Centre County Reads shows a lot of heart

BELLEFONTE — This year’s Centre County Reads selection is “Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist,” and the Centre County Reads Kick-off event on Saturday will be showing a lot of heart.

Centre County Library and Historical Museum hosts the kick-off event, which is a Knit-A-Thon that will help warm the community. Visitors can join area knitting clubs to make scarves for Housing Transition, Inc. Materials are provided, and all ages and experience levels are welcome. The event is from noon to 3 p.m. A finger knitting class for tweens and teens will be held at 1 p.m.

Knitting and other fiber crafts have a long history with activism for social change. They have been used in the U.S., Canada, and England to warm heads of newborns, the homeless, and the elderly. Knitting has been used prominently in recent protest movements, including women’s marches and fighting racial injustice.

This event is just the first of several scheduled events for this year’s Centre County Reads program.

“Your Heart is a Muscle The Size of a Fist” is the acclaimed debut novel written by State High and Penn State alum Sunil Yapa, who will visit March 21 at Freeman Auditorium in the HUB-Robeson Cultural Center. Yapa’s novel weaves the story of the 1999 Seattle World Trade Organization protests through a variety of perspectives.

Book discussion groups will meet throughout February and March at various locations. Also, on Tuesday, Feb. 27, a roundtable discussion on “What is Activist Literature?” will be held from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. in Paterno Library’s Main Assembly Room.

The Center for American Literary Studies and the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts are sponsoring The Art of Protest Writing and Art Contests. For complete rules and information on how to enter, visit centrecountyreads.org.

Centre County Reads started in 2003 with “To Kill a Mockingbird.” The project encourages county residents of all ages to explore the human condition and community issues by reading and discussing the same book. Past selections include “A Walk in the Woods,” “The Book Thief,” “Beautiful Ruins” and last year’s “Under a Painted Sky.” Centre County Reads coordinators are the Center for American Literary Studies, Centre County Library and Historical Museum, Pennsylvania Center for the Book, Schlow Centre Region Library, and the school districts of State College, Philipsburg-Osceola, Penns Valley, and Bellefonte. Partners for 2018 are Barnes & Noble, Schlow Library Foundation, and the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts.

For more information on Sunil Yapa’s visit, other events, and Centre County Reads, visit centrecountyreads.org.