Reston, VA

After being prompted by the murder of George Floyd and national protests in support of the Black Lives Matter movement,  community members in Reston are turning to local bookstores for resources on systemic racism and the black community.

Scrawl Books, located at 11911 Freedom Drive, has already sold hundreds of anti-racism books, according to manager Molly McMahon.

“We have seen a profound uptick in sales for books by and about people of color, diversity, black lives matter issues and titles that address the causes and effects of racism (both fiction and nonfiction) over the past few weeks,” she said.

In the coming weeks, the location will also be organizing free books talks and events to help promote activism and education.

On Thursday (June 18), guests can tune into Zoom to hear from Daven McQueen about her new novel, “The Invincible Summer or Juniper Jones,” which focuses on a biracial adolescent sent to live with his aunt and uncle in Alabama in 1955,” according to McMahon.

Later in the month, on June 25, Mahogany L. Browne will give a book talk about her novel “Woke: A Young Poet’s Call to Justice.”

Some of the best sellers so far include “‘How to be an Antiracist‘ by Ibram X. Kendi, ‘Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America‘ by Ibram X. Kendi and ‘White Fragility‘ by  Robin D’Angelo,” McMahon said.

Because of high demand across the country, some of the books are on back-order form publishers, according to McMahon but they would once again be available on shelves later this month.

“We ensure our inventory increases along with demand for specific titles and topics, so we can fill orders as quickly as possible,” she said.

At the shop, some of McMahon’s favorite titles for all ages from Black authors include:

For those wanting to explore other local shops around town, Reston’s Used Book Shop (1623 Washington Plaza North Lake Anne) also carries titles from black authors, but given the nature of a used book shop, one employee said they cannot guarantee that they will have specific titles.

“There’s been an increase in requests,” said one of the employees at Reston’s Used Book Shop. “Because we are a used book store, its just a matter of what we have in the shop.”

People can call the store at 703-435-9772 if they want to find out if a specific title is in stock.

Photo via Mahogany L. Browne/Facebook

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A South Lakes High School graduate decided to create an organization called Student Impact, attracting the attention of teachers around the East Coast looking for extra student opportunities.

Student Impact hosts writing contests, book drives for underprivileged kids, peer support groups and leadership programs, according to founder Ana Stanisavljev.

The program launched in April and is now introducing a new tutoring program next Tuesday, Stanisavljev said.

Though there will be a fee for most tutoring opportunities, Stanisavljev said that she is asking volunteers to also donate a few hours of their time a month to help students whose families cannot pay.

The program has gained traction outside of the Northern Virginia area. New Jersey public schools noticed the program and tweeted about it, letting students know about the upcoming writing contest.

The writing contest asks middle school and high school students to write a collection of stories between 500-1,000 words for young kids. Cash prizes will be given to finalists, and the deadline for submission is Friday, June 5.

This summer, Student Impact is gearing up for a high school leadership program that will help students build valuable skills, according to Stanisavljev.

“It’ll give them the opportunity to engage with their communities and actually have an impact,” she said.

Around 70 people are already involved in the program. People who are interested in volunteering can sign up online.

Though everyone is “involved on different levels,” according to Stanisavljev, she said people from college-age and up can apply to be in a tutor or mentor position.

“We are constantly coming up with new projects and initiatives to create resources for students and teachers, so stay tuned for even more opportunities,” Stanisavljev said.

Stanisavljev said she started the program as an immediate response to the needs of students and teachers struggling with distance learning but hopes it continues to grow depending on the needs of students.

Stanisavljev is currently studying business at the University of Virginia. She said that she wanted to launch this program to give back to her home community of Reston.

Photo courtesy Ana Stanisavljev

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Fairfax County put out an all-call for independent authors who want to submit their work to the Virginia Author Project Contest.

The statewide fiction contest allows people to compete for several prizes, according to Fairfax County.

To qualify, each submission must be independently published, either in the adult fiction or young adult fiction genre, written by a Virginia resident and available in certain file formats, the website said.

Prizes include:

  • $500 each in adult and young adult categories
  • Honors at the 2021 spring IAP Reception
  • Opportunities to promote your book(s) at Virginia public libraries
  • Inclusion in a full-page print spread in Library Journal
  • Opportunities to earn royalties through the IAP Select collection

Anyone interested can submit their work online before May 31.

