Aimee NezhukumatathilMorrisson-Reeves Library awarded funds to host a ‘World of Wonders’ communitywide read

Morrisson-Reeves Library and Cope Environmental Center are partnering to be part of the statewide One State / One Story: World of Wonders program

RICHMOND, INDIANA – Morrisson-Reeves Library (MRL) and Cope Environmental Center (CEC) partnered in a project celebrating reading and nature and have been awarded a Community Read grant of $750 from Indiana Humanities to participate in a statewide read of Aimee Nezhukumatathil’s World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments. Wayne County and other communities throughout Indiana will be reading the book as part of One State / One Story: World of Wonders.  Read more about it on the library’s website. 

World of Wonders Book Cover ArtBetween the two organizations, they will host seven community programs tied to the book during 2022, including a book discussion, storytime, nature writing workshop, unearthing lecture, art projects, and a nature hike. They will also receive 30 books and assorted materials like bookmarks and posters to promote the programs.

Nezhukumatathil’s collection of short essays explores the wonders of nature which defy easy depiction. She takes us through her past experiences and shares guidance she’s received from our world’s fierce and funny creatures. The axolotl teaches us to smile, even in the face of unkindness; the touch-me-not plant shows us how to shake off unwanted advances; the narwhal demonstrates how to survive in hostile environments. Even in the strange and the unlovely, Nezhukumatathil finds beauty and kinship. For it is this way with wonder: it requires that we are curious enough to look past the distractions in order to fully appreciate the world’s gifts. These lessons are further supplemented by beautiful illustrations by Fumi Mini Nakamura throughout the book.

“We are excited to have selected ‘World of Wonders’ for our third One State / One Story,” said Keira Amstutz, president, and CEO of Indiana Humanities. “We think Nezhukumatathil’s beautiful and thought-provoking essays will spark conversations among Hoosiers about our natural world and our place in it.

Beth Harrick, MRL’s Program Specialist says, “Morrisson-Reeves Library is proud to feature programs examining our relationship to nature. I believe our community will appreciate how World of Wonders explores linkages between our social lives, aspects of identity–like race and gender–and the larger, natural world around us.”

Stephanie McCurdy, CEC’s Program Coordinator adds, “At the Cope Environmental Center, we strive to connect people with nature and inspire a love of all life on Earth.  The World of Wonders is beautifully written and encourages readers to explore their relationship with the natural world.  CEC is excited to partner with MRL to bring this book to life through exciting programs and activities.”

Activities Surrounding the Project

More details found at MRLinfo.org/wonders/

February 9, 5:30 pm, Virtual Event | Read-alike for younger readers at MRL

March 16 at 11:00 am: In-Person Book Club at MRL
Pick up a free copy of the book at the library in Information Services.

March 17 at 6:00 pm: Virtual Book Club offered through Zoom
Pick up a free copy of the book at the library in Information Services.
Zoom | Meeting ID: 849 3712 1578    Passcode: 169216

April 12, 6:30-7:30 pm at Cope Environmental Center
Earlham Professor, Scott Hess | Topic Unearthed

Youth Climate Action Team at MRL (Date TBA)

May 3, 6:00 pm, at Cope Environmental Center
Nature Writing Workshop (Travis Poling)

June/July | Art-making Activity (Date TBA)

August 20, 10 am at Cope Environmental Center
Naturalist-led hike

One State / One Story: World of Wonders is an initiative designed by Indiana Humanities, in partnership with the Indiana State Library and Indiana Center for the Book, to encourage Hoosiers to read and engage deeply with a book as part of a statewide conversation tied to Indiana Humanities’ current theme.


About Indiana Humanities
Indiana Humanities connects people, opens minds, and enriches lives by creating and facilitating programs that encourage Hoosiers to think, read and talk. Indiana Humanities is funded in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities and Lilly Endowment, Inc. Learn more at www.indianahumanities.org.

About Indiana Center for the Book
The Indiana Center for the Book is a program of the Indiana State Library and an affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. It promotes interest in reading, writing, literacy, libraries, and Indiana’s literary heritage by sponsoring events and serving as an information resource at the state and local levels. Learn more at www.in.gov/library/icb.htm.

About Indiana State Library
The Indiana State Library serves Indiana residents with a variety of needs including; genealogy, Indiana history, preservation, rare books and manuscripts, reference and government services, Talking Books and Braille library, as well as the State Data Center. The State Library also leads and supports the greater Indiana library community and is a magnificent limestone building to visit. Learn more at: www.in.gov/library/index.htm.