Freeport, Illinois — The One Book, One Freeport 2017 selection is Gloryland, written by Shelton Johnson. Free books will be distributed on February 4 and 11 at the Freeport Public Library, courtesy of the Freeport Public Library Foundation.
The One Book, One Freeport committee has arranged to host for a full day of speaking engagements on March 9, 2017. Mr. Johnson will give an education program to various grades at the Freeport School District, and be available for a community-wide presentation on the evening of Thursday, March 9, held at the Boys & Girls Club of Freeport and Stephenson County.
Gloryland begins on Emancipation Day in 1863 with the birth of Elijah Yancy, who is of African American and Native American descent. Unfortunately, newly declared “freedom for all” is not yet a right for Yancy and his family when they face the realities of life. For his own safety, Yancy’s family tells him to leave South Carolina.
Yancy ends up traveling to Nebraska where he joins the United States Army, but becomes disillusioned by his duties when they run afoul of the morals his family taught him. The last section of the book focuses on Yancy’s time posted in Yosemite where his assignment is to protect the National Park against human influences to nature, including the Native American people formerly inhabiting the area. It is in Yosemite where Yancy connects with nature and God and finally understands his place in the world.
Our younger readers will meet another face of the Old West – Deputy U.S. Marshal Bass Reeves, the most feared lawman in Indian territory, who singlehandedly arrested hundreds of outlaws and brought them to trial. Bad News for Outlaws, written by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson and illustrated by R. Gregory Christie, is a multiple-award-winning picture book that tells the story of his life and adventures.
Funding for One Book, One Freeport 2017 is provided by grants from the Freeport Community Foundation, the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois, and the Illinois Humanities Council. Additional funding and in-kind gifts were provided by the Freeport Public Library Foundation, FHN, the Freeport Journal-Standard, and the Lincoln-Douglas Kiwanis.
A variety of events will be scheduled around the community, including living history presentations of Teddy Roosevelt, our 26thPresident; Stephen Mather, founder of the National Park Service; a Wild West Lawman; and a buffalo soldier, presented by Freeport’s own Steve Cole. This year’s series of Lectures on American History will touch on the same themes in Gloryland, and shouldn’t be missed. Our Youth Services Department will hold special story times and movie screenings. Beginning in March, we will screen one episode per week of Ken Burns’ documentary “The National Parks, America’s Best Idea,” featuring Glorylandauthor, Shelton Johnson. In April, one event you won’t want to miss will be given by the Buffalo Troopers Motorcycle Club of Northwestern Illinois.
Join with the Freeport Public Library, Stephenson County Historical Society Museum, Boys and Girls Club of Freeport and Stephenson County, University of Illinois Extension, Highland Community College, The Senior Resource Center, Northwest Illinois Audubon Society, and many other local organizations in celebrating a unique American experience.
Visit the Freeport Public Library’s website and Facebook page for more detailed and up-to-date information. Please join our next One Book, One Freeport community reading experience in March and April of 2017.
The mission of One Book, One Freeport is to encourage a shared reading experience, foster a sense of community, and promote literacy to people of all ages, ethnic backgrounds and economic levels.
Cover photo, edited: Photo of Shelton Johnson: