11 Jul 2022 Books Build Bridges: Connecting Communities through Reading
By Danielle Acton
Books Build Bridges is a community read program hosted by Hamilton East Public Library each fall to build community through shared experience, provide diverse reading opportunities and engage our community with noted authors. The featured books this year are Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford, and Front Desk by Kelly Yang. These novels tackle tough topics like racism, bullying, and discrimination in powerful, poignant, and age-appropriate ways.
Join our community in reading, participating in book discussions, and meeting the award-winning authors.
MEET THE AUTHORS
Jamie Ford is the award-winning author of the bestselling novel Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, which was awarded the Asian Pacific American Award for Literature and was on the New York Times bestseller list for over two years. Ford’s second novel, Songs of Willow Frost, was also a New York Times best seller, and as with its predecessor, has also been a favorite among community reading programs. Ford is an alumnus of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers and of Orson Scott Card’s Literary Boot Camp. Having grown up near Seattle’s Chinatown, he now lives in Montana with his wife and children.
Kelly Yang is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of New From Here, the Front Desk series, including Front Desk, Three Keys, and Room To Dream, Yes We Will, and young adult novels Parachutes and Private Label. Front Desk is Kelly’s award-winning middle grade debut novel about a 10-year-old Chinese American immigrant girl who manages the front desk of a motel while her parents clean the rooms.
GET A COPY OF THE BOOK
Get a free copy of the featured books (while supplies last) at the Noblesville or the Fishers library beginning August 15, 2022. Or, the books may be borrowed from the HEPL bookshelves or digitally through the library’s Libby/OverDrive collection.
ABOUT THE BOOKS
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
In the opening pages of Jamie Ford’s stunning debut novel, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Henry Lee comes upon a crowd gathered outside the Panama Hotel, once the gateway to Seattle’s Japantown. It has been boarded up for decades, but now the new owner has made an incredible discovery: the belongings of Japanese families, left when they were rounded up and sent to internment camps during World War II. As Henry looks on, the owner opens a Japanese parasol.
This simple act takes old Henry Lee back to the 1940s, at the height of the war, when young Henry’s world is a jumble of confusion and excitement, and to his father, who is obsessed with the war in China and having Henry grow up American. While “scholarshipping” at the exclusive Rainier Elementary, where the white kids ignore him, Henry meets Keiko Okabe, a young Japanese American student. Amid the chaos of blackouts, curfews, and FBI raids, Henry and Keiko forge a bond of friendship–and innocent love–that transcends the long-standing prejudices of their Old World ancestors. And after Keiko and her family are swept up in the evacuations to the internment camps, she and Henry are left only with the hope that the war will end, and that their promise to each other will be kept.
Forty years later, Henry Lee is certain that the parasol belonged to Keiko. In the hotel’s dark dusty basement he begins looking for signs of the Okabe family’s belongings and for a long-lost object whose value he cannot begin to measure. Now a widower, Henry is still trying to find his voice–words that might explain the actions of his nationalistic father; words that might bridge the gap between him and his modern, Chinese American son; words that might help him confront the choices he made many years ago.
Set during one of the most conflicted and volatile times in American history, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is an extraordinary story of commitment and enduring hope. In Henry and Keiko, Jamie Ford has created an unforgettable duo whose story teaches us of the power of forgiveness and the human heart. (Publisher’s description)
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet was awarded the Asian Pacific American Award for Literature and was on the New York Times bestseller list for over two years.
Front Desk by Kelly Yang
Mia Tang has a lot of secrets. Number 1: She lives in a motel, not a big house. Every day, while her immigrant parents clean the rooms, ten-year-old Mia manages the front desk of the Calivista Motel and tends to its guests. Number 2: Her parents hide immigrants. And if the mean motel owner, Mr. Yao, finds out they’ve been letting them stay in the empty rooms for free, the Tangs will be doomed. Number 3: She wants to be a writer. But how can she when her mom thinks she should stick to math because English is not her first language? It will take all of Mia’s courage, kindness, and hard work to get through this year. Will she be able to hold on to her job, help the immigrants and guests, escape Mr. Yao, and go for her dreams? (Publisher’s description)
Front Desk was awarded the 2019 Asian Pacific American Award for Literature, the Parents’ Choice Gold Medal, was the 2019 Global Read Aloud, and was named an Amazon Best Book of the Year, a Washington Post Best Book of the Year, a Kirkus Best Book of the Year, a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, a NPR Best Book of the Year, and a Publisher’s Weekly Best Book of the Year.
ABOUT THE EVENTS
Teen Lit Café @ Ohana
Thursday, September 15 | 6 – 7pm | Ohana Donuts & Ice Cream, 11640 Brooks School Rd, Fishers
A book club exclusively for teens in grades 6-12. Each teen will get to choose a free drink or treat to enjoy during our meeting! We will be discussing the current book selection, Front Desk by Kelly Yang, and any other books we want to talk about! Participants may pick up a free book ahead of time by registering and choosing a library location to pick up their book.
Books Build Bridges: Front Desk Book Discussion (In-Person)
Monday, September 19 | 6 – 7pm | Fishers Library
Kids and Caregivers are invited to an in-person book discussion of our children’s 2022 Books Build Bridges title Front Desk by Kelly Yang. Come chat about the book and discuss main themes before our in person author visit on Saturday!
Books Build Bridges: Front Desk Virtual Book Discussion
Thursday, September 22 | 6 – 7pm | Virtual
Kids and Caregivers are invited to a in person book discussion of our children’s 2022 Books Build Bridges title Front Desk by Kelly Yang. Come chat about the book and discuss main themes before our in person author visit on Saturday!
Books Build Bridges: Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet Virtual Book Discussion
Thursday, September 29 | 7 – 8pm | Virtual
Adults and teens are invited to a virtual book discussion of our 2022 Books Build Bridges title Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford. Chat about the book and discuss main themes before our in-person author visit on Saturday, October 1!
(Note: The authors will not be present at the above discussions.)
Books Build Bridges: Kelly Yang Author Visit
Saturday, September 24 | Fishers
Join Kelly Yang at the Fishers Library for an author talk followed by a Q&A session and book signing. Two sessions will be offered—1:00pm and 4:00pm. A virtual option will be available at 1:00pm. Registration is requested for the in-person events and required for the virtual option.
Books Build Bridges: Jamie Ford Author Visit
Saturday, October 1 | Fishers
Join Jamie Ford at the Fishers Library for an author talk followed by a Q&A session and book signing to conclude this year’s Books Build Bridges experience. Two sessions will be offered—1:00pm and 4:00pm. A virtual option will be available at 1:00pm. Registration is requested for the in-person events and required for the virtual option.