Hamilton East Public Library event tackles retelling of classic tales


By Holly Demaree

Hamilton East Public Library will spotlight books of rewritten classic tales with some imaginative flair during its annual Books Build Bridges program Sept. 30.

Sonali Dev

“Books Build Bridges is a community-read program we host each fall,” said Danielle Acton, adult engagement coordinator. “The goal of the program is to build community through shared experience, provide diverse reading opportunities and engage the HEPL community with noted authors.”

This is the fourth consecutive year HEPL will present the program, and it is making some changes.

“This year’s event will feature a panel of three authors rather than three separate author visits, which is something new for us,” Acton said. “For adult readers, the featured book is ‘Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors’ by Sonali Dev. For teen readers, the featured book from our high school collection is ‘Skin of the Sea’ by Natasha Bowen. For children, the featured book is ‘A Wish in the Dark’ by Christina Soontornvat.”

Natasha Bowen

The panel is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Sept. 30 at the FORUM Events Center in Fishers. Registration is required.

“We are expecting our largest audience yet, so this year’s program will be presented off site at the FORUM Events Center,” Acton said. “Each author will have time to present on their featured book and writing journey. Then all three authors will come together in a conversation hosted by local artist and author, Rue Sparks, to discuss retelling classic stories followed by a Q&A session with questions submitted prior to the event by readers.”

The goal of this year’s program theme is to see classic tales from a different perspective. The books are inspired by the classics “Les Misérables,” “The Little Mermaid” and “Pride and Prejudice.”

Utilizing her insights into Indian culture, author Sonali Dev created “Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors.” It describes how Trisha Raje, a neurosurgeon from an Indian American family, navigates love, social class, and family expectations while challenging societal norms. It explores themes of prejudice, identity and romance.

Christina Soontornvat

Natasha Bowen, a “New York Times” bestselling author, wrote “Skin of the Sea,” which follows the journey of Mami Wata, a mermaid, who has broken the rules and sets out to protect herself and the other Mami Wata’s impacted by her actions to defy the gods. It traverses themes of identity, love and sacrifice.

Inspired by Victor Hugo’s “Les Misérables,” Christina Soontornvat created, “A Wish in the Dark,” a Thai-inspired fantasy where two young characters discover the world is not what they believed it would be. It delves into themes of justice, inequality and the power of hope.

“We hope attendees will uncover new takes on well-known stories and see themselves reflected in classic tales no matter their cultural background,” said Allison Kartman, HEPL youth engagement coordinator. “By reading the featured books, HEPL hopes to foster a love of reading within the local community.”

To register for the event, visit bit.ly/3Z1I23l.

To submit questions for the author panel, visit bit.ly/3qVbtHB.