What if all of Malden reads the same book?

Malden Reads: One City, One Book

Malden Reads is a community reading program in Malden, MA that seeks to answer that question. Organized by community groups, city leaders, and residents, in collaboration with the Malden Public Library and UMA (Urban Media Arts), the program invites the community of Malden to read the same book and participate in a series of events related to the book’s themes. The goals of the program are to promote literacy, a love of reading, an appreciation of city resources, and most of all, to build community in the city of Malden.

In addition to the main book selection each year, Malden Reads selects companion books for younger readers and English language learners so that everyone can participate in the annual program.

Malden Reads distributes free books and resources to schools, community programs and “Little Free Libraries” in Malden, offers the books in quantity and in a variety of formats for lending through the Malden Public Library, and provides sales of books at local events and locations.

Our signature events typically occur in the winter and spring each year. They include:

  • Opening Celebration (kickoff event)
  • Book Discussions
  • Film Screenings
  • Community Dinners at local restaurants
  • “Sunset, Storytelling & Stargazing” on Waitt’s Mount
  • Activities for Children, Teens & Families
  • Unique capstone event
  • Other social, cultural, and educational programs inspired by the book themes

We welcome new volunteers in any capacity! Whether one is interested in helping out at an event, participating with our book selection group, assisting with promotions & marketing, or serving on the steering committee, volunteer participation is vital to our success. We work hard and have fun doing it!

Malden Reads is made possible by the generous donations of local foundations, nonprofit organizations, businesses, community groups, and individuals. Please consider giving a donation, at a level that is comfortable to you, so that we can continue to provide books and literacy-related resources to local schools and children and offer quality programming for the whole community.


To hear about how we plan to stay connected to the Malden community, watch this year’s presentation to the Malden City Council and tune in to the discussion.


Malden Reads believes the following: The city that opens the same book closes it in greater harmony.

To see and learn what Malden Reads is all about, view the video created by UMA for receiving the “Community Impact Award” for the 10th Anniversary year of Malden Reads.


Introduction to our Land Acknowledgement

A land acknowledgment is a statement that recognizes Indigenous people as the traditional stewards of the land. We hope this land acknowledgment helps broaden perspectives and brings awareness of the history here in Malden. Our land acknowledgment includes the name Nanepashemet, the great Sachem of the Pawtucket Confederation. Nanepashemet is now the name of a street here in Malden. As we uncover and share the history of our community, we are interested in hearing connections that Maldonians have with the land and Native Americans who lived here.

If you are viewing our website from somewhere else, you can find information on your native land by visiting this link: https://native-land.ca/.

For more information on land acknowledgments, we suggest reviewing the resources at https://www.mcnaa.org/land-acknowledgement.


Official Statement

As a Malden-based cultural and educational organization, it is important for us to bring our history to light. Before this land was called “Malden,” this was an Indigenous community where the Native American Pennacook Tribe called “Mistick Side” their home.

The name “Mystic” is a familiar word to us in this area. It’s often mistaken as an English word, although the original “Mystic” was an Indigenous word — “mistick” or “miss-tuk” — an Algonquin word for the great tidal river that separates Malden and Chelsea from Charlestown. It is powerful to reclaim the original meaning of the word and to share the true history, and so we want to acknowledge that we are on their land.

It is central to Malden Reads’s mission to connect with people through telling stories and sharing together. As we honor and acknowledge the people who came before us, we want to share a specific story to honor a legacy and find personal connections.

As we honor the people who came before us, the people of Mystic Side who lived here, and the Pennacook Tribe in particular, we want to raise up the story of the woman who allowed European settlers to be here, whether we refer to them as settlers, colonizers, or invaders. Her name is forgotten or was not divulged to the English, so she was often referred to as Squaw Sachem. She was the widow of Nanepashemet, who led the Indigenous people in this area before her.

It is important to face the fact that while she said that people who look like us are allowed to live here, it did not give our forebearers the right to erase, conquer, murder, pillage, displace, or commit any of the sins that they committed.

In paying honor to Squaw Sachem, we also honor the un-named women, men, and children of the Pennacook Tribe who lived on the land before the settlers arrived around 1630. The City of Malden was “purchased” or taken, depending on one’s perspective, for 21 coats, three bushels of corn, and 19 strings of beads. By sharing this information, we are seeking to educate ourselves and others, and redress and learn from history’s past injustices.

Today, Malden continues to be one of the most diverse communities in the Commonwealth, rich in history. As Malden Reads, at its core, works to bring our community together, we strive to be inclusive by lifting every voice in our community. Malden Reads is a vibrant community-based organization of volunteers who love reading and books. We believe in stories and their ability to transform our lives. Through learning and sharing our diverse past, we amplify the voices of and connect with past, present, and future.

~ Thanks to Mark Linehan, with the Malden Cultural Council, for generously sharing his crafting of this message. We have adapted our land acknowledgment from his original text.