funeral of Abraham Lincoln and the Manhunt for Jefferson Davis, and “The President Has Been Shot!”: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy.

Swanson serves on the advisory council of the Ford’s Theatre Society. He has degrees in history and law from the University of Chicago and UCLA and has held a number of government and think tank posts in Washington, D.C., including at the U.S. Department of Justice.

Programs

New Lyceum Lecture Series: The Camera and Abraham Lincoln

Mark Pohlad, Associate Professor of Art History at DePaul University, examines photography from the 1840s to the 1860s, as well as its impact on Lincoln’s dramatic career.  This is a close look at many of the most famous images of Lincoln along with discussion about how they were made, what history they illustrate, and what they say about America’s greatest President. Co-sponsored by the Batavia Public Library Foundation.

Book Discussion

Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer by James L. Swanson

Adult Services manager Stacey Peterson facilitates this book discussion. Participants are asked to read the book prior to the discussion. Registration is not required.

The Ghost of Mary Surratt

Step back in time as storyteller Lynn Rymarz tells the story of Mary Surratt, convicted and hanged as one of the conspirators in Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. Hear Mary’s story come alive as she tells of her life as a loving mother, a grieving widow, and a landlord. Listen to the events that led up to Lincoln’s assassination, her arrest, and her own testimony at the military trial. Hear the words of the verdict, and how she proclaimed her innocence in the days before she became the first woman in the United States to be executed. Decide for yourself if Mary Surratt was guilty or innocent of conspiracy in the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.

Presentation by author James L. Swanson

Lincoln scholar James L. Swanson talks about his best-selling book Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer. Book selling and signing will follow the presentation.

Co-sponsored by the Kane County Chronicle     logo.png

Batavia High School’s National English Honor Society created a  discussion guide to Manhunt.

One Book, One Batavia is an annual community-wide reading program presented by the Batavia Public Library in cooperation with Batavia High School and co-sponsored by the Friends of the Batavia Public Library and the Batavia Foundation for Educational Excellence.

The Good Food Revolution

by Will Allen

About the Book

In this memoir, MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipient Will Allen tells the inspiring true story of the Milwaukee urban farm he developed by cashing in his retirement fund. After a professional basketball career and success in the corporate world, he took on the challenge of addressing several issues in one fell swoop: the urban food desert, public health, racism, and unemployment. The Good Food Revolution: Growing Healthy Food, People, and Communities chronicles the first 18 years of developing his urban farm.

About the Author

Will Allen (1949-) is the CEO of Growing Power, a farm and community food center in Milwaukee. After a career as a professional basketball player and corporate sales leader, Allen founded Growing Power, where he trains community members to become community farmers, assuring them a secure source of good food. In 2008, Allen was named a John D. and Katherine T. McArthur Foundation Fellow and was awarded a prestigious foundation “genius grant” for his work. In May 2010, Time magazine named Allen to the “Time 100: The World’s Most Influential People.”

Programs

Book Discussion

The Good Food Revolution by Will Allen
Adult Services manager Stacey Peterson facilitates this book discussion. Participants are asked to read the book prior to the discussion. Registration is not required.

Homemade Natural Toiletries

Librarian Lee Blakley demonstrates how to make easy, natural, high-quality, shelf-stable soap, shampoo, lotion, deodorant, and moisturizer at a fraction of the cost you would pay for items of equal quality.

Homemade Natural Cleaners

Librarian Lee Blakley demonstrates how to make laundry detergent and softener, an all-purpose cleaner, glass cleaner, and more, at a fraction of the cost you would pay for ready-made natural—or unnatural—cleaners.

Planning and Planting a Vegetable Garden

Feed your family fruits and vegetables from your own garden. From site preparation through harvest, a Master Gardener from the University of Illinois Extension offers tips and tricks for successful gardening.

Raising Chickens

Have you considered keeping chickens? Think of the advantages of having a fresh supply of organic, fresh eggs produced in your own yard. Local backyard chicken enthusiasts Jennifer Downing and Holly Kammes will tell you what is involved and how to get started.

Beekeeping for Beginners

Beekeepers since 1971, Charles and Karen Lorence turned a summertime hobby into a thriving business. Today they manage forty-two hives in Wisconsin and Illinois and sell honey and beeswax products that have earned honors on the state and national level.

Books Between Bites

Batavia resident Jennifer Downing reviews The Good Food Revolution by Will Allen. Downing’s company, Nourish, provides cooking lessons, demonstrations, food-centric events, and private family food planning consultations. Registration is not required.

