To use literature and the arts to promote a sense of community through shared purpose and experience, while encouraging engagement and education
WHY THIS BOOK WAS CHOSEN
We choose Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson first and foremost because it is beautifully written and tells a compelling story. We choose it because it draws attention to an important issue—the need for prison reform—and we hope that regardless of where readers stand politically, it will give us something to talk about and wrestle with in our discussions. Still, there are thousands of beautifully-written books about equally compelling issues, so why this one? The answer is simple: as we thought about this community-based program that we hope will be an annual event, it seemed to add another layer of meaning that we could start with someone of our community. Bryan Stevenson, the author of Just Mercy, grew up in Sussex County and graduated from Cape Henlopen High School. Most cities and towns (especially small towns like ours) who participate in the “One Book One Community” programs don't have this amazing option of being able to choose a writer of this caliber who hails from their own town. We’re enormously proud to kick off the Rehoboth Reads program with a book that has made an international impact, yet had its beginnings in our own community.
REHOBOTH READS INSPIRATION
Community-Wide Reading Programs
Whether it’s called a city-wide book club, a state-wide reading campaign, “If All of Seattle Read the Same Book,” or “One Book, One City,” communities of all shapes and sizes are adopting the concept originated by the Washington Center for the Book: people coming together through the reading and discussion of a common book. Since 1998, when the Washington Center for the Book hosted author Russell Banks for four days of programs and discussion about his novel, The Sweet Hereafter, communities all over the United States have increasingly embraced the notion of civic unity through the reading of literature. There are now statewide, citywide, countywide, and even country-wide reading programs all over the world.