In Awe of Appleton

Now I have a better fix on what they’ve been doing here.

WOW.

The community of Appleton, WI has set the gold standard for a “one book, one community” program. As I learn more and more about it, I am absolutely flabbergasted. They took SPEAK and decided that they wanted everybody to read it. Everybody. The program was spearheaded by the library (of course!). They got the Mayor on board, the police department, the schools, the education foundation. Book clubs read the book. Senior citizens in nursing homes read the book. Countless teens and parents read it. People talked about it in church groups. In car pools. Over coffee. Tee-shirts and lawn signs (lawn signs!) were made promoting the project. Everyone wore buttons. There was a billboard. Strangers talked to each other about it in grocery stores and in lines at the bank.

Is this just about the coolest thing that has happened to me? Yep, you betcha.

But this is way, way, way larger than SPEAK. To me, the real significance of all of this is that in America, in 2005, a Mid-Western community came together – all ages, all facets of society – to talk about a contemporary YA story. I think this is so, so, so amazing.

*pauses for stunned contemplation*

My role here is a minor one, but I’m having a blast. Image hosted by TinyPic.com Visited Einstein Middle School this morning

Image hosted by TinyPic.comand Appleton East High School this afternoon. These are random East students, dressed sort of… I wasn’t quite sure what they were dressed as… but they looked good. All the kids there were fun.

Tomorrow is set up the same way: Little Chute and Madison Middle Schools in the day, another community presentation at the Appleton Public Library at 7pm.

*goes back to Awe of Appleton*

Just imagine what the world would be like if people in all communities talked about books all the time….

66 Replies to “In Awe of Appleton”

  1. Very cool. Salt Lake City started a citywide book club last year – everyone has 6 months to read each book. There’s a little article about it here which is interesting for a few reasons: http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,600122345,00.html

    We haven’t had the kind of publicity you describe, though. No lawn signs or buttons that I know of. Definitely no T-shirts. Still, it’s a pretty nifty concept. I wonder how many other communities are doing this…

  2. Very cool. Salt Lake City started a citywide book club last year – everyone has 6 months to read each book. There’s a little article about it here which is interesting for a few reasons: http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,600122345,00.html

    We haven’t had the kind of publicity you describe, though. No lawn signs or buttons that I know of. Definitely no T-shirts. Still, it’s a pretty nifty concept. I wonder how many other communities are doing this…

  3. Very cool. Salt Lake City started a citywide book club last year – everyone has 6 months to read each book. There’s a little article about it here which is interesting for a few reasons: http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,600122345,00.html

    We haven’t had the kind of publicity you describe, though. No lawn signs or buttons that I know of. Definitely no T-shirts. Still, it’s a pretty nifty concept. I wonder how many other communities are doing this…

  4. I think the part that strikes me as the MOST amazing is that the entire community has heard the message of Speak. The importance of communicating and truly connecting with each other cannot be forgotten!

    Awesome that Speak was chosen, wonderful that *you* are the author, but incredible that the heart of Speak is now in Appleton’s hearts…

  5. I think the part that strikes me as the MOST amazing is that the entire community has heard the message of Speak. The importance of communicating and truly connecting with each other cannot be forgotten!

    Awesome that Speak was chosen, wonderful that *you* are the author, but incredible that the heart of Speak is now in Appleton’s hearts…

  6. I think the part that strikes me as the MOST amazing is that the entire community has heard the message of Speak. The importance of communicating and truly connecting with each other cannot be forgotten!

    Awesome that Speak was chosen, wonderful that *you* are the author, but incredible that the heart of Speak is now in Appleton’s hearts…

  7. *does a cheer for Laurie* YAY! I got a whole class to read your book when we did book clubs in our LA class last year. My book report was on Speak and the teacher liked my report so much she had us read it as a class! How awesome is that?!
    Congrats… I suddenly want to visit Appleton ^_^

  8. *does a cheer for Laurie* YAY! I got a whole class to read your book when we did book clubs in our LA class last year. My book report was on Speak and the teacher liked my report so much she had us read it as a class! How awesome is that?!
    Congrats… I suddenly want to visit Appleton ^_^

  9. *does a cheer for Laurie* YAY! I got a whole class to read your book when we did book clubs in our LA class last year. My book report was on Speak and the teacher liked my report so much she had us read it as a class! How awesome is that?!
    Congrats… I suddenly want to visit Appleton ^_^

  10. That is amazing…

    we are doing a similar thing here in NYC. I oversee a program for seniors, and they are also reading SPEAK and we will be having an intergenerational discussion with teens (who have also read the book) on the topic. This is being done with many senior centers across NYC.

