NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- More than 80 people attended the recent "New Rochelle: All on the Same Page" kickoff event, a citywide Community Reads program sponsored by My Brother's Keeper New Rochelle in conjunction with the New Rochelle Public Library and the City School District of New Rochelle.
The program's goal is to encourage community organizations and New Rochelle residents -- from young children to adults - to read and discuss books around a common theme. The Community Reads Steering Committee also hopes that teachers will consider assigning the chosen books for in-class reading and include them on their Summer Reading Lists.
Two award-wining authors -- Jeff Hobbs and Ilyasah Shabazz, daughter of Malcom X -- talked about how their books address the program's first theme of "Own Your Greatness." After their presentations and a community discussion, they signed more than 40 books.
"We are thrilled with how the two authors talked about the need for individuals to own their power and still be held accountable," said Reggie Richardson, high school principal and MBKNewRo co-chair.
The event was intended to begin a citywide effort to get residents excited about reading.
The Community Reads program features four books centered on a theme.
Hobbs' book, "The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace: A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Newark for the Ivy League," is suitable for high school students and adults. Shabazz's book, "X: A Novel," written with Kekla Magoon, is appropriate for middle school and older students/adults.
Two children's book selections include "Trombone Shorty," by Troy Andrews, which is suitable for students in grades 3 to 5, and "Last Stop on Market Street," by Matt de la Pena, appropriate for children in grades Pre-K to 2.
All books are available at deeply discounted prices through the Friends of the Library Book Store in the lobby of the New Rochelle Public Library, which is open Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.