The Ypsilanti District Library's 2023 Family Read has begun, running from March 11 to April 15 with a mission to promote a community-wide admiration for reading through a new partnership and unique activities.
The Family Read program first launched in 2018, offering multiple installments that have each highlighted a different selected book through events revolving around its plot and themes.
Varying events are hosted among the three branches of the Ypsilanti District Library.
"We were looking for something that would not only help spur a love of reading but also something that would prompt conversations and help people engage with the reading," Sam Killian, community relations coordinator of the Ypsilanti District Library, said.
For this year's Family Read, the Ypsilanti District Library has partnered with the Belleville Area District Library, marking the first partnership that the Ypsilanti District Library has formed for an installment of the Family Read program. The partnership hopes to expand the community outreach of the program, allowing more opportunities for individuals to partake in it.
As part of this partnership, the Belleville Area District Library will be hosting additional events for community members to attend. They also have copies of this year's selected book that members of the library can check out.
When deciding which book to structure an installment around, a few aspects are considered, such as the representation of diversity regarding characters and authors and the ability to spark conversations and inspire events.
Librarians from both the Ypsilanti District Library and the Belleville Area District Library convened to decide upon this year's book.
The book that the 2023 Family Read features is "Maizy Chen's Last Chance" by Lisa Yee. A National Book Awards 2022 finalist, it follows the story of a twelve-year-old girl named Maizy Chen who learns about her family history while visiting her grandparents. The book delves into themes of discrimination, recycling and more.
While encompassing themes from Yee's book, a few of the activities that will be held are creating a family photo album, making cream cheese wontons and making a compost bottle. All events are free to attend and open to all community members.
The 2023 Family Read will conclude on April 15 with a virtual visit from Yee at both the Ypsilanti District Library and the Belleville Area District Library. Members of both district libraries' tween book clubs will facilitate, and attendees of the visit will have the opportunity to ask Yee questions.
"Providing a way for families to do activities together and to read something together and talk about it, I mean, that can be a really powerful thing," Killian said.