BLOOMINGTON -- The Bloomington and Normal Public Libraries are again teaming up for their annual community reading program, A Tale for Two Cities. "Outcasts United: An American Town, A Refugee Team, and One Woman's Quest to Make a Difference" by Warren St. John is the book selected for 2010.
The book is about a soccer program for refugee boys (Fugees) in an Atlanta, Ga., suburb. Readers come to understand the plight of people fleeing war-torn areas of the world and the equally devastating adjustments the refugees must make to adapt to a foreign culture once they are placed abroad.
St. John is a New York Times reporter who lived among the Fugees and their coach, Luma Mufleh, throughout the 2006 season. He published three New York Times articles about the Fugees as he conducted his research. The book also was excerpted in Sports Illustrated and has been optioned for a movie.
St. John will speak and sign copies of his book at the Marriott Hotel & Conference Center in uptown Normal at 7 p.m. April 12.
Additionally, the following refugee-related programs are planned during March and April at the two libraries:
• 1:30 p.m. Saturday - "Bend it Like Beckham" movie to be shown in the BPL Community Room.
• 1:30 p.m. March 27 - "The Cup" movie (subtitled) to be shown in the BPL Community Room.
• 2 p.m. March 28 - Normal Community High School teacher Kelly Keogh will speak about refugees and the conflicts they encounter both in their homelands and as they attempt to assimilate to our culture; NPL Community Room.
• 6 p.m. March 30 - "God Grew Tired of Us: The Lost Boys of Sudan" movie to be shown in the BPL Community Room. A presentation by Peter Magai Bul and Maketh Bul Mabior, two of the "lost boys" who live in the Chicago area, will follow. The pair also will speak at 4 p.m. in Beckman Auditorium at Ames Library at Illinois Wesleyan University about the building of Pongborong Primary School in Sudan.
• 1:30 p.m. April 3 - "Kicking It" movie shown in the NPL Community Room.
• 6:30 p.m. April 6 - Library staff lead discussion of "Outcasts United"; BPL Community Room
• 7 p.m. April 8 - Learn about fair trade, a social movement that aims to help producers in developing countries and promote sustainability via Crossroads Global Handcrafts in downtown Bloomington. Items from the shop will be on hand for this event in the BPL Community Room.
• 1:30 p.m. April 10 - "War Dance" movie shown in the NPL Community Room.
• 2 p.m. April 17 - Even in the world's poorest villages it is common to see players kicking balls fashioned from plastic bags and twine. Visiting IWU professor Olukayode "Ky" Ajayi will explore the relationship between Africans and soccer and share his experiences on an all-African soccer team in the Bloomington-Normal City Soccer League; in the NPL Community Room.
• 7 p.m. April 29 - Folklorist and storyteller Margaret Read MacDonald will lead a story time that includes sharing joyful folktales from the world's many cultures at the BPL.
A Tale for Two Cities is an annual community reading program co-hosted by the Bloomington and Normal Public Libraries. It's designed to encourage residents of the Twin Cities to read and discuss the same book. Copies of "Outcasts United" are available at the libraries.