Longwood Gardens Community Read

Longwood Community Reads white logo over trees

Longwood Gardens Community Read is a collaboration between Longwood Gardens, local libraries, and museums to provide a community-wide read of a two books, one for children and one for adults that takes place from March to May 2021.

This winter and spring we join other local libraries and community partners for the eighth 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.

 

Picture of The Home Place Book in nature with binoculars
The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man's Love Affair with Nature 
by J. Drew Lanham

Community Read—Adult Selection

Birds are a lifelong passion for Lanham, and in The Home Place, he also examines his personal history and struggles. Readers follow his journey as a successful wildlife ecologist who along the way uncovers lessons about legacy and his own need to inject a deeper sense of human caring into his life and work. 

Read the book here: Print  |  eBook  |  eAudiobook

 

Picture of Ruby's Birds and The Home Place Books in nature with binoculars
Ruby's Birds by Mya Thompson

Community Read—Children's Selection

In this book, a plucky young girl named Ruby uncovers the wild side of her city neighborhood with the help of a grown-up friend. When Ruby realizes there are amazing birds right in her neighborhood, her imagination takes flight. This delightful story includes a seek and find element with birds hiding on nearly every page.

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

Longwood Gardens Community Read Inspired Adult Art Contest
March 1-29 | Reading Public Library Branches

Get inspired to create art and re-discover nature! Pick up a bird-themed coloring sheet or submit your own original bird artwork to any of our 3 RPL branches beginning Monday, March 1. Your artwork will count as a chance to win one of two raffle prizes-a window bird feeder or bird themed coloring book. Last chance to turn in artwork will be Monday, March 29. Winners will be notified on Wednesday, March 31. No registration necessary. Submit your artwork by March 29 at any Reading Public Library Branch.

 

Ruby's Birds Story Time
Virtual | Bernville Area Community Library

We will read Ruby's Birds and include the opportunity to get a bird house craft at the library to build. No need to register, just click on the link.

 

Let's Write a Poem
Virtual | Kutztown Community Library

Pick up or download the poem template from the library and watch our Let's Write a Poem! video made by Berks Bards and learn how you can get outside, look for some birds, and write a poem. Return your completed poem to the library for a prize and a chance to win a family pass to Longwood Gardens. No registration necessary! Poem template available at the library or on our website. Video available on Facebook or Youtube.

 

Yarn Bird and Foraged Nest Craft Kit
Free | Kutztown Community Library

Location: Kutztown Community Library, 70 Bieber Alley, Kutztown, PA 19530
Pick up a free Yarn Bird and Foraged Nest Craft Kit at the Kutztown Community Library! Includes everything needed to make a bird out of yarn and instructions, as well as instructions on how to forage for items to make a natural bird’s nest for your yarn bird. Submit a picture of your craft to the library for a chance to win a Family Pass to Longwood Gardens! No registration necessary! Pick up a kit at the library.


Book Club
March 16, 6:30pm | Brandywine Community Library

Location: online via Zoom
Join us for a discussion on The Home Place. Our group shares their thoughts on the book and we relate it to our lives and experiences. To register email brandywinecl@berks.lib.pa.us to sign up and get the Zoom link. Visit https://www.facebook.com/events/808605513054664 for more information.

 

Bird Storytime
March 24, 8:30am | Sinking Spring Public Library 

Location: Virtual
Our Children’s Librarian will read Ruby’s Birds, talk about bird anatomy and eating habits, and encourage attendants to go on a bird watching walk. No registration is necessary – visit our Facebook Page to view the pre-recorded storytime.

 

Backyard Bird Habitats Webinar
March 25, 7:00 pm | Kutztown Community Library and Penn State Master Gardeners - Berks County Extension

Location: Virtual via Zoom
Learn how to maximize the amount of birds in your own backyard with plants and landscaping. Presented by Mary Ellen Mahan, Master Gardener. This webinar with the Master Gardeners will teach participants how to make their own backyards more safe and welcoming to birds. This knowledge will help them see and learn about local birds. Having more birds right in our backyards will help us all find that bird-watching spark. Sign up at the library, email kutztowndesk@gmail.com, or fill out the online registration form here: https://forms.gle/HbsUhFRXEHkNcz8P7

 

Ruby's Birds
March 30-June 30 | Village Library

Location: online via Facebook
The presentation is centered around the book Ruby's Birds, with a tie-in craft. Instructions will be given on how to be entered to win tickets to Longwood Gardens. View the presentation here.

