Community Read 2021

close up of a bird getting the nectar from a flower

Finding a Passion for Nature

In 2021, we asked readers to discover how one finds a passion for nature and to explore what can become of that spark.

The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature 

In our featured book, The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature by J. Drew Lanham, the author examines his lifelong passion for birds, as well as his personal history and struggles. Lanham details his journey as a successful wildlife ecologist who along the way uncovers lessons about legacy and his own need to inject a deeper sense of human caring into his life and work.

“A ground-breaking work about race and the American landscape.”
—Helen MacDonald, author of H is for Hawk

Ruby’s Birds

For our youngest readers we selected Ruby’s Birds by Mya Thompson. In this delightful story, a little girl discovers her spark–birds–in her own city neighborhood. They enliven her world and excite her about nature. Her own journey begins.

A good story, perfect for bird lovers and likely to entice the uninitiated.
—Kirkus Reviews


The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature

Members, sign in and access this title as an ebook from our library

The Home Place Discussion Guide

Additional Resource and Writings by Drew Lanham

The Home Place Recommended Resources

Ruby’s Birds

Ruby’s Birds Activities

Ruby’s Birds Recommended Resources

Cornell Lab of Ornithology Resources

Celebrate Urban Birds

Merlin App

All About Birds


Science & Nature Activities for Cooped Up Kids

Spanish Language Cornell Lab of Ornithology Resources

Conduct Science Investigations

Voices in the Landscape

Continue your journey through the African American experience with Voices in the Landscape, a self-guided tour celebrating the strength, resilience, and contributions of the African American community through the lens of horticulture and the power of story.

Learn more