July 3 through August 17, 2024
Door County Reads is in its 16th season of bringing the community together through the exploration of a literary work. Each spring, a library committee made up of community members gathers together to choose a book on which to center the festival. The library makes the volume available in the fall, and Door County gets reading!
The Festival curates a variety of activities surrounding the novel. From book discussions, to author visits, to the exploration of adjacent works with similar themes, the festival brings the community together through one of Door County’s favorite winter activities: reading.
This year’s selection is Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. The library chose to highlight the young adult version of the book in order to expand accessibility to the festival. Braiding Sweetgrass for Young Adults highlights that acknowledging and celebrating our reciprocal relationship with the earth results in a wider, more complete understanding of our place and purpose. (Door County Pulse, Peninsula Pulse – November 22nd, 2023)
“We have five weeks of events this year including theater performances, book discussions, writing workshops and expert lectures,” said Maggie Behme, community relations director for the Door County Library.
This year Door Shakespeare partners with the Door County Community Garden to read stories from the book Seedfolks, by Paul Fleischman. “Seedfolks is about a community garden coming to fruition in Cleveland, Ohio,” shares Door Shakespeare’s producing artistic director, Amy Ensign. “It is a celebration of community, the land, and what can happen when the two come together.” Ensign chose to present selections from the book because it celebrates many of the same themes as Braiding Sweetgrass.
Door Shakespeare’s reading of Seedfolks will be hosted by Drömhus, a cozy gathering place located at 611 Jefferson Street, in Sturgeon Bay. Participants are invited to gather at 6:30 for a social half hour. The reading begins at 7. An open discussion will be offered afterwards led by gardeners from Door County’s own community garden. Participants will learn how to plant a Three Sisters Garden. A question and answer session follows, including steps to getting your own plot in the community garden, and organic gardening tips. A cash bar and snacks are available throughout the evening. Door Shakespeare gratefully accepts donations at the door.
“I plant a Three Sisters Garden every summer,” says Ensign, “but didn’t connect it with the work I do for Door Shakespeare until I read the ‘Three Sisters’ chapter in Braiding Sweetgrass.”
In the book, Robin Wall Kimmerer shares that in a Three Sisters Garden, “Individuality is cherished and nurtured because, for the whole to flourish, each of us has to be strong in who we are and carry our gifts with conviction, so they can be shared with others.”
The chapter spoke to Ensign because Door Shakespeare is currently preparing for their summer production season. “I love gathering a company of unique voices together,” shared Ensign. “Like the corn, beans, and squash in a Three Sisters Garden, ‘The most important thing each of us can know is our unique gift and how to use it in the world.’” (Braiding Sweetgrass)
Door Shakespeare hopes that the evening will give a unique perspective to what Door County’s community garden can do for the county, and encourage participants to try it out.