 

Ruby's Birds
April 6 - June 30 | Village Library

Location: online via Facebook
We will be holding an photo entry contest for adults 18+ with the theme “Discover how one finds a passion for nature and explore what can become a spark.” Entries will use quote in a photo journal contest to describe why they love nature and include their favorite place in nature etc. First few winners will receive a copy of the book The Home Place in addition to tickets to Longwood Gardens. 12 winners total. Tag us on social media to be entered.

 

Bedtime Stories with Miss Yvonne - Ruby's Birds by Mya Thompson
April 7, 7:00pm | Brandywine Community Library

Location: Brandywine Community Library’s Youth Service’s page for a Facebook Live event
Miss Yvonne is going to introduce us to Ruby and read Ruby's Birds by Mya Thompson. Meet Ruby, a plucky young girl who uncovers the wild side of her city neighborhood with the help of a grown-up friend. When Ruby realizes there are amazing birds right in her neighborhood, her imagination takes flight. Birders have a name for the moment they get hooked―they call it their spark moment. This is the story of Ruby’s spark moment, in her very own words. Extra Fun-- Please Join us on April 8th at 1 PM on the Brandywine Youth Services Page for a craft inspired by Ruby's Birds! No registration required—just join us on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/events/1401882353492014

 

Bird Seed Ornaments, pick up Go Packs during library hours (while supplies last)
April 7-13 | Reading Public Library, Northeast Branch

Location: Reading Public Library - Northeast Branch, 1348 N. 11th St., Reading, PA 19604
Come on in to the Northeast Branch Library and pick up a bird seed ornament GoPack! Instructions are included with a link to a Youtube video to make your own bird seed ornament. Fill out the enclosed raffle ticket for a chance to win a copy of this year’s Longwood Gardens Community Read book for children, Ruby’s Birds, by Mya Thompson. Turn in your raffle ticket by April 13th and winners will be notified on April 14th! Pick up a GoPack at the Northeast Branch Library.

 

Birding Around Birdsboro
April 9-10m 9am - 4pm | Boone Area Library

Location: Boone Area Library, 129 North Mill Street, Birdsboro PA 19508
Stop by the library this weekend to pick up a copy of our Birding Around Birdsboro activity sheet! We have activity sheets available for all ages. Check out an item from our special display, including The Home Place by J. Drew Lanham and Ruby’s Birds by Mya Thompson, complete our Birding Around Birdsboro outdoor activities, and submit your worksheet for a chance to win a free pass to Longwood Gardens! No registration necessary. If you have any questions, please email boone@berks.lib.pa.us

 

Art Attack: Ruby's Birds and John James Audubon
April 12, 6:30pm | Robesonia Community Library

Location: Virtual via Zoom
During our Art Attack you will learn about a new artist and create a masterpiece in their style! As a Longwood Gardens Community Read event, you will learn about an artist who has a love for birds, like Ruby, the main character of Ruby’s Birds. Learn about the life of John James Audubon, a wildlife artist, and draw some local birds in his style! For ages 8 and up. To register, please email robesoniakids@berks.lib.pa.us or call the Robesonia Community Library at 610-693-3264 to receive the Zoom meeting codes.

 

"Birds in Our Neighborhood" Preschool Grab-and-Go Kit, during library hours (While supplies last)
April 14 -  ongoing, during Library Hours | Hamburg Public Library

Location: Preschool Grab-and-Go Kits can be picked up from one of two locations—the display in the glass porch at the Hamburg Public Library (35 North 3rd Street, Hamburg, PA 19526) or the display on the wall near the cash registers inside Redner’s Market grocery store (500 Hawk Ridge Road, Hamburg, PA 19526).
Each Grab-and-Go Kit will include several bird-themed activities. Most notably, children will have the opportunity to create their own bird watching “binoculars” from paper tubes, construction paper, and yarn, which are all included in the Kit. Children will be encouraged to find the joy of bird watching in their neighborhood, just like Ruby in Ruby’s Birds. No registration is required.

 

Virtual Preschool Storytime: "Birds in Our Neighborhood"
April 14 -  ongoing, during Library Hours | Hamburg Public Library

Location:  This asynchronous, virtual storytime can be viewed on the Hamburg Public Library’s Facebook page beginning April 14, 2021
Join Hamburg Public Library’s Children’s Librarian for a fun-filled virtual preschool storytime all about birds! We’ll enjoy a read-aloud of Mya Thompson’s book, Ruby’s Birds, which is the sweet story of a little girl who discovers the joy of bird watching in her neighborhood. Follow-up activities will focus on birds we might spot in our own backyards here in Pennsylvania. No registration is required.


