Ithaca Reads Toni Morrison

About the Ithaca Reads Toni Morrison Project

In celebration of the 30th anniversary of her Nobel Prize in Literature the Toni Morrison Collective is partnering with the Ithaca church of which she was a neighbor seventy years ago, to give away free copies of two of her works and hold public Book Talks to engage Tompkins County readers with her writing. Through a Community Celebrations grant to Calvary Baptist Church from the Tompkins County Tourism program, the project Ithaca Reads Toni Morrison is celebrating Morrison’s 1993 Nobel Prize by giving away one hundred copies of the author’s posthumously published short story “Recitatif” and one hundred copies of the illustrated children’s book “Who’s Got Game: The Ant or the Grasshopper,” co-authored by Morrison and her son Slade.

Community collaborators

The success of this project is due, in large measure, to the collaboration of other community partners: Omicron Nu Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Buffalo Street Books, New Roots School, Tompkins County Public Library, and Enfield Community Center, as well as numerous individual community volunteers serving as Book Talk facilitators or Story Reading readers.

Book Giveaway and Public Events

A total of ten public events—four on the children’s book and six, including a virtual event, on “Recitatif”—are being held over the first three weeks of December at several venues in Tompkins County. (See full schedule below.) For two of the scheduled Book Talk events some of the free copies of the short story “Recitatif” will be given away in advance to enable attendees to engage in the conversation at the event. For the “Recitatif” Book Talks at Tompkins County Public Library and at Buffalo Street Books twenty-five copies of the book will be given out in advance—on a first come, first served basis—at each of these two locations. (See schedule)

Further Distribution of the Books and Public Events

The remainder of the project’s copies of “Recitatif” are being given to Calvary Baptist Church, Enfield Community Center, and New Roots School, who will distribute them among their constituents and will also hold public events around this book. (See schedule)

The copies of the children’s book “Who’s Got Game: The Ant or the Grasshopper?” are destined for the elementary schools in Ithaca, in parcels of ten, to be given to individual pupils or utilized otherwise at the discretion of the schools’ administrators. Single copies are also being given to the libraries of the other elementary schools in Tompkins County. However, in order to share the book with public audiences before it’s delivered to the schools, “The Ant or the Grasshopper” will be on hand for participants at four public Story Reading events. (See schedule)

Complementary Feature of the Nobel Anniversary Celebration

Complementing the gifts of copies of “Recitatif” and “Who’s Got Game: The Ant or the Grasshopper?” and the related public events generated from the Community Celebrations grant, the Toni Morrison Collective is enhancing Tompkins County’s celebration of her Nobel Prize anniversary by donating fifteen copies of her children’s anthology, “A Toni Morrison Treasury” to afterschool programs in the County. Members of the Collective and collaborating Cornell students will present the books and read from them with the children at the afterschool programs around the time of the author’s birthday, February 18th.