The Ethnic Heritage Festival at the Grand Rapids Public Museum on January 19 was a huge success! Not only was the 2008 One Book, One County title revealed, but hundreds of people came together to celebrate the cultural diversity of Grand Rapids.
Visitors packed the museum to welcome the opening of the new permanent exhibition, Newcomers: The People of This Place. They enjoyed music, dance, craft demonstrations, food, and ethnic vendors and organizations that represented cultural groups who call West Michigan home.
Visitors also enjoyed a fashion show of folk and traditional clothing and adaptations of traditional clothing. Participants paraded and danced throughout the museum all day, meeting in the museum lobby at noon for a celebration and the announcement of this year’s One Book, One County title.
During the ceremony, Martha Smart, Executive Director of the Kent District Library, revealed the One Book, One County selection: A Free Life by Ha Jin. The novel tells the story of the Wu family as they emigrate from China during the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square massacre and begin a new life in the United States. Following the announcement, the audience was entertained by a traditional Chinese dragon before further exploring the museum, the new exhibition and all the excitement of the ethnic diversity in Grand Rapids.
Pick up a copy of A Free Life at your local KDL branch, and join one of the many book discussions happening throughout the county this winter. Then in April, it’s your chance to meet the author! Join us for a presentation and book signing with Ha Jin on Tuesday, April 1 at 7:00 p.m. at the Fountain Street Church, 24 Fountain Street NE in Grand Rapids.
Visit the One Book, One County website for more information.