Groton READS 2015

Following Atticus by Tom Ryan

Forty-Eight High Peaks, One Little Dog, and an Extraordinary Friendship

Groton READS is a community-wide reading event orchestrated by the Groton Public Library and sponsored by the Groton Public Library Endowment Trust. Groton READS is now in its eleventh year. Click here to see a list of past Groton READS titles. Events are free and open to all.

Groton READS 2015 Events

Featured Event

Tom Ryan & Atticus M. Finch, “Sunday Afternoon
with Tom & Atticus”

Sunday, April 12, 2:00 pm (doors open at 12:30 pm), Groton-Dunstable Middle School Auditorium

Come to a rare public appearance of Atticus and Tom Ryan, author of Following Atticus! Tom will speak, take questions, and sign books following his talk. Books will be available for purchase at this event.

You must register to guarantee yourself a seat, as this will be Tom & Atticus's ONLY public event in 2015 and we anticipate filling the entire 800-seat auditorium! We recommend you print out your online ticket and bring it with you to the event to expedite check-in.

This event is for mature teens and adults only, as some language and content will not be appropriate for children and young teens. No animals, flash photography, or videorecording will be permitted at this event, nor may you post online any (non-flash) photographs from the event. Only the Library has permission to post photos of the event online.

Book Discussions of Following Atticus

  • Wednesday, February 28 at 9:00 am — COA Book Group, Groton Senior Center
  • Wednesday, March 18 at 7:00 pm — Interactive Book Discussion, Groton Channel
  • Friday, March 20 at 10:30 am — Groton Public Library
  • Tuesday, March 31 at 7:00 pm — GPL Book Group, Groton Public Library

Events for All Ages

  • Norbert: What Can Little Me Do? With Author Julie Freyermuth, Illustrator Virginia Freyermuth, and Therapy Dog, Norbert
    RESCHEDULED TO SAT. FEB. 28 at 1:30 pm, Sibley Hall
  • Meet the real therapy dog who inspired the award-winning picture book Norbert: What Can Little Me Do? Norbert's owners, Julie and Virginia Freyermuth, will provide an interactive book reading followed by question and answers with Julie, the author, along with a brief talk & live drawing from the illustrator, Virginia. There will be a meet, greet, and photo opportunity with Norbert, a real 3-pound registered therapy dog that inspired the book. Books will be available for purchase and signing at the program.

  • Groton READS Hike with the Groton Trails Committee
    Sunday, March 15, 1:00 pm, Duck Pond Drive
  • Feeling inspired to go hiking after reading Following Atticus? Then you are in the right town, as Groton has over 100 beautiful trails to explore! Olin Lathrop of the Groton Trails Committee will lead a nice stroll thru typical New England woods and along the shore of a beautiful pond. Meet at the end of Duck Pond Drive. This hike is appropriate for families with children and well-behaved dogs are allowed. Hike will last about 2 hours.

  • Service Dog Panel, “Above & Beyond ‘Man’s Best Friend’”
    Sunday, March 29, 2:00 pm, Sibley Hall
  • Meet three special service dogs and hear about the work they are trained to do! We welcome:

    • Groton Police Department: K-9 Lola and her partner, Officer Nicholas Beltz. Lola is a certified tracking dog; she helps locate missing people, recover evidence, and track down criminals.
    • Operation Delta Dog: This organization rescues dogs from shelters and trains them to work as service dogs for Veterans suffering from PTSD and TBI. Trisha Blanchet, President and Founder, will be accompanied by a dog currently in training.
    • NEADS (National Education for Assistance Dog Services) trains assistance dogs to bring freedom, autonomy, and companionship to deaf and disabled Americans. John Moon, Community Director, will be accompanied by his NEADS dog, Rainbow.

For Adults & Mature Teens

  • Local Journalists Panel Discussion, “The Future of the ‘Fourth Estate’”
    Thursday, February 26, 7:00 pm, Sibley Hall
  • Local Journalists will discuss Tom Ryan's Undertoad Newburyport Newspaper (as described in Following Atticus), the Importance of the Vital 'Fourth Estate', and the Future of Local Journalism.

    Panel Members:

    • Art Campbell, Editor & Publisher of the Groton Line and Talk About Groton
    • Russell Harris, Editor of the Groton Herald
    • Deborah Johnson, Publisher & Editor of the Groton Herald
    • Gina Marini, Reporter for Groton Channel News
    • Kate Walsh, Managing Editor of Nashoba Publishing, which publishes the Groton Landmark
  • Randy Pierce (with Guide Dog Autumn), “Reaching Your Peak Potential”
    Wednesday, March 4, 7:00 pm, Sibley Hall
  • At the age of 22, Randy Pierce unexpectedly lost his vision over the course of a short two weeks due to a devastating neurological disease. At the age of 39, this disease suddenly attacked in other ways, resulting in his being confined to a wheelchair. Randy spent the next two years working to get out of that wheelchair. It was then that he set his goal: to be the first blind hiker to summit all 48 of the New Hampshire 4,000-footers in the summer. He thought it would take him 10 years. Instead, he completed his goal in 3 years! He also hiked all 48 peaks in one winter season! Randy’s passion for new experiences continues to encourage him to turn adversity into growth and opportunity, inspiring others to reach their peak potential as Randy has and continues to do.

