Community Read returns to Port Townsend for March

Leader News Staff
Posted 3/8/23

Community Read is back in March, with this year’s book “Braiding Sweetgrass for Young Adults” by Robin Wall Kimmerer.

The Port Townsend Public Library, organizer of Community …

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Community Read returns to Port Townsend for March


Community Read is back in March, with this year’s book “Braiding Sweetgrass for Young Adults” by Robin Wall Kimmerer.

The Port Townsend Public Library, organizer of Community Read, selected the text to honor Indigenous wisdom and foster strong ecological understanding. The book appeals to teens and adults to promote intergenerational discussions and connections, according to the library.

“I read the original in 2020; it’s such a healing book and it left a lasting impression on me, and Smith’s adaptation has made the lessons from the original still more accessible to all readers and I love her adaption even more,” said Library Director Melody Sky Weaver.

The text was adapted for young adults by Monique Gray Smith, with illustrations by Nicole Neidhardt.

Smith is set to deliver an in-person author talk Tuesday, March 28.

“The book gives us hope about the teachings of plants, while also honoring Indigenous wisdom without cultural appropriation,” Weaver said. “We have a great month of programs planned with community partners. I hope this book will inspire deep gratitude in each reader.”

Drawing from her experiences as an Indigenous scientist and botanist, Kimmerer demonstrates how all living things —from strawberries and witch hazel to water lilies and lichen — provide humans with gifts and lessons every day in her bestselling book,  “Braiding Sweetgrass.”

This new edition, adapted for young adults by Smith, reinforces how wider ecological understanding stems from listening to the earth’s oldest teachers, the plants around us.

With informative sidebars, reflection questions, and art from illustrator Neidhardt,  the book brings Indigenous wisdom, scientific knowledge, and the lessons of plant life to a new generation.

“I am profoundly grateful that Port Townsend has chosen ‘Braiding Sweetgrass for Young Adults’ as their book for 2023 Community Read,” Smith said. “What an extraordinary month of activities you have planned, and I very much look forward to joining you all on March  28 at the Northwest Maritime Center.”


Smith  is an award-winning, bestselling author, and professional consultant. She has written eight books including  “Speaking our Truth: A Journey of Reconciliation,”  “My Heart Fills with Happiness,”  “You Hold Me Up,”  “Lucy and Lola,”  “Tilly: A Story of Hope and Resilience,” and  “When We Are Kind.”

Smith’s most recent novel,  “Tilly and the Crazy Eights,” was long listed for Canada Reads 2021. Smith is Cree, Lakota, and Scottish and lives in British Columbia, Canada with her teenage twins.

Kimmerer  is a mother, scientist, decorated professor, and enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation.

Her first book,  “Gathering Moss,” was awarded the John Burroughs Medal for outstanding nature writing. Her writings have appeared in  Orion,  Whole Terrain, and numerous scientific journals.

She lives in Syracuse, New York, where she is a State University of New York Distinguished Teaching Professor of Environmental Biology and the founder and director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment.

Neidhardt is a Diné (Navajo) artist of Kiiya’áanii clan. She received her master’s of fine arts from OCAD University in Toronto, Ontario, and a bachelor of fine arts with a business minor from the University of Victoria, Canada.

Neidhardt is the cofounder of the Innovative Young Indigenous Leaders Symposium, alongside Gina Mowatt, and is the cofounder of Groundswell Climate Collective, a group that is fighting the climate crisis through resiliency and artwork. She currently resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico.


An exciting month of free programs and events will correspond with the Community Read, with many local organizations getting involved.

Some of the events are Northwind Art Presents: Seeds Are Postcards from the Land – a Community Art Project at the library (March 1 to March 31); Native Peoples of the Olympic Peninsula Education Trunk from the Jefferson County Historical Society at the library (March 1 to March 31); StoryWalk – When We Are Kind – for Kids and Their Families at Kah Tai Lagoon (March 1 to March 31); and many more activities.

To see the full list, go to


The book is available for checkout at the library, and extra copies will be available free to the public at the library and in the community. Many copies of the book will be available to the Port Townsend School District and community, thanks to the Port Townsend Public Library Foundation.

Community members are encouraged to pass around their finished copies to be read and reread. Both books are also available for purchase at Imprint Bookstore as well.

The library’s Community Read is designed to promote closer ties among community members through the shared experience of reading, sharing, and discussing ideas and topics generated by the books.

The city of Port Townsend proclaims March as its official Reading Month. A full webpage of Community Read information can be found at