Giant Reading Program to bring NYT best-selling author to Marion

Publish Date: 02/11/2020

Marion Community Schools is partnering with Marion Public Library, Indiana Wesleyan University, and several other community partners to bring New York Times best-selling author Kimberly Brubaker Bradley to Marion in March as part of the Giant Reading Program. 

The Giant Reading Program, begun by Kari Persinger at Justice Intermediate School this year, centered on a single book selection that participants read: Bradley’s The War That Saved My Life. Fifth- and sixth-graders at Justice all read the book, a historical children’s novel about a girl who was born with a clubfoot, and her struggles during the World War II era. Also reading along were various education classes at IWU, book study groups at MPL, and a few community leaders as well. 

The War That Saved My Life

During a special week in March, Bradley, who is originally from the Fort Wayne area, will be speaking to Justice Intermediate students during a couple school days, and will also be attending a special event at MPL that is open to the community. There will also be several other events related to the story told in the book. Here’s a look at the events:

Tea at the Hostess House
723 W. Fourth St., 2 p.m. March 14. 
This will be an elegant tea including scones, finger sandwiches, fruit, desserts, and more. There will be a brief presentation on proper etiquette. Cost is $5 per person; seating is limited, and students get first priority. Reservations with payment are due by March 6 and should be sent to Kari Persinger at Justice Intermediate School. (Email with questions.)

World War II Photography Exhibit & author talk with Kayleen Reusser
Marion Public Library, 600 S. Washington St.
5:30 to 7 p.m. March 16
Reusser is from the Bluffton area and she has captured the stories of more than 200 WWII veterans over the last few years. She will give a talk about this experience and the books in which she has shared these stories. There will also be photos from the era on display. Refreshments will be served. This event is open to the public, and no RSVP is needed. 

Victory Garden Experience
Boys and Girls Club, 3402 S. Meridian St.
5:30 to 7 p.m. March 17
Enjoy a hands-on activity with the Purdue Master Gardeners, and much more. Refreshments will be served. This event is open to the public, and no RSVP is needed.

Escape Room and more
Goodman Hall, Indiana Wesleyan University, 4201 S. Washington St.
5:30 to 7 p.m. March 18
With the assistance of IWU faculty and students, events will include an escape room where students need to solve clues to escape, plus various learning stations related to the story and historical era in which Bradley set her novel. Refreshments will be served. This event is open to the public, and no RSVP is needed.

Meet the author: Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Marion Public Library, 600 S. Washington St.
5:30 to 7 p.m. March 19
In addition to hearing from Bradley, you will be able to purchase books and get the author’s autograph. Refreshments will be served. This event is open to the public, and no RSVP is needed.

This special week of events is made possible through the partnership with MPL and IWU, along with sponsorship from Round Robin Bingo, Central Indiana Ethanol, Marion High School Alumni Association, Atlas Foundry, Comfort Suites, and through a grant award from First Books the United Way of Grant County was able to purchase the books for the reading program.

We hope you will consider reading The War That Saved My Life and add these special events to your calendar! This is an amazing opportunity right here in Marion.

We hope to make the Giant Reading Program an annual community event. If you are interested in getting involved as a sponsor or in any other way, contact Kari Persinger at Justice Intermediate, or ask for information at Marion Public Library.

More about the author:

Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

I was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in 1967. I loved to read — I was the sort of kid who would skip recess to go talk with my school librarian — but I didn’t know any writers, and I didn’t think it was the sort of job I could have. I loved chemistry, too, and I majored in chemistry in college. I was lucky, though, to go to Smith, a liberal arts school where I was encouraged to learn everything that interested me, and I took lots of writing classes, and, fortunately, a class on children’s literature taught by none other than Newbery medalist Patricia MacLachlan. She and Jane Yolen, who ran a writer’s group nearby, encouraged my very early (and very bad!) efforts.

I married my high-school sweetheart and we both started medical school. I dropped out after six weeks, which was an excellent decision even though it took a lot of courage at the time. I realized I really wanted to be a writer. My husband stayed in medical school — another excellent decision — and for awhile I worked as a research chemist and wrote stories late at night and on weekends. By the time I was pregnant with our son I was getting enough freelance and ghostwriting jobs that I could quit being a chemist. A few years later, my husband finished his training to become an eye surgeon, and we moved so he could join a practice in Bristol, Tennessee. I was pregnant with my second child, our daughter, and my first book, Ruthie’s Gift, was under contract. It was a pretty exciting time.

Now my children are mostly grown. My husband and I are still in Bristol, where we live on a 52-acre farm with an assortment of horses, a dog, and way too many cats. We love to travel, and I especially love learning about history from all over the world. My most recent book, The War I Finally Won, is my seventeenth published book. I am so
grateful that I get to spend my life doing what I love to do.

I use she/her/hers pronouns.

>> Read Kim’s blog here!