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Kickoff event for Lake Oswego Reads set for Jan. 7


Free copies of Running the Rift will be distributed

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - 'Running the Rift' by Naomi Benaron is the book selected for the seventh annual Lake Oswego Reads program.The kickoff event to open the seventh annual Lake Oswego Reads program is set for Jan. 7 with distribution of “Running the Rift” by Naomi Benaron.

The Lake Oswego library will be giving away free copies of the book, courtesy of the Friends of the Lake Oswego Library, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Recipients must present a Lake Oswego Public Library card to be eligible for the free book. Attendees can enjoy Rwandan food and tea, hear a presentation about Rwandan tea led by Steven Smith, and browse a selection of authentic Rwandan baskets from the Itafari Foundation.

During the month of February, the library, local schools, businesses and organizations will offer special programs connected with the book. Most events are free.

“Running the Rift” is the story of Jean Patrick Nkuba, a boy with Olympic dreams in the 800-meter race, and his family as they struggle to survive the Hutu-Tutsi conflict in Rwanda. Despite the troubles the characters experience, the novel celebrates love and unity as forces of hope.

Benaron will speak Feb. 20 at 7 p.m. at Lake Oswego High School. This event is open to the public and is for high school students and older. Admission is free but a ticket is required. Tickets will be available at the library starting at 11 a.m. on Jan. 19. It is suggested that those wishing seats arrive early; there is a two-ticket-per-person limit and a Lake Oswego Public Library card is required.

Other Lake Oswego Reads events include:

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Watch Paul Freedman's film, 'Do Scars Ever Fade?' at the Lake Oswego Public Library

  • A presentation Feb. 1 by Carl Wilkens, the only American to stay in Rwanda during the 1990s genocide.

  • A presentation by Lake Oswego resident and Olympian Lopez Lomong, whose own story is similar to the protagonist in “Running the Rift,” except that his story is true and he competed in the Olympics twice.

  • A presentation by Victoria Trabosh of Lake Oswego, who founded Itafari Foundation to help Rwanda and travels there each year.

  • Musician Enric Sifa will perform at the library.

  • Paul Freedman, a Los Angeles filmmaker, will show his film, “Do Scars Ever Fade?”

  • Presentations by three Rwandan exchange students attending Lewis & Clark College. They will share their individual stories.

  • An 8K run to start and end at the library, taking runners through Tryon Creek State Natural Area.

  • A photojournalistic exhibit of the lives of two Rwandan children.