Nevada County Reads & Writes 2021

The Nevada County Community Library and the Nevada County Superintendent of Schools presents Nevada County Reads and Writes, 2021.  The project, developed in 2005, is designed to deepen engagement in literature through reading and discussion. Everyone in the community can participate: read a book, share perspectives, attend a program, engage on social media and build a stronger community together.  #nevadacountyreadsandwrites2021

Nevada County Reads and Writes 2021 Presents


The Round House Book with red coverThe Round House is a winner in the National Book Award for fiction.  One of the most revered novelists of our time—a brilliant chronicler of Native-American life—Louise Erdrich returns to the territory of her bestselling, Pulitzer Prize finalist The Plague of Doves with The Round House, transporting readers to the Ojibwe reservation in North Dakota. It is an exquisitely told story of a boy on the cusp of manhood who seeks justice and understanding in the wake of a terrible crime that upends and forever transforms his family.

Riveting and suspenseful, arguably the most accessible novel to date from the creator of Love Medicine, The Beet Queen, and The Bingo Palace, Erdrich’s The Round House is a page-turning masterpiece of literary fiction—at once a powerful coming-of-age story, a mystery, and a tender, moving novel of family, history, and culture.  



Suggested Read-Alike Selections


#NotYourPrincess by Lisa Charleyboy (Editor) and Mary Beth Leatherdale (Editor)

Native americanwoman #notyourprincess book

The voices in these stories defy the common stereotype of the Native American woman as a docile tribal princess.  The books provides a platform that allows Indigenous women to express their stories through poetry, colorful art, photos, short stories and traditional song.  The hashtag in the title is intentional, reminding readers that Native American women are a significant presence in the digital age.


'ani'to'opek btym payom by Shelly Covert (Author) and Sheri J. Tatsch (Illustrator and Linguist)

Children's Nisenan Picture Book 

A Nisenan Children's picture book created by local author Shelly Covert and illustrator Sheri Tatsch.

Calendar of Events

Art Walk & Welcoming

February 8th – 13th 2021

Walk around town and enjoy art inspired by themes from The Round House by Louise Erdrich, including original art submitted by local high school students for the Teen Art Contest in the Fall 2020 semester, poetry, and short film! On Saturday February 13th at 1pm, join Shelly Covert from the California Heritage Indigenous Research Project (CHIRP) live online in her welcoming address as she inspires our county to look towards our own local history and talk about the work of CHIRP and the Nisenan tribe.

NCRW Art Walk map Opens in new windowClick here to print

Finale – Native Voice

March 27th 2021 1:00 – 3:00 pm

Shelly Covert, Spokesperson for the Nevada City Rancheria Nisenan Tribe, Tribal Council member, and Executive Director for the California Heritage: Indigenous Research Project, or CHIRP, will facilitate this finale event featuring speaker Suzan Shown Harjo, President of The Morning Star Institute.  Poet, writer, lecturer and policy advocate, who has helped Native Peoples protect sacred places and recover more than one million acres of land.

Join our Book Discussions on The Round House:

February 10—Bookworms Adult Book Club
February 11—Wine & Read Book Club Online
February 16—Just Books Book Club Online
February 25—Penn Valley Page Turners Online
March 2– Diverse Perspectives Book Club Online
March 19—Forever Young Book Club Online

Special Teen Book Club: Join this February 17 guided workshop and discussion about #NotYourPrincess: Voices of Native American Women, edited by Charleyboy and Leatherdale, with special guest Joy Molaro, licensed professional clinical counselor with training in expressive arts therapy. We'll share our sketchbooks and any other creative works inspired by the book. Leave with more inspiration for your art book as well as more insight into diverse voices, stories, and experiences. 

Story Walks

Three picture books with Native stories will be featured in the different towns in the county.

Use this printable translation and pronunciation guide to follow along with the pages of the story. 


Bo yebe tej pronunciation guide Opens in new window

Bo’yebe tej

Use this printable translation and pronunciation guide to follow along with the pages of the story. 

ANI’TO’O’PEK BETEYIM PAIYOM: Voice of the Nisenan
Grass Valley: February 1—21
Nevada City: February 22—March 14

Home to Medicine Mountain
Nevada City: February 1—20
Grass Valley: March 15—April 2

Bo’yebe tej

Grass Valley: February 22--March 15

Nevada City: March 15—April 2

Writing Workshop Series

Three local writers will guide participants through a series of small virtual group activities on creative writing around themes from The Round House on February 22, March 8, and March 22.

