Kosciusko Literacy Services Announces the Book Selection for the 2019 Plant the Seed, Read Community Book Read!:
Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya
Kosciusko Literacy Services is pleased to announce the book for the upcoming Plant the Seed, Read! Community Book Read as Bless Me, Ultima.  Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya was first published in 1972.   His semi-autobiographical, coming-of-age novel is one of the most critically acclaimed Chicano novels.  [Chicano refers to a person born in the United States of Mexican origin or descent and is considered a synonym of Mexican-American.]  Set in rural New Mexico in the 1940s, the novel tells the story of a boy learning to navigate the changing American landscape during World War II.  In his diverse community of farmers, priests, cowboys, and soldiers, the boy comes to terms with the cultural, religious, and ethical contradictions with the help of an elderly curandera or spiritual healer.  Like his protagonist, author Rudolfo Anaya was raised in a New Mexico community heavily influenced by Catholicism and spiritual healers.  His father was a vaquero or cowboy, and his three older brothers served in the war.

Bless Me, Ultima embraces myths from New Mexican cultures.  Myths, magic, and miracles in the story are taken from Spanish and Catholic traditions in addition to the native peoples who lived in New Mexico long before the United States was formed.  The survival of these myths from various cultures testifies to New Mexico’s multicultural heritage, borne out of long struggles among disparate peoples who fought for centuries over land, religion, and sovereignty.  (Source:  National Endowment for the Arts: The Big Read; https://www.arts.gov/national-initiatives/nea-big-read)

The Read-Alike portion of the book read includes Matilda and The BFG by Roald Dahl and ties the selections to the production of Matilda at the Wagon Wheel Theatre.  The mystical themes are in both the adult selection and the third grade selections.  The Read-Alike portion of Plant the Seed, Read! focuses on third grade students because these children are transitioning from learning to read to reading to learn.

Third grade classrooms in the county are offered a copy of Matilda and The BFG by Roald Dahl.  Each third grade student in Kosciusko County is offered a copy of The BFG Gloriumptious Journal.  To participate, schools need to provide the number of students in each classroom.  Students who did not receive a copy through their school may contact Kosciusko Literacy Services.

See kcread.org for additional information.  Plant the Seed, Read! is funded by Kosciusko Literacy Services and a generous grant from the Kosciusko County Community Foundation. 

Kosciusko Literacy Services

Kosciusko Literacy Services fosters literacy and provides literacy programming for Kosciusko County residents from birth to senior citizens.  The mission is to increase the literacy levels of all citizens of the community by implementing innovative and comprehensive programs using a collaborative effort from the community; increasing public awareness of literacy issues facing adults, children, and families; and providing trained volunteer tutors for the adult students.  Kosciusko Literacy Services is a         501 (c) (3) nonprofit as defined by the IRS and a United Way of Kosciusko County partner agency.  United Way partially funds two of the agency’s other programs, Read to Grow Children's Book Club and One-on-One Tutoring for Adults.

Kosciusko County Community Foundation

By bringing caring people and charitable endeavors together, Kosciusko County Community Foundation makes donor dreams shine for the good of the community.  The Foundation achieves its mission by serving as the vehicle for donors’ charitable dreams and awarding grants to charitable projects and organizations and addressing community needs as a catalyst and convener.