‘Power of Kindness, Resilience, Hope’
2022 campaign aims to further unite community through reading.
Silicon Valley Reads has selected memoirs by Valarie Kaur, top left, Richard Lui and Reyna Grande for this year’s featured books epitomizing the theme of “The Power of Kindness, Resilience and Hope.” Silicon Valley Reads kicks off Jan. 27 and features a combination of in-person and virtual events.
Each summer, Silicon Valley Reads convenes a group of librarians and avid readers to identify books and talk through current topics appropriate for a theme for the event, which takes place January-March of the following year. This group pores through hundreds of books, and dozens of theme ideas, trying to anticipate the right fit for the community at the right time.
In 2021, the theme for Silicon Valley Reads was “Connecting,” addressing the uncertainty of a continuing pandemic and the need for people to connect.
As topics and books were explored for the 2022 season, there was a common feeling that the community is still longing for connection. After months of reading, discussing and working with the advisory board and co-chairs, the theme was born: The Power of Kindness, Resilience and Hope. This theme became even more appropriate as the holidays passed and Omicron presented even more challenges to already difficult times.
It is clear that people are in need of extra kindness and compassion. As a community, we are extremely resilient, especially when we work together. And hope is keeping us going and will get us through.
Three memoirs epitomizing the theme were selected. Each author provides a unique perspective and offers hope for our collective future.
“See No Stranger” by Valarie Kaur is part memoir, part practical guide to changing the world. Kaur, renowned Sikh activist, filmmaker and civil rights lawyer, shares her story and declares Revolutionary Love as the call of our times: a radical, joyful practice that extends to others, to ourselves and to our opponents. This selection contains adult themes.
In “Enough About Me,” Richard Lui chronicles his decision to leave his dream job as an NBC News/MSNBC anchor to help care for his ailing father in San Francisco. He realized that this selfless act had a positive overall impact on his well-being. He decided to dig deep into exploring acts of compassion from the lens of a reporter.
“A Dream Called Home” by Reyna Grande is an engaging story of an immigrant’s border crossing at age 9 and how she made her way to UC Santa Cruz. Grande’s story enlightens readers to the challenges so many confront in making a home in America.
The virtual kickoff event on Jan. 27 at 6:30 p.m. will feature all three featured authors in a conversation moderated by Sal Pizarro from the Mercury News and hosted by the Commonwealth Club of Silicon Valley.
For young readers, Silicon Valley Reads selected four books in keeping with the theme: The Big Umbrella by Amy June Bates (pre-K- K), The Girl in the Gold Dress by Christine Paik (grades 1-3), SHINE! by JJ and Chris Grabenstein (grades 4-8),and Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorrum (high school). Schools and libraries will be hosting virtual visits from three of these authors.
All events for Silicon Valley Reads are free and open to the entire community. Events for 2022 will be a combination of in-person and virtual. Among the former events is a March 30 screening of Lui’s movie, “Sky Blossom: Diaries of the Next Greatest Generation,” at 3Below Theaters in downtown San Jose. The screening will be followed by a discussion with Lui, who directed the film.
On Feb. 23, 6-7 p.m., the Cambrian Branch Library is hosting a discussion of “The Authenticity Project” by Clare Pooley. The novel is a recommended fiction read for adults.
The Willow Glen Branch Library is hosting two discussions for teens to learn about ways to be involved in the community, do community service, and make the world a better place. The first is March 16, 5-6 p.m.; the second is March 25, 4-5 p.m.
Residents are invited to the Willow Glen Library on Feb 4, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., to pick up materials to make a kindness tree. Makers can watch a YouTube video and learn how to add leaves about acts of kindness to their trees.
Readers in grades 4-8 can create a creativity board March 22, 3:304:30 p.m., at the Rose Garden Branch Library. The craft activity ties in with “SHINE!,” the selection for that age group.
Online events include author visits, book discussions, mental and physical health classes, museum tours, tools for parents to read with their children, compassion and resiliency workshops, faith conversations and many children and teen programs.
Community members can register for these events and more at siliconvalleyreads.org/events.
Silicon Valley Reads is presented by the Santa Clara County Office of Education, the Santa Clara County Library District and the San Jose Library.