Green by Design

Presenter Barbara Geiger discusses today’s green and sustainable movements including urban agriculture, green roofs, and adaptive reuse of old industrial buildings in Chicago. Geiger explains how these innovative ventures help to reduce urban heat island effect, provide locally grown vegetables, capture rainwater, and spawn fish farms and breweries in abandoned neighborhoods. Learn why these efforts matter and what individuals can do to live green. Geiger is a landscape historian and educator.

Geneva Public Library is offering programs on the environment, food, nutrition, and more during March. The Library’s “Conscious Choices” series includes a panel discussion by the Geneva Green Market and a special event at the Northern Illinois Food Bank.

Batavia High School’s English II Class created a discussion guide for The Good Food Revolution.

One Book, One Batavia is an annual community-wide reading program presented by the Batavia Public Library in cooperation with Batavia High School and co-sponsored by the Friends of the Batavia Public Library.

Pride and Prejudice

by Jane Austen

About the Book

Jane Austen began writing Pride and Prejudice, which was originally titled First Impressions, in 1796; she continued revising it over the next several years. Pride and Prejudice was published anonymously on January 28, 1813. Despite the bias against novels at the time of its publication, three contemporary reviews were unusually favorable.

 
About the Author

Jane Austen (1775-1817) was the author of six novels: Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, Northanger Abbey, and Persuasion. She is known as one of England’s finest novelists of manners.

 
Programs

Book Discussion

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

2013 marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of this timeless comedy of manners. Read this classic favorite and then join the lively discussion. Copies of the book are available for check out at the Library. Registration is not required.

In the Garden with Jane Austen

Author Kim Wilson will bring Georgian and Regency gardens to life with an illustrated tour of English gardens, from tiny cottage gardens to the gardens of the grand estates, to the gardens Jane Austen herself knew and loved. Featuring material from Wilson’s book, In the Garden with Jane Austen, the presentation highlights 18th and 19th-century gardening and the role which gardens played in the lives and love of Austen and her characters, and reveals the secrets to making your own Jane Austen garden. Registration is required.

Taking Tea with Jane Austen

Eileen Shafer, author of Royal Teas with Grace and Style, guides us through a favorite ritual of Jane Austen’s era. Learn how Austen would have prepared tea for her friends and discover how her elegant style and writings correlate to teatime etiquette today. Shafer will treat our guests to a tea tasting of Harney & Son’s blends and will demonstrate how to prepare the perfect cup of tea. Registration is required; space is limited.

Books Between Bites

Pride and Prejudice is a comedy of manners that has delighted generations of readers. Presenter Diane Capitani, Outreach Director of the Jane Austen Society of North America, Greater Chicago Region, will explore how Mr. Darcy got his money, why Elizabeth would have turned him down if money was an issue in her family and the idea that money—not love—is what makes this novel’s plot keep turning. Registration is not required.

Jane Austen Speaks

Call upon Jane Austen in the autumn of 1815 at her home, Chawton Cottage. Austen’s first three novels, Sense and SensibilityPride and Prejudice, and Mansfield Park are published, and Emma is complete. Portrayed by actress Debra Miller, Jane Austen receives you at this, the most vibrant and hopeful time of her life. Drawing from her letters, juvenilia, and novels, this performance delves into the personal life of one of the most beloved and intriguing novelists of the 19th century. Learn about her exotic cousin Eliza, her mentor and friend Madame LeFroy, and the loves and losses that shaped her life and influenced her perception of the world. Registration is required.

Batavia High School’s AP Literature & Composition Class created a discussion guide for Pride and Prejudice.

One Book, One Batavia is an annual community-wide reading program presented by the Batavia Public Library in cooperation with Batavia High School and co-sponsored by the Friends of the Batavia Public Library.

A Night to Remember

by Walter Lord

 About the Book

Written in 1955, this classic account of the sinking of the Titanic on April 15, 1912, remains one of the most popular books about the disaster. Walter Lord’s clear, concise storytelling allows present-day readers to feel the immediacy of the events of that terrible night 100 years ago.

 

About the Author

Walter Lord (1917-2002) was the author of 12 nonfiction books about topics ranging from the Alamo to World War II. A Night to Remember, his second book, remains his best-known work. In 1986, Lord wrote a second book about the Titanic, The Night Lives On.

