FDL Reads 'Wingshooters' in October

In 1974, 9-year-old Michelle LeBeau arrives in fictional Deerhorn, Wisc., to live with her father’s parents. She’s the daughter of a white American father and a Japanese mother. The townspeople – especially her classmates – are not accepting. But grandfather Charlie LeBeau dotes on the youngster, whom he calls “Mikey.” He shares with her his love of the Wisconsin countryside, and she idolizes the former minor league ballplayer and expert hunter.

It’s through Mikey’s innocent eyes that the readers of Wingshooters watch as the community and her grandparents react when an African American couple takes residence.

Reminiscent of To Kill a Mockingbird, Nina Revoyr’s novel explores racism, bullying, conflicting loyalties and the strength of family ties. Revoyr blends these serious themes with a genuine sweetness between Mikey and Charlie and the healing power of the natural world. The themes and setting of Wingshooters were integral to its selection as the Fond du Lac Reads book for October 2012.

Fond du Lac Reads is an annual program that encourages the community to read the same book at the same time. Programs built around the themes of the book demonstrate the value of reading and foster community by providing a forum for public discussion and interaction.

Wingshooters is Revoyr’s fourth novel. Published in March 2011, it was one of Booklist’s Books of the Year for 2011, was chosen as an O: Oprah Magazine's “Book to Watch For” and has won an Indie Booksellers Choice Award and the Midwest Booksellers Choice Award. Publishers Weekly described it as “remarkable ... an accomplished story of family and the dangers of complacency in the face of questionable justice.”

Revoyr, who was raised in Japan, Wisconsin and California, will visit Fond du Lac for a special event, An Evening with Nina Revoyr at 7 p.m. Monday, October 22, at UW-Fond du Lac. Co-hosted by the library and UW-Fond du Lac, Revoyr will speak, read from her book and answer questions in the Large Group Instruction Room. Refreshments will be served. The event is free and open to the public. No reservations required.

The discussion with Revoyr will be moderated by UW-Fond du Lac’s Dr. John Short, dean and CEO, professor of Political Science, and Dr. Paisley Harris, associate professor of History and Women’s Studies. Copies of “Wingshooters” will be available for sale and signing.

“We are delighted to promote this great book and to work with UW to bring Nina here in person,” said library Director Jon Mark Bolthouse. “We think the book will be meaningful to readers across generational, racial and ethnic lines. It has
terrific potential to inspire conversations that help us better understand where we have come from and where we need to go.”

Along with Revoyr’s appearance, the library is hosting a range of programs on the themes in the book, to engage readers of all ages:

Book Spine Poetry Contest: Talking About Tolerance: “Write” a poem about tolerance using the words on the spines of books, movies or CDs at the library and put it on display. On October 26, members of the Foot of the Lake Poetry Collective will award first, second and third prizes for the entries that best convey the theme in the most-creative way. All entries will be uploaded to Flickr for everyone to see. Display and entry forms are located near the Help Desk in the Main Library.

Books Between Bites: 12:10 p.m. Tuesday, October 9, at Salem United Methodist Church. Lori Garbisch will lead a review and discussion of “Wingshooters.” Coffee and soda available; bring a sack lunch to the basement of the Fellowship Hall at the church, 120 Sheboygan St. Free. For more information, call the church at (920) 921-8605.

Duck Decoys for Hunting & Display: 6:30 pm Wednesday, October 10, at the library. Lifelong hunter Charles Ahner of Fond du Lac will show how he starts with blocks of basswood or pine (for decorative) or foam (for working) to create beautiful decoys. Ahner will bring many samples, as well as the tools he uses to create his decoys. Free. No registration required.

Wild Birds of Prey: 7 pm Thursday, Oct 18, at the library. An introduction to Wisconsin's hawks and owls, featuring live birds and mounted specimens presented by Barbara Harvey of Mayville. Free. No registration required.

Crafternoon: Collaged Journal: 1-3 pm Saturday, October 20, at the library. Create a unique hand-made journal with a collage cover in this fun program lead by noted local collage artist Mel Kolstad. All materials provided, including papers and artwork that echo the themes in “Wingshooters.” For adults and teens; space is limited. Free. Registration opens October 6 at www.fdlpl.org/calendar or by calling (920) 322-3929.

Not One of Us: The Psychology of Prejudice: 6 p.m. Tuesday, October 23, at the library. Local psychologist Dr. Matt Doll will present information and discuss the psychological nature of racism, intolerance, bullying and conflicting loyalties in a program suitable for parents and middle-school-aged and older children. Doll will explore how grownups can help their children understand and deal with problems they face when among friends and at school. Free. No registration required.

The library has chosen its selection for Fond du Lac Reads 2013: Thunder Dog: The True Story of a Blind Man, His Guide Dog, and the Triumph of Trust, by Michael Hingson.


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