Longwood launches 3rd Community Read

Books that focus on forging inspirational connections will comprise the Third Annual Community Read, a collaborative initiative designed to spur community conversation, according to Longwood Gardens.

Grandma Gatewood's Walk will be part of the Third Annual Community Read

This year’s main title, Grandma Gatewood’s Walk by Ben Montgomery, traces the story of an unlikely heroine – a woman who, to escape personal struggles, in 1955 embarks on a solo journey of several thousand miles of rugged terrain and often ill-marked trails – without any equipment at the age of 67, a Longwood press release said.

To encourage the next generation to value and respect nature, the Community Read also includes an award-winning children’s book, On Meadowview Street. In the book, author Henry Cole tells the story of a little girl, Caroline, who makes a connection with a small flower. That connection grows – and grows, transforming her new neighborhood.

Area libraries and community organizations are joining in the Community Read by hosting programs and events now through April. Community Read partners include Appalachian Trail Museum, Natural Lands Trust, Chester County Trail Club, Delaware Nature Society, The Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County, New Castle County libraries, Chester County libraries, Cumberland County libraries, Delaware County libraries, and many more. A complete list of community partners and programs can be found at longwoodgardens.org/community-read, the release said.

Children are invited to participate in the Third Annual Community Read with
Children are invited to participate in the  Community Read with On Meadowview Street.

“We are thrilled to launch the third year of the Community Read, which continues to grow each year. This year, the selected books explore the idea of one person inspiring many,” Longwood Gardens Executive Director Paul B. Redman said in the release. “This is a powerful notion that reminds us of our founder Pierre S. du Pont, and the many people he inspired with his vision.”

Grandma Gatewood’s Walk and On Meadowview Street are available for purchase at the Longwood Gardens Garden Shop and at major book retailers. It is sold as an eBook, Kindle, Nook, and iBook and is also available at many area public libraries.

On Saturday, April 2, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Family Community Read Day will take place at Longwood Gardens. This event will allow children and their families to meet the author of On Meadowview Street, Henry Cole, and discuss how they, too, can connect to nature in their own lives. Family Community Read Day is free with Longwood Gardens admission.

After Family Community Read Day concludes, Cole, the illustrator of many beloved books for children, including his own Jack’s Garden, will host a hands-on workshop for children and their parents. Learn about illustration and creating original works of art. All participants will receive a copy of the book to be signed by the author. This Family Workshop with Henry Cole will take place from 2:30 to 4 p.m. The $21 registration fee includes a copy of the book.

Longwood Gardens visitors can meet Ben Montgomery, author of Grandma Gatewood’s Walk and an enterprise reporter for the Tampa Bay Times, for a Small Group Book Discussion on Saturday, April 23, and Sunday, April 24, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 pm. The $29 registration fee includes a copy of the book. Stay for an optional short hike in Longwood’s Meadow Garden with Longwood’s Natural Lands division.

On April 23, from 7 to 9 p.m. Longwood will hold a Community Conversation, during which readers will get an opportunity to learn more about Montgomery’s writing and be among fellow peers to discuss the book. The presentation will also include Matt Kirk, an accomplished Appalachian Trail hiker. A book-signing follows the conversation. Advanced reservation and a $20 fee are required. Members require a free reservation.

Readers can also join the conversation on social media throughout the Community Read by following Longwood Gardens on Twitter and using the hashtag #CommunityRead.

Longwood Gardens is located off of Route 1 near Kennett Square, Admission is $20 for adults; $17 for seniors (age 62+); $10 for students (ages 5–18) or with valid student ID) and free ages 4 and under. Group rates available. The gardens open at 9 a.m. For more information, visit www.longwoodgardens.org.



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