Committee picks book for second annual community read project

Milford's One City One Story Committee has picked its second book for a community read program, The Boys in the Boat.

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, committee members said. 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 author creates an unforgettable portrait of an era, a celebration of a remarkable achievement, and a chronicle of one young man’s extraordinary perseverance in the face of extreme hardship.

For younger readers the committee has chosen titles to continue this year’s theme of perseverance and overcoming obstacles.

Jim Thorpe: Original All-American by Joseph Bruchac, is for readers age 10 and up.

The fictionalized autobiography tells the story of the younger years of the legendary athlete Jim Thorpe. Born on a reservation, he endured family tragedy and was sent to various Native American boarding schools. Thorpe ran away from school many times, until he found his calling under the now-legendary football coach Pop Warner.

Thorpe went on to win gold medals in track and field at the 1912 Olympic Games and later played both professional football and Major League baseball. He has been called one of the greatest athletes who ever lived.

Wilma Unlimited by Kathleen Krull is for readers in preschool through grade 3.

Before Wilma Rudolph was five years old, polio had paralyzed her left leg. Though not expected to walk again, the fiercely determined girl persevered with her leg exercises; by the time she was 12, she no longer needed her steel brace.

Eight years later, Rudolph represented the U.S. in the 1960 Olympics in Rome, where, despite a twisted ankle, she became the first American woman to win three gold medals during a single Olympic competition. The story is illustrated in watercolor and acrylic paintings by Caldecott Medal-winning artist David Diaz

Also, The Boys in the Boat Young Readers’ edition will be available at the library and in bookstores this fall.

The committee, with much community input, selected the titles not just for their quality writing, but for their shared themes of perseverance, hard work and overcoming obstacles, committee members said.

“While all are centered on athletics and sports figures, the rich background and history of the settings of the stories, along with the emotional pull of these truly inspirational lives, will resonate with non-sports lovers as well,” organizers said in an announcement about the program.

For more information, visit the library website, and click the link for One City One Story.