RI Center for the Book

Reading Across RI

Past events

Watch the Sara Nović Virtual Author event! Sara joined us from the Rhode Island School for the Deaf on Thursday April 27, from 1:00 – 1:45

Down Time Rhody Radio with TRUE BIZ author Sara Nović and Nancy Maguire Heath, Director, Rhode Island School for the Deaf and 2023 Reading Across Rhode Island Honorary Chair. Read the notes.

TRUE BIZ: Evening for Educators and Book Discussion Leaders

February 1: Reading Across Rhode Island Kick Off from 7:00 – 8:00pm with the Pell Center at Salve Regina University

With moderator, Jim Ludes, Executive Director, Pell Center for International Relations and Policy, Honorary Chairs Nancy Maguire Heath and Amanda Montgomery, Reading Across Rhode Island Education Chair Maureen Nagle, and Reading Across Rhode Island Chair Amy VanderWeele.


Download the 2023 RARI Resource Guide

Check out this LibGuide created by RARI Programming Chair Emily Goodman

Is your library participating in the 2023 RARI program? If so, please take a minute to fill out this RARI LIBRARY FORM  

Learn about the history of ASL and Deaf Culture from David Mullowney, ASL Specialist at Rhode Island School for the Deaf

About the Book

ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: NPR, The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • REESE’S BOOK CLUB PICK • A “tender, beautiful and radiantly outraged” (The New York Times Book Review) novel that follows a year of seismic romantic, political, and familial shifts for a teacher and her students at a boarding school for the deaf, from the acclaimed author of Girl at War

“For those who loved the Oscar-winning film CODA, a boarding school for deaf students is the setting for a kaleidoscope of experiences.”—The Washington Post

True biz (adj./exclamation; American Sign Language): really, seriously, definitely, real-talk

True biz? The students at the River Valley School for the Deaf just want to hook up, pass their history finals, and have politicians, doctors, and their parents stop telling them what to do with their bodies. This revelatory novel plunges readers into the halls of a residential school for the deaf, where they’ll meet Charlie, a rebellious transfer student who’s never met another deaf person before; Austin, the school’s golden boy, whose world is rocked when his baby sister is born hearing; and February, the hearing headmistress, a CODA (child of deaf adult(s)) who is fighting to keep her school open and her marriage intact, but might not be able to do both. As a series of crises both personal and political threaten to unravel each of them, Charlie, Austin, and February find their lives inextricable from one another—and changed forever.

This is a story of sign language and lip-reading, disability and civil rights, isolation and injustice, first love and loss, and, above all, great persistence, daring, and joy. Absorbing and assured, idiosyncratic and relatable, this is an unforgettable journey into the Deaf community and a universal celebration of human connection.

About the Author

Sara Nović holds an MFA from Columbia University, where she studied fiction and literary translation. Her first novel, Girl at War, won the American Library Association’s Alex Award, and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Her most recent novel, True Biz, is a New York Times bestseller and Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick. She is an instructor of Deaf studies and creative writing, and lives in Philadelphia with her family.

Sara Nović wesbsite: https://sara-novic.com/

Reading Across Rhode Island, Rhode Island’s One Book, One State community read program kicks off its 21st year by encouraging everyone to read True Biz by Sara Nović with this year’s Honorary Chairs Nancy Maguire Heath, Director, Rhode Island School for the Deaf and Amanda Montgomery, Chief Legal Officer with Convo Communications, LLC and Board Chair, Rhode Island School for the Deaf.

I’m thrilled and honored that True Biz has been chosen as this year’s Reading Across Rhode Island pick. I like to call this book a coming-of-age story and a coming-of-middle-age story, so I think it has something for everybody, and I’m looking forward to connecting with RI readers. – Sara Nović

Reading Across Rhode Island is a program of the Rhode Island Center for the Book, made possible through a vibrant collaboration of librarians, teachers, book group leaders and readers from across the state.

RARI Chairs

Nancy Maguire photo

Honorary Chair Nancy Maguire Heath: “I look forward to enlarging the State’s understanding about deaf lives through this book and starting a dialog about the critical ways that language defines and connects or isolates us” 

Nancy Maguire Heath has been an educator for 46 years in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Currently serving since 2012 as Director of Rhode Island School for the Deaf, a public school, she previously served as Director of several private schools and community college programs.  Nancy served for 4 years, post-earthquake, as part of a curriculum development team that trains and coaches K-8 teachers in literacy and math instruction in the poorest regions of Haiti.  An avid reader, Nancy established and is still a member of two book groups whose members have shared their love of reading together since 1986 – 36 years!  When she is not reading, Nancy follows the adventures of her four adult sons and loves to quilt.

Honorary Chair Amanda Montgomery:As a Deaf woman who grew up at a school for the Deaf, it is an extra special honor to be an Honorary Co-Chair for the 2023 Reading Across Rhode Island program.  TRUE BIZ combines a coming of age story with questions around the concept of community: what defines a community, what role does language play, and what does it take for a community to thrive?

Amanda Montgomery holds a position as Chief Legal Officer with Convo Communications, LLC, a virtual interpreting company making communication access possible through ASL interpreters and software. She earned her JD from Roger Williams University Law School, and lives in Warren, RI. She is Deaf, herself, and bilingual in both ASL and English; and is Chair of the Rhode Island School of the Deaf Board of Trustees. 


Education Chair Maureen Nagle: Reading Across Rhode Island Education Chair Maureen Nagle shares about her experience with the program and “the magic that can happen when we come together around a shared text.”

Read the complete blog post

Contact Kate Lentz at kate@ribook.org for sets of books available to classroom teachers, library discussion groups and senior centers. Further reading lists, book discussion guides, the author’s website, audio interviews and other supplementary materials may be found on the Rhode Island Center for the Book website at ribook.org.
Rhode Island Center for the Book is a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization devoted to promoting personal and community enrichment by celebrating the art and heritage of reading, writing, making, and sharing books. Founded in 2003, the RI Center for the Book is the state affiliate of the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress and resides at The Pell Center at Salve Regina University.

Past RARI Selections

2022 Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley

2021 STAMPED: Racism, Antiracism, and You

2020 Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore by Elizabeth Rush

2019 What the Eyes Don’t See by Mona Hanna-Attisha

2018 The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

2017 Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

2016 The Wright Brothers by David McCullough

2015 Norwegian By Night by Derek Miller

2014 Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

2013 The Beauty of Humanity Movement by Camilla Gibb

2012 Caleb’s Crossing by Geraldine Brooks

2011 The Unforgiving Minute by Craig Mullaney

2010 The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Schaffer and Annie Barrows

2009   Five Skies by Ron Carlson

2008   Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

2007   The Memory of Running by Ron McLarty

2006   Shadow Divers by Robert Kurson

2005   The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

2004   The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

2003   Wish You Well by David Baldaci

© 2023 RI Center for the Book

Theme by Anders Norén

%d bloggers like this: