An event at Walnut Beach Saturday will celebrate reading and rowing.

The Milford Public Library’s One City, One Story will kick off at Walnut Beach on Saturday, April 2, from 1 to 4 p.m.

This year’s initiative to encourage residents to read and share one book focuses on the book The Boys in the Boat. The kick-off event invites canoers, kayakers and rowers to bring their vessels to the beach and join a community row.

Those who don’t row are invited to pack a lunch, bring a book and join organizers on the beach to celebrate community reading.

Olympic-themed arts and crafts for children will be available under the pavilion.

The Boys in the Boat is a non-fiction title written by Daniel James Brown. The story profiles the eight-oared crew team that represented the United States in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, and narrowly beat out Italy and Germany to win the Gold Medal. However, the book is much more than a sports story, according to One City, One Story committee members. It is a story of perseverance, hard work and overcoming difficulties.

All team members came of age during the Great Depression and the book profiles these sons of loggers, shipyard workers and farmers who enthralled the country during one of its darkest periods.

At the heart of the story is Joe Rantz, a teenager without family or prospects, who rows not only to regain his shattered self-regard but also to find a real place for himself in the world.

The first year of Milford’s community read project focused on the book Wonder, a work of fiction by R.J. Palacio, about August Pullman, who was born with a face different than most who learns to accept himself as others around him learn to focus on the person, and not his face.

The novel follows August as he leaves a homeschool setting to go to school, where he hopes to be treated as an ordinary kid.

Milford Public Schools Spokesman Kathy Bonetti and Library Director Christine Angeli came up with the idea to organize a community read. They were working together on a community project for the city’s 375th anniversary when they started talking about a community-wide book group.

The rain date for the community row is Sunday, April 3.

More information can be found at milfordlibrary.org.