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Welcome to Castro Valley Reads! This community-wide literary event asks our residents to read and discuss the same book. In addition to discussion groups, the program includes special events inspired by the themes in the book and a visit from the author.

Castro Valley Reads celebrates reading and books and builds community through a thoughtful exchange of ideas.

Please join us!

The 2019 Book:

A Backpack, A Bear, and Eight Crates of Vodka by Lev Golinkin

In the twilight of the Cold War, nine-year-old Lev Golinkin and his family cross the Soviet border with only ten suitcases, six hundred dollars, and the vague promise of help waiting in Vienna. Years later, Lev, now an American adult, sets out to retrace his family’s long trek to locate and thank the strangers who fought for his freedom.

Golinkin’s intercontinental immigration story is a thrilling tale of escape and survival and a deeply personal look at the life of a Jewish child caught in the last gasp of the Soviet Union. Written with acerbic wit and emotional honesty, Golinkin’s story speaks of overcoming the power of hatred and searching for acceptance and belonging.

Free copies of the book are available while supplies last at the Castro Valley Information Desk.

We are having six discussions groups. Click on the date to register: Sunday, February 24, 2 pm; Saturday, March 9, 10:30 am; Tuesday, March 12, 1 pm; Tuesday, March 19, 6:30 pm; Monday, March 25, 6:30 pm; Saturday, April 6, 2 pm.

Castro Valley Reads is made possible by the generous support of the Friends of the Castro Valley Library.

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