How does a child who seems to have no future find a way to succeed?
Author Steve Pemberton describes how he did it in A Chance in the World, this year’s selection for Indiana University East’s “One Book, Many Voices” project.
Pemberton will visit IU East on Tuesday, October 25, to discuss his book. The presentation begins at 7 p.m. in Vivian Auditorium, located in Whitewater Hall.
The event is free and open to the public. Free tickets to hear Pemberton are available at http://onebook2016.eventbrite.com.
Now in its fifth annual year at IU East, the “One Book, Many Voices” mission is to foster a campus and community discussion about themes and ideas inspired by a common text in an effort to develop camaraderie, inform knowledge, and inspire action towards positive civic engagement and improvement.
Pemberton, now the father of three and chief diversity officer for Walgreens Inc., grew up in an abusive foster home, desperate to escape and to find his real family. His story is one of perseverance, hard work, and – appropriately for the project – the power of books.
“My secret weapon was I loved to read,” Pemberton said in an interview on the Steve Harvey Show available on YouTube. “Reading gave me a vision and expectations that were different from all the labels that were put on me.”
IU East students, faculty and staff each can receive a copy of A Chance in the World. The focus of “One Book, Many Voices” is to foster discussion based on the common text.
“It opens the lines of communication between all the different entities on campus,” said Reading Specialist Lee Ann Adams, who is co-teaching a freshman seminar with Chancellor Kathryn Cruz-Uribe. Adams expects Pemberton’s book to resonate with students.
“He is a person who has been through trials and come out on the other side,” Adams said. “His resolution and determination are inspirational.”
Adjunct Instructor Ted Leahey plans to use the book for an exercise in his speech class. In the exercise, students will select a short passage from the book to present to their classmates aloud.
“I know that after students read it, many of those stories will last throughout their lifetime,” Leahey said.
“One Book, Many Voices” coordinator and Library Director Frances Yates said the goal is to have the book used in as many classes as possible. The themes and content are relevant to multiple courses, such as nursing, social work, psychology, and education, she said.
The high point of the project will be Pemberton’s visit to the IU East campus for a presentation and book signing on Oct. 25.
Also in the Whitewater lobby on Oct. 25, there will be an Empty Bowls lunch to raise awareness of hunger in the community from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Beginning at 5 p.m., there will be a display of student research inspired by A Chance in the World and a community resource fair focused on children. IU East’s Student Government Association (SGA) and other student groups will collect stuffed animals and other items for JACY House, Richmond’s Justice and Advocacy Center for Youth that helps victims of suspected child abuse. See the wish list at jacyhouse.org.
Pemberton will also be available for book signings from 6:15-6:45 p.m. and 8-9 p.m.
The Oct. 25 event, Yates stressed, is open to the public.
Copies of A Chance in the World are available at Morrisson-Reeves Library in Richmond, as well as Centerville-Center Township, Hagerstown and Union County public libraries. Morrisson-Reeves plans a book discussion at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 19.
To inquire about getting copies of the book for community discussion, contact Frances Yates at email@example.com.