Photo via Green Chameleon/Unsplash

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As people self-isolate and social distance, there are activities happening digitally to help fight the boredom and redundancy.

Fairfax County Libraries announced closures through March 29, but people who normally visit local libraries can check out free online resources including audiobooks and e-books.

Anyone with a library card can log into a system called Overdrive, which allows people to choose from a wide range of works from all genres.

Though some titles have limited availability and a waitlist, the system offers a list of popular titles available now.

The Brews and Books event at Lake Anne Brew House will take place online this week from 7 -8:30 p.m. on Saturday (March 21), according to the Facebook page. This week people will be talking about “Boys & Sex: Young Men on Hookups, Love, Porn, Consent, and Navigating the New Masculinity” the page said.

People can log onto Zoom to attend the event. The meeting “ID”  is 332 501 624 and the “password” is 649440.

Lake Anne Brew House also announced it will be able to deliver pretzels, food and beer to anyone who is interested.

Fans of musical theatre can stream broadway musicals online using Broadway HD, which lets people stream certain productions in the comfort of their own home. The company is offering a free 7-day trial but costs around $9 each month after that.

Photo via Daria Nepriakhina on Unsplash

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Former Charlottesville Mayor, Michael Signer, will discuss the violence and aftermath of the infamous “Unite the Right” rally and his upcoming book “Cry Havoc: Charlottesville and American Democracy Under Siege” next week in Reston.

On March 19, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., Signer will be at the Reston Regional Library (11925 Bowman Towne Drive), giving a free talk for those interested in his first-person narrative of violence, according to the event description.

The book dives into the “terror and mayhem of the August 2017,” the event page said.

“Cry Havoc: Charlottesville and American Democracy Under Siege” is available for purchase beginning tomorrow (March 19). Readers can preorder online or visit Scrawl Books (11911 Freedom Drive) to pick up a copy tomorrow.

Several other publications have written about the aftermath of the Charlottesville violence in the past, but this in-depth look will explore the topic from a new perspective.

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After people may have lost sight of their New Year’s regulations, enVISION 2020 invites people to rebuild or create a new vision board.

A vision board is a guide to help people realize their goals and imagine what they want their life to look like, according to the HuffPost, which added it usually collages magazine clippings, photos and paper accents.

This session will take place on Saturday (Feb. 29) and feature music, food and guidance from two mental health professionals, according to the event page.

The session will take place at Best Life Therapeutic Services, LLC (11250 Roger Bacon Drive). Tickets are $40, and the event will run from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m.

Tomorrow (Feb. 29)

  • Get to Know Your Muslim Neighbor (11 .m. until 3 p.m.) — The Reston Regional Library (11925 Bowman Towne Drive) is hosting an event where people from all cultures can come mingle and learn about history while enjoying activities such as henna and calligraphy. Coffee will be provided at this free event.
  • Ramen ‘Round the World  Cooking Class (11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m.) — Attendees will learn how to make umami-rich soup at 100 Bowls of Soup (279 Sunset Park Drive). The tickets are $75.

Sunday (March 1)

  • “City of Peace” Book Talk (1 to 2 p.m.) — Trinity Presbyterian Church (651 Dranesville Road) is hosting a book event with author Henry Brinton. People will have the chance to ask questions and buy a copy for $17.
  • Herndon Depot Museum Reopening (noon to 4 p.m.) — This weekend, people can attend a train show and silent auction featuring antiques at 717 Lynn Street to celebrate the reopening of the Herndon Depot Museum. People will also have the chance to learn about telegraphs, according to the Facebook page.

Photo by Andy Art on Unsplash

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Three local businesses decided to partner on a brand new monthly book and tea pairing for people looking for book lovers and stay-cationers.

The program, which makes its debut on Wednesday (Feb. 26), allows people to pick up a predetermined book and tea pairing at Elden Street Tea Shop (714 Pine Street) for $34.95, according to Bridget Blakely, a spokesperson from Mascot Books.

“Three weeks after the pairing’s launch, readers are invited to participate in the novel-tea book club and discussion at the tea shop, ” Rachel Eisenfeld, the owner of Elden Street Tea Shop, said in a Q&A.

Each month, the tea for the pairings will be chosen by Elden Street Tea Shop while books will be chosen by Mascot Books and then supplied by Scrawl Books (11911 Freedom Drive), according to Blakely.

