Q&A: New Canaan Library on ‘One Book New Canaan’ Selections 


L-R: New Canaan Library's Christle Chumney and Cheryl Capitani. Credit: Michael Dinan

Since launching the town-wide reading project “One Book New Canaan” here five years ago, New Canaan Library has had scores of locals not only reading the same books but also participating in a wide variety of programs built around them.

This year, aided by a committee, the library selected “Spare Parts” by Joshua Davis for its adult One Book New Canaan reading selection, and added a children’s selection, too (see below). We put some questions about this year’s books and programming to library Manager of Public Services Christle Chumney and Manager of Services to Families Cheryl Capitani. 

Here’s our exchange.

New Canaanite: “Spare Parts” is a work of nonfiction that touches on some timely topics. What should locals know about this book?

Christle Chumney: “Spare Parts” is a quintessential underdog story, in terms of personal achievements, and in achieving the American Dream. No one had ever suggested to Oscar, Cristian, Luis, or Lorenzo that they might amount to much—but two inspiring science teachers convinced these impoverished, undocumented kids from the desert who had never even seen the ocean that they should try to build an underwater robot and enter a prestigious robotics competition. And build a robot they did. With limited resources and ingenuity in high supply, these four Phoenix teenagers built their robot out of scavenged parts and against all odds, won the competition against the likes of MIT students. Joshua Davis’s “Spare Parts” is a story about overcoming insurmountable odds and four young men who proved they were among the most patriotic and talented Americans in this country—even as the country tried to kick them out.

How many copies of the book did library staffers hand out at the train station Tuesday morning?

Christle: We gave away over 100 copies of “Spare Parts” to commuters.

Give us three highlights of the programming that New Canaan Library has built around One Book New Canaan this year. Any chance of getting the author?

Christle: In addition to Joshua Davis’ appearance on March 18, we will celebrate the themes of this book with programs such as Combat Robotics by the Fairfield County Maker’s Guild; live music and dance performance by Calpulli Mexican Dance Company; Marine ROV with Manifold Robotics; and, the Art of Post Revolution Mexico with Artscapades.

New this year is a children’s selection for One Book New Canaan, Peter Brown’s “The Wild Robot.” What made the library decide to expand the project? (And did you set this up purposely so that parents and their kids are both reading about robots?) 

Cheryl Capitani: Since New Canaan is such a family-oriented town, we decided that to truly have a community read, we needed to include our whole population of readers and have a children’s book with a thematic tie-in to our adult selection. The Wild Robot is such a perfect choice – its themes not only include robotics, but also facing challenges as an outsider and learning to adapt to new environments. We’re so excited to be hosting author and illustrator Peter Brown on March 21 and 22. This selection has also given us a great opportunity for several collaborations with local organizations, including New Canaan Nature Center, the public elementary schools, St. Luke’s School, and of course Elm Street Books.

2 thoughts on “Q&A: New Canaan Library on ‘One Book New Canaan’ Selections 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *