Illustration by Laurence Schwinger 

“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

  Supporting Community Thro​ugh Reading

​​​​​​​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.

This year, the VYCR invites 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. We invite you to join the conversation on Virginia Read Day. (Details below.)

The VYCR is also taking inspiration from NPR's  The Moth Radio Hour and are encouraging readers to write their own stories, or help an elderly community member record a memory from childhood. Please feel free to share these stories on our Facebook Page

As events and activities for VYCR 2017 take shape, we will update this page. Please check back soon for more information, or join our Facebook Group. In the meantime, sharpen those pencils, dust off your tape recorders, or download an app and get ready to join us this year for a very special Virginia Yerxa Community Read!



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 is reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, and will be discussing the book at their meeting on Wednesday, March 29th. Everyone is welcome. 

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

My Sunday Lobotomy.  Galentine will address 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 will be 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 may find new perspective, become their own teacher, and discover their own narrative in this unique workshop given by Barclay Braden, PhD, author, and founder of Depth Journaling.  This is an experiential, exploratory event--participants are 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 has 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 will culminate in the actual planting of a tree.  All are welcome.

Saturday, April 29, 2017, Virginia Read Day

"The Need to Read"

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

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 will discuss "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  
​Enjoy traditional Irish music while you continue 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 will be traveling to Colusa for Virginia Read 2017. 

Colusa's newest mobile restaurant Blue Collar Food Company will be at this event! 


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