Birdhouse Competition: Design a Home for Our Feathered Friends
Submit Entries: April 19-April 24, 2021 | Exeter Community Library

Viewing: April 26 – May 31, 2021
Submit Entries during our curbside open hours
Viewing Hours of Birdhouses: Mon. – Sun. daylight hours outside

Designing a home for our feather friends is not just about hammering some nails and pieces of wood together. This project encourages builders to read and research a little further and acquire the knowledge as to what birds are most likely to use a birdhouse, how to make a yard attractive to nesting birds, and how to ensure the house is suitable to attract local birds. This contest inspires participants to build creative, functional, environmentally friendly and durable backyard habits and in doing so to highlight the need for nesting sites for birds. Birdhouses will be built by registered participants, displayed throughout the month of May and voted on by visitors. A People’s Choice Prize will be awarded. If submitting for the competition:
1.) Link for form on library website: http://www.berkslibraries.org/branch/exeter
2.) Call the library for an application form at 610-406-9431

 

Earth Day is for the Birds
April 21, 10:00 am & 11:00 am | The Spring Township Library & The West Lawn/Wyomissing Hills Library

Location: Facebook LIVE
In honor of Earth Day we are going to be focusing on birds and using the book Ruby’s Birds.

 

Outdoor Storytime: Birds
April 21, 10:15am | Boone Area Library

Location: Rustic Park (Pavilion #3), 1314 Haycreek Rd, Birdsboro, PA 19508
Join us for an outdoor storytime all about birds! We will read Ruby’s Birds, listen to a speaker from the Baird Ornithological Club, and practice our bird watching skills. All participants will be entered into a raffle to win passes to Longwood Gardens. This program is designed for children age 2-5, but all are welcome. No registration necessary. If you have any questions, please email sbichild@berks.lib.pa.us 

 

Book Club
April 22, 7:00 pm | Sinking Spring Public Library

Location: Sinking Spring Public Library, 3940 Penn Ave., Sinking Spring, PA 19608
Participants will discuss the book The Home Place. Sponsored by the Friends of the SSPL. Participants must email the library to reserve a spot for attending in person or to receive the Zoom link for the discussion.

 

Ruby's Birds Story Time

 

April 22, 10:30am | Kutztown Community Library

 

Location: Virtual via Zoom
Read Ruby's Birds by Mya Thompson with Miss Taylor! Sing songs and play games about the importance of birds in our daily lives. No registration necessary! Zoom info available on our events calendar:
https://www.berkslibraries.org/branch/kutztown/events-calendar 

 

The Home Place Virtual Book Discussion
April 26, 7:00pm | Kutztown Community Library

Location: Virtual via Zoom
Read Ruby's Birds by Mya Thompson with Miss Taylor! Sing songs and play games about the importance of birds in our daily lives. No registration necessary! Zoom info available on our events calendar:
https://www.berkslibraries.org/branch/kutztown/events-calendar 

 

Book Club
April 26, 7:00pm | Schuylkill Valley Community Library 

Location: Online via Zoom
We will be discussing the book The Home Place. No registration required. Attend via Zoom:
www.berkslibraries.org/branch/schuylkill-valley/svcl-book-club

 

Ruby's Birds Children's Craft Go Pack
April 26-29, Monday 11-6:30, Tuesday-Thursday 9:30am - 5pm | Reading Public Library - Southeast Branch

Location: Southeast Branch Library, 1426 Perkiomen Ave., Reading, PA 19602
We will be distributing 12 free copies of the book Ruby’s Birds along with a children’s craft Go Pack that includes ingredients for making your own birdseed ornaments. No registration necessary. First come, first served while supplies last.

 

 

Feather Flashback!
April 27, 5:30pm | Wernersville Public Library

Location: Wernersville Public Library, 100 N. Reber Street, Wernersville, PA 19565
Take a look at history through the “eyes” of a feather! In keeping with the Longwood Gardens Community Read Program, Miss Tara will introduce Ruby’s Birds by Mya Thompson, a book about a seven-year-old girl who learns how to slow down and be quiet enough to see and hear the amazing birds that are all around her. Afterwards, attendees will participate in a mix-and-match activity that incorporates 300 years of our past with the use of primary sources, hands on learning, and feathers. End the activity by trying your hand at writing a letter with a quill and ink. *For children ages 6+, teens and adults welcome and encouraged to attend. *Please note that this event is a nature and history program with a focus on the book. Space is limited to 40 people. Masks are required. Please register for this program by stopping in the library, calling (610) 678-8771, or by email:
wernersvillepl@berks.lib.pa.us

 

