Longwood Gardens Community Read is a collaboration between Longwood Gardens, local libraries, and museums to provide a community-wide read of three books, one for children and two for adults, that takes place from March to May 2023.
This winter and spring we join other local libraries and community partners for the tenth year of Longwood Gardens Community Read! This year, we ask readers to discover how one finds a passion for nature and explore what can become of that spark.
Black Food: Stories, Art, and Recipes from Across the African Diaspora edited and curated by Bryant Terry
Community Read—Adult Selection 1
An exuberant celebration of foodways and culture, Black Food is a beautiful, fun read of powerful essays, stunning visual art, and delicious recipes focusing on the culinary histories of the African diaspora. As shared by Terry, “like Black people, this book contains multitudes.” With recipes as the through line, discover expert cooking insight, inspiration, and stories as told by brilliant chefs in this thought-provoking selection that explores themes from spirit to migrations to Black future.
The Comic Book Guide to Growing Food by Joseph Tychonievich; Illustrated by Liz Anna Kozik
Community Read—Adult Selection 2
In this graphic novel guide, discover how to grow a successful vegetable garden, from planning, prepping, and planting to troubleshooting, care, and harvesting. This selection is the story of Mia, an eager young professional who wants to grow her own vegetables but doesn’t know where to start, and George, her retired neighbor-turned-gardening-mentor who walks her through each step of the process.
Bring Me Some Apples and I’ll Make You a Pie: A Story About Edna Lewis by Robbin Gourley
Community Read—Children's Selection
In this picture book for our youngest readers, trace the childhood roots of this revered chef’s appreciation for the bounties of nature as Edna and her family gather fruits, berries, and vegetables from their Virginia farm and turn them into wonderful meals. The book includes facts about the life of Edna Lewis, a descendant of slaves who grew up to be a famous chef, and five kid-friendly recipes.
Read the book here: Print
Birds and Birding: A Community Read Conversation
Tuesday, May 4, at 6:30 pm
Join Community Read authors J. Drew Lanham (The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature) and Mya Thompson (Ruby’s Birds), alongside John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge Park Ranger Wingyi Kung, as they discuss their lifelong love of birds and nature during this free 45-minute webinar. https://longwoodgardens.org/events-performances/events/birds-birding-community-read-conversation
Artists on Storytelling: A Community Read Conversation
Thursday, May 11, 6:30 pm
Join Community Read author J. Drew Lanham (The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature), and master storyteller and creator of Voices in the Landscape Charlotte Blake Alston as they as they engage in a discussion of the art of storytelling during this free webinar. https://longwoodgardens.org/events-performances/events/artists-storytelling-community-read-conversation
March 1 – June 15 during library hours | Kutztown Community Library
It is time to start your own garden. Choose from a variety of seeds from flowers to vegetables and watch how our food grows from a seed to a plant and ends up on your dinner table just like Edna in Bring Me Some Apples and I'll Make You a Pie.
STEAM Saturday: Plant a Flower
March 11 at 11:00 AM | Muhlenberg Community Library
Join us in planting your very own flower! Then care for it at home and enjoy the results, just like Edna does in "Bring Me Some Apples and I'll Make You a Pie."
Overbooked Book Club - Adult Book Club
March 21 at 6:30 PM | Brandywine Community Library
The Overbooked Book Club will meet in the library to chat about Black Food by Bryant Terry. Come get a copy of the book. Pick a recipe, make it and bring it along with you to the book discussion. No need to register. Just join us.
March 27 at 6:00 PM | Muhlenberg Community Library
Penn State Berks Master Gardeners will be presenting a program on seed starting. This program will expand upon the content of The Comic Book Guide to Growing Food. There will be plenty of time for questions following the presentation.
Longwood Gardens Community Read Storytime
April 3 and 4 at 10:30 AM | Kutztown Community Library
We will read Bring Me Some Apples and I'll Make You a Pie, and we will learn about what goes into a pie and how it gets from garden to plate.
Bring Me Some Apples and I Will Make You a Pie Story Time
April 6 at 3:00 PM | Brandywine Community Library
Come for the story Bring Me Some Apples and I Will Make You a Pie- A Story About Edna Lewis by Robbin Gourley. After the story, children will be invited to help make (and taste) our own applesauce!
Kids Can Cook
April 10 at 5:30 PM | Wernersville Public Library
Miss Gabrielle will read Bring Me Some Apples and I'll Make You a Pie by Robbin Gourley, a story about Edna Lewis and life in Freetown, Virginia. Then we will join Mr. Tim to make strawberry shortcake and discuss the recipes found in the book. All attendees will be entered to win a 4-person pass to Longwood Gardens. A variety of fruit and vegetables will be available to sample for those who cannot have strawberries. Registration is not required.
Longwood Gardens Community Read Virtual Storytime
April 13 at 10:30 AM | Kutztown Community Library Virtual Event
We will read Bring Me Some Apples and I'll Make You a Pie, and we will learn about what goes into a pie and how it gets from garden to plate during Storytime on Zoom!
STEM Friday: A Longwood Gardens Community Read Special
April 21 at 5:30 PM | Wernersville Public Library
Just in time for Earth Day, Miss Gabrielle will read and discuss Bring Me Some Apples and I'll Make You a Pie by Robbin Gourley. Attendees will then learn about the growth cycle of plants, and put together small pots of dirt and seeds to grow at home, just like Edna did when she was a little girl in Freetown, Virginia. All attendees will be entered to win a 4-person pass to Longwood Gardens. A variety of vegetable and flower seeds will be available. Registration is not required.
Seed and Plant Swap
April 27 at 1:00 PM | Boone Area Library
Patrons will be given the chance to bring in seeds and plants for others to take home for their garden. During this event we will have recipe books and gardening books out. This will help them if they want to try to plant something new this year as well as give them recipe ideas that will go with what they are growing in their gardens.
StoryWalk® at Boyertown Park
Beginning May 5 from 9:00AM-6:00PM| Boyertown Community Library @ Boyertown Park
Our StoryWalk® for May is Longwood Gardens Community Read children's book, "Bring Me Some Apples and I’ll Make You a Pie: A Story About Edna Lewis" by Robin Gourley. The book will be set up at Boyertown Park each Wednesday in May from 9am-6pm.
Book Discussion: Black Food
May 13 at 12:00 noon | Reading Public Library Southeast Branch
Join us as we discuss Black Food: Stories, Art & Recipes From Across the African Diaspora, edited by Bryant Terry, and sample a recipe from the book. Participants may also bring a recipe to share. All attendees will receive a family pass to Longwood Gardens and be entered into a drawing to receive their own copy of Black Food. Registration required. Call 610-655-6362 for more information.
Nature Study in the Pollinator Garden
June 17 at 1:30 PM | Mifflin Community Library @ Nolde Forest
We will be collaborating with Nolde Forest to provide our community with the opportunity to engage in a Nature Study (and potential Nature Journal) program in Nolde Forest's Pollinator Garden. We will be discussing growing food and how pollinators play a part.
Buttermilk Fried Chicken Cooking Demo
Watch as Executive Chef Ramin Coles from the Sweet Home Café at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture cooks up two recipes from our 2023 Community Read title Black Food: Stories, Art, and Recipes from Across the African Diaspora.