 

Programs 
  • Ragtime Piano with Sue Keller
  • Book Discussion – A Night to Remember by Walter Lord
  • Violet Jessop: Titanic Survivor
  • Peter Oprisko Sings Music of the Titanic Era
  • Titanic Fashion
  • Books Between Bites: R. J. Lindsey talks about researching his Titanic program
  • Grand Finale: The Titanic – Carr Van Anda with “Stories Aboard the Titanic”

Batavia High School’s English II Honors Class created a discussion guide to A Night to Remember.

One Book, One Batavia is an annual community-wide reading program presented by the Batavia Public Library in cooperation with Batavia High School and co-sponsored by the Friends of the Batavia Public Library.

 Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry
selected by Billy Collins

About the Book

Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry is a compilation of 180 poems selected by Billy Collins, former Poet Laureate of the United States (2001–2003). During his tenure as Poet Laureate, Collins initiated a poem-a-day program, which encouraged high school students to listen to a poem every day of the school year. The poems included in the program and subsequently in the book are—in Collins’ words—“short, clear, and contemporary.” Collins is known for the humorous tone of many of his poems; that spirit is evident in his Introduction to this collection.

About the Editor

Billy Collins was Poet Laureate of the United States from 2001-2003. He has written 12 books of poetry, which include Sailing Alone Around the Room: New and Selected PoemsBallistics, and The Trouble with Poetry. In 2004, Collins was the first recipient of the Poetry Foundation’s Mark Twain Award for humorous poetry. He is a distinguished professor of English at Lehman College, City University of New York, where he has taught for 30 years. Collins is one of America’s best-selling poets.

Programs 

One Book, One Batavia Main Event

Illinois Poet Laureate Kevin Stein discussed poetry’s public functions, as well as his role as poet laureate. Stein read from his work, and a book signing followed the presentation. 

Books Between Bites

Presented by Illinois Poet Laureate Kevin Stein. At a time when many commentators fixate on American poetry’s supposed“death,” Stein proposes the vitality of its aesthetic hereafter. Instead of pushing up aesthetic daisies, poetry, Stein contends, is up and about on the streets, schools, and universities, as well as online in new digital forms.

Walt Whitman: A Song of Myself

Presenter Brian Ellis portrayed Walt Whitman, America’s preeminent poet. Hear the story of Whitman’s life and his philosophy of free verse, and experience the eloquence of his work.

Emily Dickinson, Belle of Amherst

Professional storyteller and actress Paddy Lynn performed a condensed version of William Luce’s brilliant play The Belle of Amherst and discussed the complexities and the trials and tribulations of this beloved and prolific poet. 

The Ghosts of Edgar Allan Poe

A spine-tingling evening in the parlor of Edgar Allan Poe, as presented by Brian “Fox” Ellis, as he recounted the tormented true tales of his life and how they led to his poetry and classic tales of terror. Do not look away as the father of the modern horror story reveals the darkness that lurks in us all, taking us on a journey into the catacombs of our basest fears. Hear him recite “The Raven” and “The Tell-Tale Heart” as well as some of his lesser-known poems like “The Bells” and “Dream Within a Dream.” Poe also shared his essay on his “Philosophy of Composition” which outlines in some detail how he works as a poet. His work has inspired generations of writers, writers that have dared to follow in his daunting footsteps.

Poetry Workshop

Reading and writing poetry enhances our awareness of the world around us. Through practice, we can find ideas for poems in our daily experiences. In this workshop, poets can exercise the playfulness of free writing and together improvise ideas to work from writer’s block toward a poem’s creation.

Open Mike

Now, the spotlight is on you! Share your work with fellow poets and an appreciative audience. It’s live, it’s relevant, and it’s yours!

Book Discussion

Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry selected by Billy Collins

