​​​​​​​A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

by Betty Smith                                       (Scroll down for EVENTS)

Betty Smith's A Tree Grows in Brooklyn gives the reader a vivid picture of life in the tenements of Brooklyn during the beginning of the last century when America was on the brink of war and immigrants were struggling to make their lives in a new country. Smith writes with such detail that A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is not simply entertaining, it is educational. It was an immediate best seller when first published in 1943, and one of the most popular Armed Services Editions sent to soldiers during World War II. 

In 2017, the VYCR invited readers to consider how books, reading, and the local library--things that were central to Francie Nolan's world--have changed in this past century. 

The VYCR also took inspiration from NPR's  The Moth Radio Hour and encouraged readers to sharpen those pencils, dust off their tape recorders, or download an app and join us this year for a very special Virginia Yerxa Community Read!  
All events and activities for VYCR 2017 are listed below.



Wednesday, March 29, 2017 

Friends of the Library Book Club Meeting

6:30 pm, Morse Conference Room, Colusa County Library

The Friends of the Library Book Club read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, and discussed the book at their meeting on Wednesday, March 29th.  All are welcome to this community book club. 

Monday, April 17, 2017
"Putting Pen to Paper"
7 to 8 p.m., The Tap Room Patio, 121 8th Street, Colusa  
Native son Mark Galentine recounted the process that begat his self-published memoir of tubing down the Sacramento River with friends entitled 

My Sunday Lobotomy.  Galentine addressed what nudged him to write, and how he went from merely reminiscing about his weekend reveries as a "Colusa Floater" to publishing his story.   Refreshments and Galentine's book were available for purchase.

Saturday, April 22, 2017
Depth Journaling Workshop​ 
10:00 to Noon, Colusa County Library, Morse Conference Room
Shift your pen, shift your consciousness with this new tool for journal keeping. Writers of all levels were led to find new perspective, become their own teacher, and discover their own narrative in this unique workshop that was given by Barclay Braden, PhD, author, and founder of Depth Journaling.  For this experiential, exploratory event, participants were encouraged to bring their own journal/paper and pen.

"A Tree Grows in Colusa:  Urban Reforestation"

2:00 to 4:00, A.B. Davison Park, 10th Street between

Webster and Parkhill

The Colusa Garden Club invited Ray Tretheway, Executive Director of the Sacramento Tree Foundation since 1990, to speak to interested citizens about the need for maintaining or replanting our urban forest.  Colusa is known for its trees; the afternoon culminated in the actual planting of a tree.  All were welcome.

Saturday, April 29, 2017, Virginia Read Day

"The Need to Read"

​2:00 to 4:00 pm, Colusa County Library 

The public was invited to join us for video clips from the documentary “Out of Print,” and a discussion about the need to read, led by special guests from our community: Colusa librarian Stacey Zwald Costello, CUSD Superintendent Dwayne Newman, and CUSD Director of Technology Jeremy Miller.   Each panelist discussed "the need to read" in this age of technology, and how reading has (or has not) changed since Francie Nolan's time.


 "The Pub Scouts"

4:00 to 6:00 pm, The Tap Room at ColUSA Made, 121 8th Street  
​Participants enjoyed traditional Irish music while they continued the conversation at Colusa's new tap room and wine bar! The Pub Scouts have long been a local favorite and a staple at Duffy's Tavern in downtown Chico every Friday night, and they traveled to Colusa for Virginia Read 2017. 

Colusa's newest mobile restaurant Blue Collar Food Company was also at this event! 


Thanks to generous donations from our community, Virginia Read events are free of charge.  


“It doesn't take long to write things of which you know nothing. When you write of actual things, it takes longer, because you have to live them first.” 

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Betty Smith

Illustration by Laurence Schwinger 

  Supporting Community Thro​ugh Reading