One Book. One City. One Good Read.

Welcome to DC Reads 2015!

October 15-November 9, 2015

DC Reads is a DC Public Library literacy program that promotes reading for pleasure by having citywide celebrations for teens and adults that focus on one book.  Each year a new book is selected by a public nomination process.

This year's DC Reads selection is All Aunt Hagar's Children (2006) by Edward P. Jones.

Image result for all aunt hagar's children About the Book

In All Aunt Hagar’s Children, fourteen stories describe what life was like for African Americans migrating to and growing up in Washington, D. C.  Edward P. Jones’s characters and scenes come to life with vivid imagery and great attention to detail.  The city embraces them. Many of these characters not only carry burdens of their past but those of previous generations as well.  The story of the Great Migration from the South is part of their history.  They work tirelessly, dream of better lives, and struggle to combat obstacles that stand in their way. In the end, there is light at the end of the tunnel; the darkness is pierced with glimmers of hope.  Fear not, for Aunt Hagar’s children are a tenacious lot. Their roots are planted firmly in the ground and there they shall remain.  Their faith in the power of family will see them through.  They will survive.

Jones edward download 1.jpg

About the Author
 Edward P. Jones was born in 1950 in Arlington, Virginia.  He received an MFA from the University of Virginia in 1981.  His first book, Lost in the City (1992), was nominated for the National Book Award and won the PEN/Hemingway award.  His 2003 novel The Known World was nominated for the National Book Award and won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2004.  In 2005, Mr. Jones was awarded the MacArthur Fellowship.  All Aunt Hagar’s Children was published in 2006 and nominated for the PEN/Faulkner award in 2007.  In 2010, Mr. Jones won the PEN/Malamud Award for excellence in the art of the short story.  And it is the art of the short story which is captured in All Aunt Hagar’s Children, filling the pages with memorable characters who may be people we meet every day.  They struggle and survive in what Jones once referred to in an interview as “the other city”.  It is the city hidden behind the monuments.
For the full listing of events please see our DC Reads calendar.

Featured Events

DC Legendary Musicians Concert

Saturday, October 31 | 2 pm | Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library 
Dr. Sandra Butler-Truesdale will present a concert highlighting professional DC musicians who are preserving as well as innovating the sound of DC music.

Panel:  DC in the 50s
Tuesday, November 3 | 6:30 pm Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library 
Georgetown University American History Professor Maurice Jackson and native Washingtonians Rev. Sandra Butler-Truesdale and James Bennett will discuss the life and culture of African Americans in Washington, D.C. in the 1950’s. Hosted and moderated by DC Public Library Special Collections.

District Merchants
Thursday, November 5 | 6 pm Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library 
District Merchants, commissioned by Folger Theatre, written and directed by Aaron Posner, is a variation on The Merchant of VeniceDistrict Merchants takes place in Washington, D.C. and explores the complex relationship between Black and Jewish residents of the city, which is addressed in the story “All Aunt Hagar’s Children”. 

Book Discussion Groups

Libraries around the city will be reading and discussing All Aunt Hagar's Children.
Find a book group near you!
Download the discussion guide developed by DC Public Library.

Other Events

Bonsai Trees of the National Arboretum
Wednesday, November 4 | 7 pm |Takoma Park Neighborhood Library
Join Jack Sustic, curator at the Bonsai and Penjing Museum at the National Arboretum, and Sandra Moore, author of The Peace Tree from Hiroshima: The Little Bonsai with a Big Story (2015), as they talk about the history of the Arboretum’s bonsai collection and how it has become part of DC’s story.

DC History
Join renowned local historian C. R. Gibbs for a look back at mid-century D.C.

Wednesday, October 21 | 7 pm | Capitol View Neighborhood Library
"Carter G. Woodson's Washington":  A revealing and informative look at a seldom-studied aspect of the life of one of the most famous men in African American history.

Thursday, October 22 | 7 pm |  Parklands-Turner Neighborhood Library
"Breaking The Phalanx: Fighting Jim Crow in the Nation's Capital": Seldom told or taught is the long, local struggle against codified,crystallized racial prejudice in the District of Columbia.
Monday, October 26 | 7 pm | Palisades Neighborhood Library
"Black Georgetown Remembered": Named after a popular book of which the presenter is a co-author, this lecture chronicles the rise and near extinction of the presence of people of African descent in one of the most storied neighborhoods of Washington, D.C.

Saturday, November 7 | 2 pm | Cleveland Park Neighborhood Library
"Tangled Web: Race, Gentrification, & Urban Renewal in the Nation's Capital" : This is the complex story of the modern urban transformation of Washington, D.C.(from the 1950's onward) through the eyes of the winners and the losers, as well as how the city's policies and practices aided some & discomfited others. 

Mapping Segregation in Washington, D. C.
Tuesday, October 20 | 7 pm | Shepherd Park (Juanita E. Thornton) Neighborhood Library
Tuesday, October 27 | 7 pm | Chevy Chase Neighborhood Library

Mapping Segregation in Washington D.C. is a public history project whose goal is to create a set of layered, online maps illustrating the historic segregation of D.C.’s housing, schools, recreational facilities, and other public venues.  Come learn why many of D.C.’s “historically black” neighborhoods were once exclusively white, and how more recent shifts in the city’s racial identity have been shaped by this history.

Breast Cancer Awareness
Wednesday, October 28 | 7 pm | Benning Neighborhood Library
Thursday, October 29 | 7 pm | Southwest Neighborhod Library
Thelma D. Jones, survivor and advocate, will present an informative and enlightening discussion about screening and the use of complementary therapies in the tireless fight against breast cancer.

Tell Your DC Story 
Thursday, November 5 | 7 pm | Northwest One Neighborhood Library
Do you have a story to tell about your life in DC? Are you a native Washingtonian or a DC transplant? Is your story about the here and now or is it one of generations? Join artist, producer and documentarian Jonna McKone for a DC-focused storytelling workshop.

Understanding "Root Work"

Sunday, November 8 | 2 pm | Watha T. Daniel (Shaw) Neighborhood Library 
Psychology, magic, and medicine are surprisingly hard to separate as each can explain any health situation.  In this program, we will look at the interplay of these three elements in the story "Root Worker" and in our larger cultures and society.

DC By the Book: Walking Tours 
Read a curated selection of favorite excerpts from All Aunt Hagar’s Children, complemented with historical context and photographs as you journey through this new tour in the DC by the Book app. 

DC By the Book (DCBTB)  is a collaboration between DC Public Library, local partners, and the public to crowd-source passages from fiction set in D.C. and place them on a custom map of the city. Learn more at  Download the app from iTunes and Google Play.

Special Thanks to Our Partners

Additional support for DC Reads provided by the DC Public Library Foundation, Federation of Friends of the DC Public Library, and The Humanities Council of Washington, DC.

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