Fairfield’s One Book One Town Program

Fairfield’s One Book One Town Program

Fairfield Public Library has announced its 2024 One Book One Town selection! This year, Warrior Girl Unearthed by Angeline Boulley has been selected as our town book. 

In 1998, Seattle librarian and author Nancy Pearl started a program in her town called “ If All of Seattle Read the Same Book,” encouraging everyone in the community to read one book, and engage in discussion together. After gaining traction in Chicago in 2001, the program, often called “One City, One Book” grew to a current 400+ cities participating, with different books in every community. Fairfield’s version, One Book One Town (OBOT), was later introduced in 2008.

The Fairfield Public Library works with the Fairfield Museum & History Center, Fairfield University, Sacred Heart University, Fairfield Public Schools and various other local organizations to select important and meaningful books. This year’s selection, Warrior Girl Unearthed follows an Indigenous Ojibwe girl named Perry Firekeeper-Birch, and her deep love for her community and tribe. Upon discovering sacred items belonging to her tribe at a museum, and watching more and more Indigenous women within her community going missing, she is determined to find out what is really happening and intent on saving her people. 

Jennifer Laseman, Head of Teen services at Fairfield Public Library and co-Chair for the One Book One Town program, said that “it is our hope that Warrior Girl Unearthed starts a community-wide discussion about Indigenous people, their cultures, life experiences, and the main themes discussed in the book including The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act [NAGPRA], and the human rights crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two Spirit Peoples. [MMIWG2S.]” 

Author Angeline Boulley is Ojibwe herself, and writes with the goal of providing better Indigenous education to children. She worked as the Director of the Office of Indian Education at the U.S. Department of Education, and writes about her community in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Her debut novel, Firekeeper’s Daughter, was a bestseller when it was published in 2021, which similarly follows an Indigenous teenager trying to get to the bottom of injustice within her community. 

Warrior Girl Unearthed caught the attention of the library after its release in 2023. Laseman explains that “We’ve never selected a thriller or a book by an Indigenous author, so those were two things that immediately stood out to the OBOT community.” She continued by saying that “what really captivated [them] was how Boulley crafts her stories not just to entertain but to educate and inspire readers to think critically about issues important to the Indigenous population.” The program hopes to encourage people to learn more about Native American history, especially in the local community. 

The Committee has made the importance of sharing diverse perspectives clear through their book choices in previous picks such as Wonder by R.J. Palacio, Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam, and an incredible list of other novels. One Book One Town hopes to provide incentive for people of all ages, backgrounds and economic statuses to share opinions, important ideas, and stories with one another. 

Angeline Boulley is speaking at Fairfield University’s Quick Center for the Arts on Tuesday, March 5, at 7:00 pm. If you are interested in learning more about local Indigenous communities, you are invited to attend the Connecticut Tribal Panel Discussion on Saturday, March 9th. Citizens from the five-state recognized Indigenous Indian Tribes will be discussing their experiences, as well as the book itself. 

Pick up Warrior Girl Unearthed at any library in Fairfield, and sign up for the Talk with this link!

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