Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Great Michigan Read begins here tonight


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Ironwood — The Great Michigan Read has begun, and area libraries and educators are gearing up for this year’s book “Firekeeper’s Daughter,” by Angeline Boulley. The Ironwood Carnegie Library, the Wakefield Public Library and the Gogebic Community College are working together to bring activities to both adults and youth alike to celebrate a love of reading.

The first event is set for today at 6 p.m. in Room B-21 at GCC. The event will feature a screening of the documentary “Lawyers: Defenders of Sacred Justice.” According to a release by Ironwood Carnegie Library director Lynne Wiercinski, the documentary focuses on the stories of Michigan Native American lawyers, and their colleagues who work with the Native Nations.

The presentation will include a Q&A session with the producer.

The second event, a gathering of the Ironwood and Wakefield library adult book clubs, will be held on April 11, with it’s location to still be determined. The clubs will be meeting to discuss this year’s read, before the visit of its author in Ironwood.

Boulley will visit Ironwood on April 25 to discuss her book at the Lindquist Center Gymnasium at GCC at noon.

Wiercinski said in addition to the public events, the libraries have been working with area schools.

The Carnegie Library is working with the Ironwood Area Schools fourth grade class, purchasing copies of “The Birchbark House,” by Louise Erdrich, to read.

“We will be going into the classroom and doing a bit of a book discussion,” said Wiercinski.

Wiercinski said this year’s Great Michigan Read is a young adult novel, and that the library selected a book for younger readers that would talk about some of the same topics. “We always try to get the young ones involved in the Great Michigan Read, so we picked a book that was a bit more appropriate for them.”

She said plans are in the works with the Lac Vieux Desert Tribe in Watersmeet, where she is hoping that in May they will have someone come by and teach the children about maple sugar making.

The Carnegie Library is also working with some of the high school classes to get them reading this year’s novel as well.

“We are working closely with Lac Vieux Desert and we are going to get the students from Watersmeet and Lac Vieux Desert to bring them in to the college for lunch and to listen to the guest author as well,” she said.

“Firekeeper’s Daughter” tells the story of a young Ojibwa girl, who’s mother is French and father is Ojibwa, and feels like she doesn’t fit in anywhere,” said Wiercinski. “It helps you understand the Ojibwa culture a little bit better. There is a lot of terminology and a lot of things in there that help get you exploring the culture a bit more.”

Wiercinski explained that the Great Michigan Read is presented by Michigan Humanities, who helps to fund author visits and activities that are planned around the event.

“This author decided that she was only going to do ten stops through the entire state,” said Wiercinski, “ and we were very very fortunate to be selected as one of the places where she would stop and do a book talk and signing.”

Planning kicked into gear about a month ago, according to Wiercinski,

“I cannot tell you how many Michigan Reads we have done - probably six or seven, if not more,” said Wiercinski, “I don’t think I recall a book stirring up so much excitement in our community. The minute I announced it, I had phone calls, facebook posts, and people coming in just so excited that this was the book that was chosen, and even more excited that she is coming in to talk.”

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