Bird Painted Sign Night
May 4, 7:00 pm | Kutztown Community Library

$10/kit
Presented by: Kutztown Community Library, Sunshine Signs, and Farmhouse Flowers 
Location: Virtual via zoom, purchase kits at the Library (70 Bieber Ally, Kutztown PA, 19530) or Farmhouse Flowers (15085 Kutztown Rd, Kutztown PA, 19530)

Purchase a kit for $10 and then paint a simple bird silhouette painting with Susan from Sunshine Signs. Enjoy conversation while you paint and see everyone’s interpretations of the painting. Kit includes all supplies needed except for paper towels and a paper plate. This simple craft night gives patrons the opportunity to create a permanent piece of art that will remind them of the quiet beauty of birds, as well as discuss birds with members of the community. The painted sign can serve as a reminder of birds every time they look at it.  Sign up with your name and email when purchasing the kit. Online payment and local delivery available.

 

StoryWalk® at Boyertown Park
May 5, 12, 19, 26, 9am - 6pm | Boyertown Community Library

Location: Boyertown Community Park, 417 S. Madison St, Boyertown, PA 19512
Enjoy a walk and a story! We will have Longwood Garden’s Community Read book Ruby’s Birds set up on yard signs along the walking trail. Pick up an activity kit at the library, ask at the desk or call 610-369-0496 for curbside pickup. No registration necessary.

 

Ruby's Birds Storytime
May 6, 10:30 am & 11:30am  | West Lawn-Wyomissing Hills Library

Location: On Zoom, posted later on YouTube
This special storytime will include a kit for a simple birdfeeder, a scavenger hunt for local birds, and a print out of Ruby’s tips for birding. We will read Ruby’s Birds and listen to local bird songs and calls. The zoom link is available on our website or Facebook events to be used at the time of the event. People may also mark themselves as “Going” on the Facebook event to receive a reminder. 

 

Berks Nature Presents: Owls & Birds of Prey
May 6, 5:30pm  | Wernersville Public Library

Location:  Wernersville Public Library, 100 N. Reber Street, Wernersville, PA 19565
What do owls eat for breakfast? How about dinner? Investigate their diet by dissecting an owl pellet! In keeping with the Longwood Gardens Community Read Program, Miss Tara will introduce Ruby’s Birds by Mya Thompson, a book about a seven-year-old girl who learns how to slow down and be quiet enough to see and hear the amazing birds that are all around her. Berks Nature will then lead a discussion about owls and other birds of prey. Afterwards, attendees will dissect the owl pellets, and they will be able to take the bones home if they want. *For children ages 6+ *Please note that this event is a nature program with a focus on the book. Space is limited to 40 people to allow for proper social distancing. Masks are required. Please register for this program by stopping in the library, calling (610) 678-8771, or by email:
wernersvillepl@berks.lib.pa.us.

 

Meet Falconry Girl and her Raptors (for Adults)
May 13, 1pm  | Fleetwood Area Public Library

Location: Keystone Villa, 501 Hoch Road, Blandon, PA 19510
Margaret Young “Falconry Girl” will educate attendees about falconry and what it is not. She will discuss the natural history and conservation of raptors and the differences between hawks, falcons, and owls, and pass around the preserved specimens/feathers to see the difference. Two live hawks will be brought out and she will discuss each species. Falconry is not a popular sport, especially for a girl. Margaret’s passion for falconry will speak to the “rare bird” concept in The Home Place.  No registration is necessary.

 

Hawk Mountain: We Bring the Mountain to You!
May 18, 6:30pm | Exeter Community Library

Location: Virtual via Zoom
Join Hawk Mountain Sanctuary for a virtual program where we transport you to the world's first refuge for birds of prey! The presentation will include natural history, raptor identification, migration information, and more. Meet one of our Hawk Mountain Sanctuary educators and get a chance to see one of our live education raptors up-close and personal through your computer screen! Participants will be eligible for two free drawings. One for a one day family pass for 4 to Longwood Gardens. Another for 4 passes to visit Hawk Mountain Sanctuary. Email to
sxtchild@berks.lib.pa.us to register for program by Saturday, May 15, 2021.

 

Meet Falconry Girl and her Raptors (for Adults)
June 28, 10am  | Fleetwood Area Public Library

Location: Locust Street Playground, 600 E. Locust Street, Fleetwood, PA 19522
Margaret Young “Falconry Girl” will educate attendees about falconry and what it is not. She will discuss the natural history and conservation of raptors and the differences between hawks, falcons, and owls, and pass around the preserved specimens/feathers to see the difference. Two live hawks will be brought out and she will discuss each species. Falconry is not a popular sport, especially for a girl. She will also share her “spark moment” when she fell in love with birding much like Ruby in Ruby’s Birds.  No registration is necessary.