  • Film Screening & Discussion: Play Again: What are the Consequences of a Childhood Removed from Nature?
    Sunday, March 22, 2:00 pm, Sibley Hall
  • This moving and humorous documentary follows six teenagers who, like the “average American child,” spend five to fifteen hours a day behind screens. Play Again unplugs these teens and takes them on their first wilderness adventure – no electricity, no cell phone coverage, no virtual reality. Through the voices of children and leading experts including journalist Richard Louv, sociologist Juliet Schor, environmental writer Bill McKibben, educators Diane Levin and Nancy Carlsson-Paige, neuroscientist Gary Small, parks advocate Charles Jordan, and geneticist David Suzuki, Play Again investigates the consequences of a childhood removed from nature and encourages action for a sustainable future.

  • Craig John, “The Road to Everest”
    Thursday, March 26, 7:00 pm, Sibley Hall
  • Groton Resident Craig John has been a professional mountain guide since 1987. He has done close to fifty high altitude expeditions to all corners of the world that include twelve Himalayan expeditions, 21 to Kilimanjaro, ten to Denali, several to Aconcagua, the Mexican volcanoes and other peaks around the world. Craig summited Everest in 1998 and has two ascents of Cho You. Currently he has 197 ascents of Rainier. But Craig didn't start out climbing these legendary peaks - he started out hiking locally. Come hear about his adventures as he transformed from recreational hiker to professional mountain guide.

  • Nick Wilder, “10,200 Reasons to Go Off-the-Grid: A Semester in the Colorado Rockies”
    Wednesday, April 8, 7:00 pm, Sibley Hall
  • Groton’s own Nick Wilder is a senior at Concord Academy. A self-described homebody with a penchant for video gaming, it was a shock to his system when last winter he spent a semester living and learning at Colorado’s High Mountain Institute. Nick will share stories and photos of his semester off the grid, including details of expeditions through Utah’s Moab canyons and summiting 13,000 foot peaks in sub-zero conditions. This seminar is open to all who would like to see photos and hear stories about this young man’s journey, but will be of particular interest to high school freshmen and sophomores who might like to learn more about High Mountain Institute and a semester spent living in the mountains.

For Teens

  • Orienteering Workshop for Teens: Part I
    Tuesday, April 21, 6:30-8:00 pm, Sibley Hall
  • Orienteering Workshop for Teens: Part II
    Sunday, April 26, 2:00-4:00 pm, Groton Town Forest
  • Learn about the cool sport of orienteering! This is a two-part workshop and participants must attend Part I in order to attend Part II. Parents are welcome to sign up along with their teenagers, but space limited to 25 people total. At the first session, learn the basics of orienteering, then, at the second session, put your new skills to work! Deborah Humiston, Founder and President of Ultimate Treasure Hunts, LLC, will lead both sessions. She has been competing in, organizing events, and teaching orienteering skills for over 20 years.

  • Groton READS Companion Titles for Grade 6-8 Readers:
    • Nature Girl by Jane Kelley. Forced to spend the summer with her family in rural Vermont, eleven-year-old Megan, a rebellious, immature urbanite gains self-confidence and maturity as she and her dog survive being lost on the Appalachian Trail.
    • Peak by Roland Smith. A fourteen-year-old boy attempts to be the youngest person to reach the top of Mount Everest.

For Kids

  • Book Worms Book Discussion of Little Dog, Lost by Marion Dane Bauer
    Tuesday, March 3, 4:15 pm, Community Room
  • Our monthly book discussion for 4th and 5th graders! Enjoy refreshments while discussing great books.

  • Book Bears Book Discussion of Ellie’s Long Walk: The True Story of Two Friends on the Appalachian Trail by Pam Flowers
    Thursday, March 12, 4:00 pm, Community Room
  • Our monthly book discussion for 2nd and 3rd graders! Enjoy refreshments while discussing great books.

    Copies of all books are available at the Groton Public Library.


More about the author

Tom Ryan

Tom Ryan is the founder of the Newburyport, Massachusetts, newspaper the Undertoad and served as its publisher and editor for more than a decade. In 2007 he moved to the White Mountains of New Hampshire with miniature schnauzer Atticus M. Finch. After raising thousands of dollars for Angell Animal Medical Center in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, the pair was inducted into the Massachusetts Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Hall of Fame. In 2011, Tom's memoir, Following Atticus, was published and became a New York Times bestseller! Tom currently writes the popular The Adventures of Tom & Atticus column in the Northcountry News and Mountainside Guide, and the blog The Adventures of Tom & Atticus. Tom and Atticus live in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

Visit the author's blog, The Adventures of Tom & Atticus