For the first month, program participants will be able to read “Anna Incognito” while sipping a cup of Crème Earl Grey, Blakely said.

“We tried to do a good mix of fiction and non-fiction and caffeinated teas versus herbal teas,” Blakely said.

Going forward, a new pairing will be available at the end of each month, according to a press release.

Photo courtesy Bridget Blakely

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Friends of the Reston Regional Library kicks off a special book sale tomorrow (Thursday) at Reston Regional Library (11925. Bowman Towne Drive).

The sale features mystery, thriller, and adventure books. The timing of the sale is as follows:

  • Tomorrow (Thursday), 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Friday, Feb. 7 (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.)
  • Saturday (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
  • Sunday (1-5 p.m.)

The next book sale, which features books for children, young adults and educators, takes place at the end of March.

According to information provided by the Friends, the nonprofit organization has raised more than $700,000 for the library through its book sales over the past 15 years.

In addition, it has been able to donate $200,000 to direct library support programs — including $100,000 in eBooks, $25,000 in children’s series books, a Braille printing station for the Access Services branch, librarian scholarships and more.

Friends of the Reston Regional Library is made up of nearly 100 active volunteers who donate over 10,000 hours a year to process donations, run sales and reach out to the community.

More information about the Friends’ other six annual sales is available online.

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This Saturday (Feb. 1), a local author will discuss his newest murder mystery at Scrawl Books.

From 11 a.m. until 3 p.m., John Adam Wasowicz will be signing books, meeting fans and introducing his latest book “Jones Point.”

“Jones Point” is the second book in the series and was originally published in the fall of 2019 after the first book “Daingerfield Island” was released in the summer of 2017.

Wasowicz lives in Mt. Vernon, according to a press release, which added that his book takes place in Alexandria.

The 236-page-book guides readers through the eyes of Mo Katz, a U.S. Attorney, and Sheri Stone, an Alexandria policewoman, who solve murders to save the nation’s capitol, the event page said.

Anyone interested in purchasing the book can find it online for $14 or at Scrawl Books for $22.

Everyone is welcome to attend the signing event and RSVP is not required.

Image courtesy Scrawl Books 

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A local bookshop plans to “purge” textbooks published by Pearson from its education section following a New York Times’ report that found the publisher’s American history textbooks offer different histories on highly partisan topics.

The investigation found that the publisher and others presented information on the Second Amendment, civil rights, capital, immigration and other topics differently in California and Texas.

For example, a California textbook explains how rulings on the Second Amendment leave space for some gun regulations. The Texas edition of the book contains a blank white space instead of the explanation in the California textbook.

Here’s more from the Jan. 12 story:

In a country that cannot come to a consensus on fundamental questions — how restricted capitalism should be, whether immigrants are a burden or a boon, to what extent the legacy of slavery continues to shape American life — textbook publishers are caught in the middle. On these questions and others, classroom materials are not only shaded by politics, but are also helping to shape a generation of future voters.

Conservatives have fought for schools to promote patriotism, highlight the influence of Christianity and celebrate the founding fathers. In a September speech, President Trump warned against a “radical left” that wants to “erase American history, crush religious liberty, indoctrinate our students with left-wing ideology.”

The left has pushed for students to encounter history more from the ground up than from the top down, with a focus on the experiences of marginalized groups such as enslaved people, women and Native Americans.

The books The Times analyzed were published in 2016 or later and have been widely adopted for eighth and 11th graders, though publishers declined to share sales figures. Each text has editions for Texas and California, among other states, customized to satisfy policymakers with different priorities.

The story prompted Reston’s Used Book Shop to reconsider how it categorizes certain American history textbooks. 

“This is outrageous. We often buy used books published by Pearson – no longer. And I will be purging them from our ‘education section.'”  The business wrote on Facebook

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Thousands of books are available for purchase beginning today (Thursday) during an annual sale by Friends of the Reston Regional Library.

According to information provided by the Friends, the nonprofit organization has raised more than $700,000 for the library through its book sales over the past 15 years. In addition, it has been able to donate $200,000 to direct library support programs — including $100,000 in eBooks, $25,000 in children’s series books, a Braille printing station for the Access Services branch, librarian scholarships and more.