    The power of words, both written and spoken, in bringing people together, cannot be underestimated!

  11. That is amazing…

    we are doing a similar thing here in NYC. I oversee a program for seniors, and they are also reading SPEAK and we will be having an intergenerational discussion with teens (who have also read the book) on the topic. This is being done with many senior centers across NYC.

    The power of words, both written and spoken, in bringing people together, cannot be underestimated!

  12. That is amazing…

    we are doing a similar thing here in NYC. I oversee a program for seniors, and they are also reading SPEAK and we will be having an intergenerational discussion with teens (who have also read the book) on the topic. This is being done with many senior centers across NYC.

    The power of words, both written and spoken, in bringing people together, cannot be underestimated!

  13. Incredible!

    I’ve heard of many city read programs, but nothing like Appleton’s! How fantastic! And, as so many others have said, how great that Speak’s message is getting out. Also, I’m stunned because the book is, what, five or six years old? That says something!

    Is the Appleton program still going on?

    kellye

  14. Incredible!

    I’ve heard of many city read programs, but nothing like Appleton’s! How fantastic! And, as so many others have said, how great that Speak’s message is getting out. Also, I’m stunned because the book is, what, five or six years old? That says something!

    Is the Appleton program still going on?

    kellye

    1. Re: Incredible!

      This has been going on for a couple of months already. I think the program officially ends now. And yes, the book was published in 1999.

  15. Incredible!

    I’ve heard of many city read programs, but nothing like Appleton’s! How fantastic! And, as so many others have said, how great that Speak’s message is getting out. Also, I’m stunned because the book is, what, five or six years old? That says something!

    Is the Appleton program still going on?

    kellye

  16. I want Speak here!

    Our library is planning our next “one book, one community” project (we just finished a town-wide read of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time) and I’m campaigning for Speak. So, thanks for the link. I’m hoping to use the fact that Appleton has been successful as part of my argument for Speak. I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

  17. I want Speak here!

    Our library is planning our next “one book, one community” project (we just finished a town-wide read of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time) and I’m campaigning for Speak. So, thanks for the link. I’m hoping to use the fact that Appleton has been successful as part of my argument for Speak. I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

    1. Re: I want Speak here!

      I’m sure if you contact the folks at the Appleton Public library, they’d be happy to give you feedback and information about the project. I really hope they’ll write up the experience for a library journal and maybe to a panel presentation or workshop at a regional library conference or ALA.

  18. I want Speak here!

    Our library is planning our next “one book, one community” project (we just finished a town-wide read of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time) and I’m campaigning for Speak. So, thanks for the link. I’m hoping to use the fact that Appleton has been successful as part of my argument for Speak. I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

  19. Appleton

    I saw your presentation @ Appleton East yesterday and it was really well done. I was impressed with everything you said and how you said it. I heard other students talking in the hallways after the presentation and they thoroughly enjoyed it as well. Thanks a ton for coming to our school!

  20. Appleton

    I saw your presentation @ Appleton East yesterday and it was really well done. I was impressed with everything you said and how you said it. I heard other students talking in the hallways after the presentation and they thoroughly enjoyed it as well. Thanks a ton for coming to our school!

  21. Appleton

    I saw your presentation @ Appleton East yesterday and it was really well done. I was impressed with everything you said and how you said it. I heard other students talking in the hallways after the presentation and they thoroughly enjoyed it as well. Thanks a ton for coming to our school!

  22. Re: I want Speak here!

    I’m sure if you contact the folks at the Appleton Public library, they’d be happy to give you feedback and information about the project. I really hope they’ll write up the experience for a library journal and maybe to a panel presentation or workshop at a regional library conference or ALA.

  23. Re: I want Speak here!

    I’m sure if you contact the folks at the Appleton Public library, they’d be happy to give you feedback and information about the project. I really hope they’ll write up the experience for a library journal and maybe to a panel presentation or workshop at a regional library conference or ALA.

  24. Wow!

    Wow, EVERYONE talked about your book? That’s so awesome. Just think about it. Everyone likes your creativity and thought; you write with your very own hands and mind, and people are loving what’s coming out with them.