Using Art to support Mental Health and Foster Resiliency:

Grab a bag of art supplies from your local branch and join us in a virtual series on the role of art in mental health on February 19, February 26 and March 5.

Nisenan Tours
Three virtual tours will be held about different locations around Nevada County that are significant to the Nisenan with talks from representatives of the Nisenan and local Historical Societies on February 16, February 23, and March 2.

Nisenan Cultural Programs
With support from local Nisenan groups, these three virtual programs will focus on the history and culture of one of our local tribes on March 9, March 16, and March 23rd.

Red Scarves Project
Local knitters and newbies alike from Nevada County and surrounding communities are invited to pick up a grab bag kit and knit red scarves to raise awareness for area women's shelters and advocacy groups.

February 18—Grass Valley
February 24—Bear River
March 4—Doris Foley
March 4—Penn Valley
March 18—Truckee
March 25—Madelyn Helling

Community Conversations
Three virtual programs with help from representatives from Color Me Human will be held to give the community a safe space to discuss 

February 15—Racism 
March 1—Power 
March 15—Equity

Film Series
Six screenings of movies that relate to the themes in The Round House to be held virtually

February 18—Tribal Justice
February 25—Young Lakota
March 4—Barking Water
March 11—Language Healers & Ishi's Return
March 18—Rhymes for Young Ghouls
March 25—Nevada City Film Festival Nisenan Project

Thank you to the following organizations for supporting this county-wide program. Nevada County Reads & Writes is funded in part by the NEA Big Read, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. Special thanks to the Nevada County Arts Council and California Heritage: Indigenous Research Project (CHIRP) for their support.  

National Endowment for the ARts Big Read Logo
NC Arts Council Logo
SC Superintendent of SChools
Books to Action
FOL Logo

Previous Year's Selections

  1. 2020
  2. 2019
  3. 2018
  4. 2017
  5. 2016

StationEleven book

Stations Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time—from the actor's early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theater troupe known as The Travelling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains—this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor's first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet. Sometimes terrifying, sometimes tender, Station Eleven tells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame, and the beauty of the world as we know it."

“[An] ambitious take on a post-apocalyptic world where some strive to preserve art, culture and kindness ... Think of Cormac McCarthy seesawing with Joan Didion ... Mandel spins a satisfying web of coincidence and kismet ... Magnetic ... a breakout novel. "
- Kirkus (starred) 

“A unique departure from which to examine civilization's wreckage ... [a] wild fusion of celebrity gossip and grim future ... Mandel's examination of the connections between individuals with disparate destinies makes a case for the worth of even a single life. "

  1. 2015
  2. 2014
  3. 2013
  4. 2012
  5. 2011

Trash by Andy Mulligan

Trash by Andy Mulligan

Three young teens, trash-picker living in the city dump of an unnamed  third-world country, discover a mysterious bag one morning, triggering a chain of events that will change their lives forever. Raphael, Gordo,  and Rat take turns nar-rating the story of how they uncover a network of political corruption and abuse of the poor. Each puzzle the boys solve  leads to yet a new riddle for them to work out. The chase leads them  throughout the city, exposing the great disparity be-tween the “haves”  and the “have nots,” and the huge injustice this represents. Several  run-ins with the police make it clear that getting caught means death  for the three boys.

“Trash is a compelling read. The action is riveting and the secret codes throughout will appeal mystery fans” - School Library Journal, starred review

“This gripping book engages readers both as an adventure and as a social  justice story. Readers will be satisfied by the cinematic conclusion and the noble decision the heroes make.” - Publishers Weekly, starred review

"The three boys, and others, act as alternating narrators of the story,  giving vivid descriptions of their lives. In spite of this, the boys’  hope and determination for justice and the dilemmas they face with so  much courage will impress readers. Recommended." - Library Media Connection

  1. 2010
  2. 2009
  3. 2008
  4. 2007
  5. 2006
  6. 2005

Snow Falling on Cedars

Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson

San Piedro, a small island in the Pacific Northwest, is home to salmon fishermen and strawberry farmers. It is also home to many Japanese-Americans. Snow Falling on Cedars opens in Judge Lew Fielding's courtroom as the trial of one of these Japanese-Americans, Kabuo Miyamoto, who is on trial for killing fellow fisherman Carl Heine, Jr., commences.

First-novelist Guterson presents a multilayered courtroom drama set in the aftermath of the internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII. -- Publishers Weekly

"Haunting. . . . A whodunit complete with courtroom maneuvering and surprising turns of evidence and at the same time a mystery, something altogether richer and deeper." -- Los Angeles Times