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Read Across Lawrence welcomes anti-bullying activist Lizzie Velasquez

After first being bullied as a child in school for looking different and later online as a teenager when she discovered a YouTube video labeling her ‘The World’s Ugliest Woman,’ Lizzie Velasquez, who was born with a rare genetic condition that prevents her from gaining weight, became an advocate for victims of bullying the world over.

Lizzie will deliver our 2018 Read Across Lawrence keynote address. Her message of self-acceptance aligns beautifully with the themes in Wonderour 2018 Read Across Lawrence book pick about a young boy named Auggie with a facial anomaly.

Lizzie’s family-friendly event will resonate with all ages, but will be especially powerful for teens and kids who have experienced bullying themselves.

“Lizzie Velasquez is a wonderful capstone to our Read Across Lawrence events surrounding R.J. Palacio’s Wonder,” said Brad Allen, Lawrence Public Library executive director. “Her anti-bullying advocacy and message of kindness and acceptance are very much needed in the world right now.”

EVENT INFORMATION

An Afternoon with Lizzie Velasquez
SUN | Mar 11 | 3:30 PM | Lied Center | All ages
1600 Stewart Drive, Lawrence, KS 66045
(785) 864-2787

Thanks to a generous gift from BNSF, this event is free and open to the public. General admission; no ticket required.


MORE ABOUT LIZZIE

In December 2013, Lizzie Velasquez took the stage at the inaugural TEDxAustinWomen and gave a talk titled, How Do You Define Yourself? that has garnered over 13 million views across the web. Her story has been featured on Katie Couric, The Today Show, The View, Huffington Post, the Associated Press, and many other national and international media outlets. Her YouTube channel has over 793,668 subscribers.

Lizzie’s latest book, Dare to Be Kind, will be available for sale and a book signing will follow her talk.


ABOUT READ ACROSS LAWRENCE 2018
FEB 10 – MAR 17

Read Across Lawrence is an annual, community-wide reading event that encourages everyone in Lawrence to read and discuss the same book. We’ll host book discussions and activities for all ages that explore R.J. Palacio’s themes of kindness and acceptance in her debut novel, Wonder. The Lawrence Schools Foundation and Lawrence Public Library Foundation teamed up and received a grant from the Douglas County Community Foundation to supply 1,000 copies of the book to students, teachers, and classrooms all over Lawrence.

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Julia Alvarez: Woman, Writer, Activist

On Sunday, March 5 at 7 PM at the Lied Center, our NEA Big Read/Read Across Lawrence ends on the highest of notes with a visit from the writer herself, Julia Alvarez.

Author of 19 books and three collections of poetry, Alvarez will talk about her books, in particular, In the Time of the Butterflies and Return to Sender, and what it means to be a citizen of the world as a woman, writer, and activist.

This event is free and open to the public. No tickets required. Lobby opens at 6 PM. The Lied Center is located at 1600 Stewart Drive, Lawrence, KS.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Julia Alvarez is the recipient of two Pura Belpre awards and the Hispanic Heritage Award in Literature. She was born in New York City, and spent her early childhood in the Dominican Republic. Her family was forced to flee in 1960 because of her father’s participation in an attempt to overthrow the country’s military dictator, Rafael Trujillo. She returned to New York as a ten year old and turned to books and writing to cope with language and culture barriers she faced upon returning to the land of her birth.

“Lawrence Public Library and its partners were among 75 groups nationwide to receive a Big Read Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. This is a huge honor and the first time that Lawrence has earned this grant, which makes it possible to bring Ms. Alvarez to Lawrence. KU Libraries look forward to sharing the scholarship and collections of our Latin and Caribbean Studies scholars through the collaborative programming being developed for the Lawrence community,” said Sarah Goodwin Thiel, Head of KU Libraries’ Center for Community Engagement.


Offered in partnership with KU Libraries, the KU Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, and the Lied Center of Kansas. NEA Big Read is program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.

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