Featured nonfiction book highlights science and nature.
WAUKESHA — The Waukesha Reads committee jumped at the opportunity to not only offer a book new to the programming, but one that is nonfiction and explores science and nature, said Kori Hall, head of program development & community engagement for the Waukesha Public Library.
“Lab Girl” is a 2016 mem-oir by American geo-chemist, geobiologist, and professor Hope Jahren.
“Lab Girl” is her revelato-ry treatise on plant life —but it is also a celebration of the lifelong curiosity, humility, and passion that drives every scientist. In these pages, Hope takes us back to her Minnesota hildhood, where she spent hours in unfettered play in her father’s college laborato-ry. She tells us how she found a sanctuary in sci-ence, learning to perform lab work ‘with both the heart and the hands,’” reads the book’s synopsis on pen-guinrandomhouse.com.
Waukesha Reads kicks off during the Tribute Tuesday concert in Cutler Park, 321 Wisconsin Ave. Volunteers will hand out free books and program information from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Programming materials will be distributed during Apple Harvest Festival, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 21, at Ret-zer Nature Center.
Programming events run until Nov. 4.
Hall said the NEA Big Read — Waukesha Reads program is partially funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. In order to receive the grant, abook must be chosen from their list of approved titles.
“‘Lab Girl’ was a new addi-tion to their list this year, and we jumped at the chance to be one of the first commu-nities to feature this book in our NEA Big Read,” Hall said. “The last few years, we have been asked about the possibility of doing a nonfic-tion title. So, we decided that this would be the year. ‘Lab Girl’ is a biography, but it’s also about science, nature, relationships, and about finding your place in life. Also, the themes from this book allowed us to create a diverse variety of programs that the whole family can enjoy. Working with our Waukesha Reads partners, we have planned events focusing on the environ-ment, mental health, citizen science, cultural heritage, trees, conservation dogs, and much more.”
Hall said the Waukesha Public Library is excited this year to host the Wiscon-sin Historical Society’s trav-eling exhibit, Wisconsin’s John Muir, which will be on display from Oct. 1 to Oct. 30. The library part-nered with the Horwitz-Deremer Jahren Planetarium at Retzer Nature Center for a free pre-sentation and correspond-ing planetarium show, fea-turing Marquette Universi-ty’s Karen Andeen and her work at the South Pole’s Ice-Cube Neutrino Observatory.
“You also won’t want to miss the Wisconsin Journey Tour, an immersive experi-ence at Old World Wisconsin that helps you step into the shoes of a Scandinavian immigrant in Wisconsin,” Hall said.
Some of this year’s pro-gramming highlights, Hall said, are nationally known speakers coming to Wauke-sha, including Michelle Thaller, director of Science for Communications at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, and a Wauke-sha native. She will speak at the Waukesha Civic Theatre on Oct. 30. Other speakers include Emily Graslie, the star of YouTube’s The Brain Scoop Channel, and the chief curiosity correspon-dent for Chicago’s Field Museum, coming to speak at Carroll University.
“Everybody will take something different away from Waukesha Reads. We just want everyone to enjoy the book, to explore the vari-ety of programs and resources offered by our partner organizations, and to feel an increased under-standing of people and their relationship with nature,” Hall said.
Free books and event cal-endars are available at Waukesha Public Library, 321 Wisconsin Ave., while supplies last. For more information, go to Wauke-shaReads.org or the Wauke-sha Reads Facebook page.