    And if everyone talked about books all the time… the world would be a very interesting place to be in and listen to. Of course, though, not everyone likes to read. But it’s a nice thought that everyone sounds smart, hahaha.

  25. Wow!

    Wow, EVERYONE talked about your book? That’s so awesome. Just think about it. Everyone likes your creativity and thought; you write with your very own hands and mind, and people are loving what’s coming out with them.

    And if everyone talked about books all the time… the world would be a very interesting place to be in and listen to. Of course, though, not everyone likes to read. But it’s a nice thought that everyone sounds smart, hahaha.

  26. Wow!

    Wow, EVERYONE talked about your book? That’s so awesome. Just think about it. Everyone likes your creativity and thought; you write with your very own hands and mind, and people are loving what’s coming out with them.

    And if everyone talked about books all the time… the world would be a very interesting place to be in and listen to. Of course, though, not everyone likes to read. But it’s a nice thought that everyone sounds smart, hahaha.

  27. Congratulations on the community book project! That’s way cool. And I have to agree with their choice; Speak is without a doubt one of the best modern books I’ve read.

  28. Congratulations on the community book project! That’s way cool. And I have to agree with their choice; Speak is without a doubt one of the best modern books I’ve read.

  29. Congratulations on the community book project! That’s way cool. And I have to agree with their choice; Speak is without a doubt one of the best modern books I’ve read.

  30. Re: Incredible!

    This has been going on for a couple of months already. I think the program officially ends now. And yes, the book was published in 1999.

  31. Re: Incredible!

    This has been going on for a couple of months already. I think the program officially ends now. And yes, the book was published in 1999.

  32. Yeah, your writer’s workshop was GREAT!! I learned a lot. Like, how I have to not be perfect during the 1st draft. Your desc of the mental critic…EXACTLY ME. Glad to know I’m not the only psycho author in this country. ^_^;

    And, since you told me to post this here, I shall…

    I came up with a SUPER FUN method to just expend some creativity when you don’t really feel like writing anything in particular. ((Actually, it was inspired by a friend. Works great for creating roleplay characters, too.)) Write down multiple physical traits on little pieces of paper and put them in a hat/bag/whatever. Then do the same thing, except write down personality details (quirks, family, friends, etc.). Flip a coin to determine gender (heads=male, tails=female), then draw 5 pieces of paper out of each bag. Create a character based on what you get, and write a short story about them!! It’s FUN! So TRY IT!! ^_^

    Thanks again for coming to Appleton!!! Speak rawks!!
    ~Andrea~

  33. Yeah, your writer’s workshop was GREAT!! I learned a lot. Like, how I have to not be perfect during the 1st draft. Your desc of the mental critic…EXACTLY ME. Glad to know I’m not the only psycho author in this country. ^_^;

    And, since you told me to post this here, I shall…

    I came up with a SUPER FUN method to just expend some creativity when you don’t really feel like writing anything in particular. ((Actually, it was inspired by a friend. Works great for creating roleplay characters, too.)) Write down multiple physical traits on little pieces of paper and put them in a hat/bag/whatever. Then do the same thing, except write down personality details (quirks, family, friends, etc.). Flip a coin to determine gender (heads=male, tails=female), then draw 5 pieces of paper out of each bag. Create a character based on what you get, and write a short story about them!! It’s FUN! So TRY IT!! ^_^

    Thanks again for coming to Appleton!!! Speak rawks!!
    ~Andrea~

  34. Yeah, your writer’s workshop was GREAT!! I learned a lot. Like, how I have to not be perfect during the 1st draft. Your desc of the mental critic…EXACTLY ME. Glad to know I’m not the only psycho author in this country. ^_^;

    And, since you told me to post this here, I shall…

    I came up with a SUPER FUN method to just expend some creativity when you don’t really feel like writing anything in particular. ((Actually, it was inspired by a friend. Works great for creating roleplay characters, too.)) Write down multiple physical traits on little pieces of paper and put them in a hat/bag/whatever. Then do the same thing, except write down personality details (quirks, family, friends, etc.). Flip a coin to determine gender (heads=male, tails=female), then draw 5 pieces of paper out of each bag. Create a character based on what you get, and write a short story about them!! It’s FUN! So TRY IT!! ^_^

    Thanks again for coming to Appleton!!! Speak rawks!!
    ~Andrea~

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