Playing with the Enemy: A Baseball Prodigy, a World at War, and a Field of Broken Dreams by Gary W. Moore
About the Book
In Playing with the Enemy, Gary W. Moore tells the story of his father, Gene Moore, who, as a young man from the small town of Sesser, Illinois, had an extraordinary talent for baseball. Gene Moore’s ability on the diamond attracted the attention of the Brooklyn Dodgers, who signed him, and he was on his way to a professional baseball career. Then Pearl Harbor was attacked and he enlisted in the U.S. Navy. During the war, he continued to play baseball—and was assigned to guard secret German POWs, whom he taught to play baseball. But it was also during the war that his dream of a career in the Majors fell apart. After the war, the direction of Gene Moore’s career took a turn, and he experienced some difficult years before accepting the new direction of his life. Playing with the Enemy earned the 2006 Military Writers Society of America Book of the Year award. Playing with the Enemy is soon to be a motion picture, in which actor Toby Moore, Gary Moore’s son, will portray his grandfather.
About the Author
Gary W. Moore is an author, entrepreneur, business executive, speaker, sales trainer, and musician. In addition to writing the book Playing with the Enemy, Moore is also a contributing author for Chicken Soup for the Father and Son Soul. Gary W. Moore earned a bachelor’s degree in music education from VanderCook College of Music. He lives in Bourbonnais, Illinois.
Author Presentations
Gary W. Moore spoke at Batavia Public Library, Thursday, March 18, during two presentations, 12 noon and 7 p.m.
Programs
Soldiers in Greasepaint During World War II, many entertainers answered the call to arms by joining the USO and entertaining troops around the world. Presenter Donna Nowak, singer, and storyteller, toured twice with the USO. Hear the songs of the big bands such as Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, and others, and the stories of what happened along the way. WWII: A Rifleman’s Perspective Learn how soldiers of the U.S. Mountain Infantry Regiment, Italy, fought the war, from presenter Phil Lauricella. View artifacts and uniforms unique to mountain soldiering—snowshoes, crampons, and more. Those Were the Days Radio Show Radio was the everyman’s medium during War II. In addition to news from the front, radio programs brought entertaining stories and skits into America’s living rooms. Those Were the Days Radio Players West will perform two shows representing radio programming of the early 1940s. WWII Radio Hour The Batavia-based Festive Singers bring back the songs of the ’40s that kept the nation’s spirit flying high. Hear Sentimental Journey, Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree, Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, and many more. A Fireside Chat with Franklin D. Roosevelt Chicago Actor R. J. Lindsey portrayed FDR and talked about the New Deal, the attack on Pearl Harbor, and the challenges facing the Allies in 1942. In typical Roosevelt fashion, Lindsey also shared stories about Eleanor Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin, and FDR’s dog Fala. Book DiscussionPlaying with the Enemy by Gary W. Moore Online Book Discussion The Library hosted an online book discussion from February 1 through March 31, 2010.

The Killer Angels

by Michael Shaara

About the Book

The Killer Angels is a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about the four days of the Battle of Gettysburg. In this book, author Michael Shaara describes the strategy, hope, and fear of both Union and Confederate generals from Monday, June 29, to Friday, July 3, 1863. It offers an intimate look at the generals—Lee, Meade, Longstreet, Reynolds, Pickett, and Buford—as well as Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain. Some were legendary before the battle; some were destroyed by the conflict. You have heard the speech and read the statistics. Now feel the fear and the weariness of the boys in blue and gray who fought to win at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania—the crucial battle that turned the tide of the Civil War. 

About the Author

Michael Shaara (1929-1988) was a novelist and short story writer. He worked briefly as a merchant seaman and police officer, before beginning his writing career as a science fiction short story author. He wrote a science fiction novel, The Herald, and a novel about a boxer, The Broken Place. A novel about baseball, For Love of the Game, was published after his death. From 1961 to 1972, Shaara was a professor of English at Florida State University. After Michael Shaara’s death, his son Jeff Shaara wrote a prequel (Gods and Generals) and a sequel (The Last Full Measure) to his father’s best-known work, The Killer Angels.

Events

Books Between Bites

The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara, reviewed by Rodney N. Henshaw, Dean of Drake University’s Cowles Library 

The Age of Lincoln

Guest speaker O. Vernon Burton provided an original interpretation of sectional conflict, civil war, and reconstruction. Focusing on seven decades, 1830 through 1900, Burton used Abraham Lincoln as the fulcrum around whom ideas swirled and conflicts erupted. Burton was Professor of History, African American Studies, and Sociology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is the author of the book The Age of Lincoln, winner of the 2007 Heartland Prize for nonfiction. A New Lyceum Lecture Series presentation.

Battlefield Balladeers

Accompanied by banjo, guitar, and fiddle, the Battlefield Balladeers performed patriotic, sentimental, and comic songs of the Civil War, punctuated with quotes from Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, Mary Chesnut, and Mark Twain. 

Civil War Reenactors Today

Civil War reenactor Trevor Steinbach described the lives of infantry soldiers, displayed their accouterments, and talked about what it takes to become a reenactor. He described the soldiers’ uniforms, equipment, and food, as well as the wounds and the medical treatment they received.

