Stay tuned for the 2016 Read Together Book selection!
Read Together Committee
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Palm Beach County Library System
Mandel Public Library
City of Boynton Beach Library
Park Avenue BBQ & Grille
The Palm Beach Post
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Victoria Jones grew up in the foster-care system. When she turns 18 and “ages out” of the system, she has nowhere to go, no one to rely on and few skills. What she does have, however, is an unusual gift – the ability to use flowers to help other people find meaning in their lives. This unforgettable novel beautifully weaves past and present, creating a vivid portrait of a woman whose gift helps her change the lives of others even as she struggles to overcome her own troubled past.
- What potential do Elizabeth, Renata, and Grant see in Victoria that she has a hard time seeing in herself?
- While Victoria has been hungry and malnourished often in her life, food ends up meaning more than just nourishment to her. Why?
- Victoria and Elizabeth both struggle with the idea of being part of a family. What does it mean to you to be part of a family? What defines family?
- Why do you think Elizabeth waits so long before trying to patch things up with her long-lost sister Catherine? What is the impetus for her to do so?
- The first week after her daughter’s birth goes surprisingly well for Victoria. What is it that makes Victoria feel unable to care for her child after the week ends? And what is it that allows her to ultimately rejoin her family?
- One of the major themes in The Language of Flowers is forgiveness and second chances – do you think Victoria deserves one after the things she did (both as a child and as an adult)? What about Catherine? And Elizabeth?
- What did you think of the structure of the book – the alternating chapters of past and present? In what ways did the two storylines parallel each other, and how did they diverge?
- The novel touches on many different themes (love, family, forgiveness, second chances). Which do you think is the most important? And what did you think was ultimately the lesson?
- At the end of the novel, Victoria learns that moss grows without roots. What does this mean, and why is it such a revelation for her?
- Based on your reading of the novel, what are your impressions of the foster care system in America? What could be improved?
- Knowing what you now know about the language of the flowers, to whom would you send a bouquet and what would you want it to say?
READ TOGETHER PALM BEACH COUNTYPURPOSE: To involve 10,000 - 20,000 adults throughout Palm Beach County in reading the same book at the same time. This community reading campaign will entice adults who can read, but often don't, to get involved in the habit of reading again. It will also promote community dialogue and engagement as citizens gather together to discuss key themes.
HISTORY: Based on the success of similar campaigns in Seattle and Chicago, the Campaign Coordinating Committee has conducted Read Together Palm Beach County in 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2012. In each campaign, thousands of adults read and discussed with great enthusiasm the chosen community book: Fahrenheit 451, Their Eyes Were Watching God, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Memory Keeper's Daughter, The Book Thief and Last Train to Paradise.
RECOGNITION: Former Governor Jeb Bush wrote to every city in Florida and encouraged them to form "One Book, One Community" reading campaigns based on the Palm Beach County model. Read Together Palm Beach County produced a handbook on how to conduct a similar reading campaign and Former Governor Bush urged municipalities to use this book to guide them in their campaigns.
PARTICIPANTS: Businesses, libraries, chambers of commerce, municipalities, local book clubs, neighborhood associations and many other groups.
- Participants will gain a greater understanding of what it means to be part of a community through book discussion opportunities.
- Children who observe their parents engaged in reading in a fun way will be motivated to enjoy reading.
- The campaign will bring people from diverse backgrounds together as they read a common book.
- Public awareness about the importance of reading will increase.
- Adults will regain an interest in leisure reading.
- Reading and literacy will gain a higher place in the community's priorities.
- New partnerships will be formed by community and civic groups.
A January 2009 report published by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), Reading on the Rise: A New Chapter in American Literacy, indicates that the percentage of American adults who reported reading "novels, short stories, poems or plays" rose from 46.7 percent in 2002 to 50.2 percent in 2008. Then NEA Chairman Dana Goia addressed the change in an interview with The Washington Post in which he stated, "Over the past six years there has been a new sense of urgency in the United States about the cultural disaster represented by the decline in reading. As a result, millions of teachers, librarians, parents, politicians and others put their energies into reversing the trend." Mr. Goia specifically credited community-wide reading campaigns, such as Read Together Palm Beach County, for being important catalysts in engaging more adults to read.
HIGHLIGHTS OF PAST READ TOGETHER CAMPAIGNS:
- In 2002, Renee Montagne of National Public Radio hosted a two hour public discussion of Fahrenheit 451 at the Duncan Theatre. The event included a telephone interview with author Ray Bradbury, in Los Angeles, who answered questions from the audience in Lake Worth.
- In 2004, the campaign finale featured a presentation by writer Valerie Boyd about her biography of Zora Neal Hurston, author of Their Eyes Were Watching God. Jazz musicians performed music of the Harlem Renaissance era and drama students from Glades Central High School performed an original readers' theater production of the novel.
- In 2006, actress Mary Badham, who had played "Scout" in the film adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird, discussed how the book and the film had affected her life. In addition, the Mockingbird Players, a community theater troupe from Harper Lee's hometown of Monroeville, Alabama, presented scenes from the novel.
- In 2008, the finale featured an interpretation of The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Palm Beach Dramaworks and a talk by the novel's author, Kim Edwards.
- In 2010, author Markus Zusak was interviewed via Skype from his home in Australia. Mr. Zusak charmed the 600 finale attendees with his self-deprecating humor and thoughtful answers to the questions posed by the audience.
- In 2012, Les Standiford, author of Last Train to Paradise was interviewed by Flagler Museum Director John Blades at the Harriet Himmel Theater before a packed house.
Previous Read Together books:
Their Eyes Were
Zora Neale Hurston
To Kill a
The Memory Keeper's
The Book Thief
Last Train to Paradise