Science fiction, religion, romance, cooking, sports, history and many other genres of titles are available. Small paperback books are available for as little as 50 cents, with hardcovers books priced as low as $1.50.

The sale is on through 8 p.m. today, between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. tomorrow (Friday), between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, and from 1-4 p.m. on Sunday.

The Friends’ next sale will be mystery, thriller and adventure sale, which is set for Feb. 6-9. Friends of the Reston Regional Library is made up of nearly 100 active volunteers who donate over 10,000 hours a year to process donations, run sales and reach out to the community.

For more information about Friends of the Reston Regional Library and its book sales, visit its website or its Facebook page, find it on Twitter, call 703-829-5467, or email [email protected].

File photo

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An upcoming book about Herndon wants to teach kids about the town’s history and culture.

A Day in Herndon” is a mixed-media book that walks the reader through a day of personified farm animals from Frying Pan Farm Park who take a field trip to Herndon.

The book will be available on Saturday (Nov. 9) at a book signing celebration at ArtSpace Herndon (750 Center Street) from 10 a.m. until noon and is also on sale online for $15.95.

Readers will notice photography and illustrations from co-authors and friends Jill Vinson and Watt Hamlett, who met each other when they were neighbors in Reston. Vinson said she has since moved and now lives in Herndon.

Each animal featured in the story is excited to see something different around town, according to Hamlett.

“We have a pig who wanted to check out the art around Herndon,” Hamlett said. “We wanted to take kids on our tour through the community.”

Hamlett and Vinson published their first book — “Reston A to Z” — three years ago.

When they were selling the book at the Lake Ann Farmers Market, people suggested that they write another book together about Herndon.

“There are so many people within the community who are really excited for this,” Vinson said.

In the future, the authors hope to sell the book around town and allow organizations to sell it for fundraising purposes. They already have a deal with Green Lizard Cycling, which plans to sell the book and donate some of the proceeds to an organization of their choice, Hamlett said.

Photo courtesy Watt Hamlett

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The author of “Hidden History of Herndon” will speak in Reston next month.

Barbara Glakas will be at the Jo Ann Rose Gallery (1609-A Washington Plaza N.) to discuss her book and answer questions from the audience on Nov. 13 from 7-9 p.m.

The event will be hosted by the Reston Historic Trust and Museum, which aims to foster community engagement and knowledge of local history.

This event is free and will cover a range of Herndon and Reston history from her book that features “firsthand accounts to tell little-known stories of the people, places and events that shaped the history of the Town of Herndon,” according to a press release.

Photo courtesy Reston Historic Trust and Museum

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State Sen. Janet Howell (D-32nd) and her daughter-in-law are set to celebrate the release of their new book about women leaders this weekend in Reston.

Howell and Theresa Howell, the authors of “Leading the Way: Women in Power!,” will be at Scrawl Books (11911 Freedom Drive) from 2-3:30 p.m. on Sunday (Oct. 13) where they will discuss the 50 women profiled in the book and host a discussion with the audience.

The book examines the ways outstanding women throughout history have contributed to American society, according to Scrawl Books.

“This engaging and wide-ranging collection of biographies highlights the actions, struggles, and accomplishments of more than 50 of the most influential leaders in American political history — leaders who have stood up, blazed trails and led the way,” according to Scrawl Books.

Howell is a record-breaking woman herself — she is the longest-serving female legislator in Virginia, according to Scrawl’s website. She has been a senator since 1992 and a civil rights advocate since her college years.

Howell, who lives in Colorado, is an author and previously published “Maybe Something Beautiful.”

This free event is open to all ages. People can pre-order a hardcover copy for $24.

Image via Scrawl Books

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Friday Morning Notes

Herndon Middle School Gets At-Risk Afterschool Meals Program –The school is one of 13 in the county to receive the at-risk afterschool meals program. The same meals will be available at no separate charge to all participants. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Reston Friends Semi-Annual Book Sale Continues — Thousands of used books will be available for purchase during the sale, which continues into the weekend. The sale is on today from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Reston Regional Library. [Reston Regional Library]

International Walk to School Day is Next Week — County schools will take part in International Walk to School Day on October 2 in  “an effort to promote physical activity and reduce traffic congestion and pollution near schools. Students and employees are encouraged to bike or walk to school and work. Parents are encouraged to accompany their children to school, and to work with their school or PTA to assemble bike trains or walking groups for the event. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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