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Highlighting a different book each year and working with more than 50 partner organizations, we’ve explored topics ranging from conservation to innovation, from birding to extraordinary plants.

In 2021, we proudly offered the eighth year of our Community Read—asking readers to discover how one finds a passion for nature and to explore what can become of that spark.

The Home Place book cover

In our featured book The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature by J. Drew Lanham, the author examined 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 book cover

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

Read one (or both!) of these books. Share with your family and friends. Start a discussion. Engage in one of the many events throughout the region. Stay tuned for information in fall 2021 about our 2022 Community Read.

Follow us @LongwoodGardens and share your ideas using the hashtag #CommunityRead.

Our Partners Put the Community in the Community Read

A partnership with the Community Read means engaging our region in the important conversations surrounding nature, plants, and gardens. Together, we can make an impact. To learn more about how your organization can get involved, email us at