The Ypsi Family Read brings our entire community together around one book, and ends with a big celebration that brings the book to life. Last year, readers celebrated Ghost with a track meet at Frog Island Park, and danced the cha-cha and tried the author’s family cookie recipe with Ruth Behar after reading Lucky Broken Girl.
This season’s pick, The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson, will come to life with a scavenger hunt that takes families on a trip through local history. Readers will get to solve a historical mystery just like Candice and Brandon, the main characters in the book. Then on November 15, we’ll put your puzzle-solving skills to the test with a “Break Out Of The Library” party.
The Parker Inheritance, a 2018 Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book, was the clear choice of those who voted this summer. In addition to being a fun book to read, its focus on local history is a great fit for Ypsilanti! It’s set in a small town called Lambert, which is based on the author’s hometown of Florence, South Carolina, where kids ride their bikes to the library and eat lunch at a historic diner.
Candice visits Lambert for the summer, living with her mother in her grandmother’s empty house. She soon meets Brandon, who lives across the street. While searching the attic for books to read, they find a mysterious letter about a hidden fortune. Following clues, they uncover the story of a young man who lived in Lambert during the 1950s Jim Crow era of segregation. As they discover forgotten local heroes, they learn how events in the past still have an impact on their daily lives.
Author Varian Johnson relied on oral histories from local residents to do research on his book, and Ypsi Family Read puzzle solvers will do the same, finding clues in the library’s A.P. Marshall Oral History archive. Scavenger hunters will also hunt through photos of Ypsi school children on Matt Siegfried’s 1900s Adams Street website, and visit parks and historical markers throughout the city and townships.
Whether you finished the book or just love the theme, there will be lots of great workshops related to the story. Readers can look at Ypsilanti’s local-history-based murals and make art with Lynne Settles, write their own mystery with 826michigan, or join a book discussion. The Family Read is designed for all ages, selecting books that are appropriate for kids as young as third grade but also interesting to adults.