The Underground Railroad in Illinois

Historian and author Glennette Tilley-Turner discussed the Illinois locations of the Underground Railroad using photographs and drawings, and related personal accounts of escaped slaves and those who helped them.

Civil War Surgeon

R. J. Lindsey portrayed William Hammond, M.D., Surgeon General during the Civil War years. He described Civil War medicine, told stories of courageous nurses, and displayed a collection of 19th-century surgical instruments, including a set of amputation tools.


The Roads that Lead to Lincoln: Honest Abe on the Historic Highways of Illinois

Presenter Dave Clark mapped out important Lincoln sites along the historic highways of Illinois and offered a whimsical look at the impact that Lincoln has made on our culture, from businesses such as Lincoln Towing and Lincoln Insurance to cars such as the Lincoln Continental.

Book Discussion

The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara

One Book, One Batavia 2009 was presented by the Batavia Public Library and co-sponsored by the Friends of the Batavia Public Library.

Doomsday Book by Connie Willis

About the Book

Doomsday Book is part science fiction, part historical fiction, and all adventure. Willis’ tale moves back and forth from 20th century England, where scholars and scientists at an unnamed university struggle to rescue a student who has time-traveled back to 14th century England, where the threat of bubonic plague is only one of the dangers that confront her. Meanwhile, back in the 20th century, a modern-day scourge impairs the efforts of those trying to rescue her. Doomsday Book won the Hugo Award, Nebula Award, and Locus Award for best science fiction/fantasy novel of 1992-1993. 

About the Author

Connie Willis is the author of more than ten science fiction novels and five short story collections and is the editor of three books. She has earned six Nebula Awards and nine Hugo Awards, more than any other author. Her 1997 time travel novel To Say Nothing of the Dog is a sequel to Doomsday Book. Her other novels include Passage and Bellwether.

Events

Author Presentation

Connie Willis spoke at the Batavia Public Library, March 20, 2008, as the featured speaker at Books Between Bites at 12 noon. She gave a community-wide presentation at Batavia High School at 7 p.m.

The Middle Ages at the Library

The Fox Valley chapter of the Society for Creative Anachronism provided a glimpse of the Middle Ages. This day-long event included displays, demonstrations, and discussions of various activities and aspects of life in the Middle Ages, especially the period of the Black Death, which is one of the settings of Doomsday Book.

Book Discussion—Doomsday Book by Connie Willis

Batavia High School’s Advanced Placement English and World Literature Class created a discussion guide to Doomsday Book

One Book One Batavia 2008 was presented by the Batavia Public Library, in cooperation with Batavia High School. The Friends of the Batavia Public Library co-sponsored One Book, One Batavia 2008. 

There Are No Children Here by Alex Kotlowitz

About the Book

There Are No Children Here: The Story of Two Boys Growing Up in the Other America recounts the story of Lafayette and Pharoah Rivers, two brothers growing up in the Henry Horner Homes public housing complex in Chicago. Ages nine and eleven when Kotlowitz begins chronicling two years of their lives, the brothers survive the death of friends, resist the pull of gangs, and struggle to beat the odds. The book was named by the New York Public Library as one of the 150 most important books of the century.

About the Author

Alex Kotlowitz is a journalist, an award-winning nonfiction writer, and a writer-in-residence at Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University. His other books include The Other Side of the River: A Story of Two Townsa Deathand America’s Dilemma and Never a City So Real: A Walk in Chicago. He is a contributor to The New York Times MagazineThe New Yorker, and public radio’s This American Life.

Events

Author Presentations

Alex Kotlowitz spoke at the Batavia Public Library, March 15, 2007, as the featured speaker at Books Between Bites at 12 noon. He gave a community-wide presentation at Batavia High School at 7 p.m.

One Book, One Batavia Kick-Off Event

At Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Geneva, following brief remarks by Library Director George H. Scheetz and Batavia High School Learning Resource Center Director Daniel Russo, Batavia High School students presented a discussion guide to the public. The discussion guide included discussion questions and additional information about the author and the book.

Book DiscussionThere Are No Children Here: The Story of Two Boys Growing Up in the Other America by Alex Kotlowitz

Batavia High School’s English and World Literature Class created a discussion guide to There Are No Children Here.

One Book One Batavia 2007 was presented by the Batavia Public Library, in cooperation with Batavia High School. The Friends of the Batavia Public Library co-sponsored One Book, One Batavia 2007.

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