It’s said that a community is defined by a common narrative. A group of people, diverse in some ways, centers on a story and owns it. But who gets to pick that narrative, and how does it grow with us? What parts of ourselves do we bring to the shared narrative, and how does each individual deepen the story with their own presence?
For parents, the question gets more complex. Which narratives do we allow into our home and into the mind of our child? Should these always, necessarily be the same narratives as our own Introducing stories and characters to our kids can elicit a range of emotions from fear to joy and excitement. It is an opportunity and a responsibility.
The Little Read Lakeshore steps into this place of introducing stories to children and communities. Broad partnerships from schools and libraries to artists and the outdoors center on one narrative each fall. And we are better for it. We each bring our unique offerings to the conversation and we each leave with what was meant for us at that time.
The increasing interest that our local organizations show is proof that books are a goldmine for building community. Though we pick one book, one plot, one setting; one story is never just one story. Is it? The impact of books is generative. Especially when we read in community.
Like the people in our communities that help raise and influence our kids, the books we welcome into their childhood are influential. The characters and pictures become a part of their world. For many of us, books are the first or only way we can see new parts of the world.
Whether it’s watching a story told through dance or playing with live chickens in the library — a good book will come alive and it will give and give.
These days, no matter where I go, I hear more people longing for a sense of true connection. This intimidating yet primal need we all feel is undeniable. Community is risky and yet what is life without others around us? Families in Holland have a chance every fall to embrace a story and meet with neighbors over the shared themes. On behalf of The Little Read Lakeshore team, I invite you to connect with us and read along with us. Our program starts next week! Read the story, bring a friend, soak in the pleasure of art and imagination with your kids. You won’t regret it.
— Taylor Norris lives in Holland with her husband and three kids. She loves being a good neighbor and a lifelong learner. Her professional experience includes journalism and ministry.


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