The Neighborhood Association Council is hoping to create the biggest book club Wauwatosa has seen with its All-City Read.
After contacting local book clubs and neighborhood associations, the NAC is planning a series of talks, presentations and online forums surrounding two books: "Rocket Boys" and "Hollow Earth." They hope to get 25 percent of Tosans on board, which would mean more than 11,000 people.
The NAC launched the All-City Read by announcing the two books at Sept. 14's Chili'n on the Avenue event on North Avenue last weekend. The NAC also drew white rockets up and down North Avenue in chalk, some of which can still be seen, to promote their choice of "Rocket Boys."
Both books were chosen by a group of English teachers, college professors, book clubbers and other book lovers. They cut down the suggestions from 60 to two. "Rocket Boys" is a memoir of how Homer Hickan Jr., a man born of humble beginnings in West Virginia who later became a NASA engineer.
"Rocket Boys" was later turned into the movie "October Sky." "October Sky" was released in 1999 and is an anagram of "Rocket Boys."
While nothing is set in stone, the NAC hopes to have Hickam visit Wauwatosa for a discussion and book signing.
The NAC began the All-City Read in an effort to get more people involved in the neighborhood associations as well as to get more people to read during the winter. If the event goes as planned, this will be the first in a series.
"We already are a city of readers, but we tried to take a book that would appeal to a bigger audience and had good themes and topics," NAC President Robin Luthor said. "We try to cover the whole family spectrum and have something for everybody."
While "Rocket Boys" was chosen for adults, "Hollow Earth" was chosen for younger readers. The story, penned by local author Carole Barrowman and her brother, John Barrowman, features twins who have superpowers. They're not able to fly like Superman and don't have telepathic sea communication powers like Aquaman, but they have a superpower common in all children.
Their power is in bringing their imaginations to life.
The twins can animate paintings, many of which are references to real-life artwork. Georges Seurat, Vincent van Gogh and Salvador Dali are referenced in the book.
The idea for the twin's powers came when Carole and John Barrowman were on a three-hour road trip promoting another book in England. The two discussed their favorite superpowers, and by the time they were done with their road trip, the trilogy had been completely outlined.
For Carole Barrowman, writing the book has brought her and her brother closer than ever. "The cool thing is that we both trust each other in a way that's really interesting," she said. "We trust each other to honor the story we created."
Carole Barrowman is a professor of English and director of creative studies in writing at Alverno College and has developed a lesson plan to go along with "Hollow Earth." She has children draw beasts with their own powers and personalities, and has offered to conduct the lesson plan at any Wauwatosa middle school for free.
John Barrowman may also show up for a book discussion. He has it on his schedule, but his acting career makes it difficult to know if he will be able to make an appearance. He's played Captain Jack Harkness in television's "Dr. Who" and "Torchwood."
The NAC hopes book discussions will begin in January. The library has ordered extra copies of both books, which also can be purchased at a discount at The Little Read Book.
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