2019 Events

Holiday Pop Up 2019

Malden Reads invites you to join their 10th anniversary year celebration and fundraising event at their one-day “Holiday Pop-up Bookstore & More” in the lobby of the new J Malden Center apartment community at 190 Pleasant Street. The event will take place on Saturday, December 7th from 11am – 7pm.

LEARN for the first time about Malden’s “One City, One Book” program or celebrate your memories of Malden Reads throughout the years. Find out about our 2020 book selection and some of the major upcoming events. Learn what it’s like to volunteer with Malden Reads!

BUY BOOKS: This will be the first opportunity to purchase the 2020 selection, “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury, and the 2020 companion books for younger readers and find out more about the 2020 program. Books by local authors & author visits will be featured.

PARKING/TRANSPORTATION: Come for any part of the day! Walking, biking, or public transportation is encouraged but free parking is also available! Enter the garage from Abbott St. (a left off of Pleasant St. ) and follow the signs for event parking.

RAFFLE: This will be the only public fundraiser for Malden Reads for the 2020 year. Please come and support the program by buying books, taking part in the raffle, and considering a donation to the program.

TOUR J MALDEN CENTER: This is also one of the first public opportunities to visit the new J Malden Center community, which provides luxury apartments and new retail on the ground floor opening soon, and will be the new home of Malden City Hall. You will be able to take a tour of the apartment and resident amenity areas during the event. For more information on J Malden Center, please view

CREDIT CARDS ACCEPTED: Pay for your purchases, raffle tickets, and donations with cash (preferred), checks OR credit card.


  • Malden Reads 2020 main book & companion books for sale
  • Previous Malden Reads book selections for sale
  • Preview info for the 2020 program
  • Books by local authors for sale
  • Local author talks throughout the day (see info below)
  • Creative gift wrapping (available for purchase or DIY)
  • Raffle with some great local prizes
  • Arts and crafts for children and adults (with a small charge for materials)
  • A participatory traveling mural project (see info below)
  • A “photo booth” to take your picture with the 2020 book and other props
  • Discussion area with “Conversation Starter” cards related to general themes of Malden Reads books.
  • Read-aloud story times for kids
  • Live acoustic music in the early evening
  • Light refreshments served throughout the day
  • Tours of J Malden Center apartments & residential amenities (schedule coming soon)


11:30 AM – Leigh Perry
Leigh Perry is the author of the Family Skeleton mysteries about an adjunct English professor who moves home and has to confront the Family Skeleton. Named Sid. Sid walks, talks, and tells bad bone jokes. Together, he and Georgia solve crime! Perry describes how she was once asked why she’d chosen to write a mystery series about an ambulatory skeleton. She replied that it was because of the old adage: Write what you know. “After all, we’re all skeletons under the skin. And flesh, and tendons, and all that other messy stuff. After that, the woman decided not to ask me any more questions.”

12:00 PM – Ewa Erdman
Ewa Erdman lives in the Boston area with her dog, Buffy, an adopted 3-legged pit bull who now visits veterans hospitals as a therapy dog. Two articles about Buffy appeared in the Boston Globe, and Erdman expanded the stories about Buffy into a beautifully illustrated children’s book Buffy, The Three-Legged Pit Bull.  Says Erdman, “Buffy is just one of thousands of dogs in our nation’s animal shelters. The lucky ones get adopted. The unlucky ones, through no fault of their own, are lost to us.” The author will be giving a talk at the Holiday Pop-Up accompanied by her dog, Buffy.

1:00 PM – Hester Fox
Hester Fox is the author of two lurid Gothic novels, The Witch of Willow Hall and The Widow of Pale Harbor. Fox is a full-time writer and mother, with a background in museum work and historical archaeology. Most weekends you can find Hester exploring one of the many historic cemeteries in the area, browsing bookshops, or enjoying a seasonal latte while writing at a café. She lives outside of Boston with her husband and their son.


1:30 PM – CD Collins
CD Collins is a poet, author and spoken word artist, originally from Kentucky and currently residing in Malden. She has published a collection of short stories, Blue Land (Polyho Press), a collection of poetry, Self Portrait With Severed Head (Ibbetson Street Press), and a novel, Afterheat (Empty City Press). “CD Collins, a feisty Kentuckian in black gloves draped with silver chains, (part of the) decidedly eclectic crowd in the Writers’ Room of Boston.”— Sally Jacobs, The Boston Globe


2:00 PM – David Surrette
David R. Surette’s new book of poetry is Malden, selected and new poems that feature his hometown  Malden, Massachusetts. He is the author of five other collections including Stable which was named an Honor Book at the 2005 Massachusetts Book Awards.




3:00 PM – Stephanie Schorow
Stephanie is the author, co-author or editor of eight nonfiction books on Boston history, including: Inside the Combat Zone: The Stripped Down Story of Boston’s Most Notorious Neighborhood, and Drinking Boston: A History of the City and Its Spirits, published by Union Park Press , and, with co-author Beverly Ford, The Boston Mob Guide: Hit Men, Hoodlums & Hideouts, published by the History Press. She is an experienced freelance writer, journalist, author, teacher, clay artist, avid gardener and cat lover, and has lived in Boston since 1989.

3:30 PM – Jason Rubin
Jason M. Rubin is an experienced writer who has worked in both corporate and agency settings, as well as doing freelance writing and journalism on the side. His first novel, The Grave and the Gay, was published in 2012, an historical romance based on the 17th-century English folk ballad, “Matty Groves.” In 2019, he published King of Kings about the meeting of (and romance between) King Solomon and Makeda, the queen of Sheba. Both works of historical fiction, Rubin now packages the two short novels into one collection entitled  Ancient Tales, Newly Told. The author lives in Malden, MA.


Take part in a participatory art project!

A work-in-progress for a travelling participatory art project spearheaded by local artist Karyn Alzayer

What books have influenced you throughout your life? What books made an impact on you at a particular age or stage of your life? What books made you think very differently about a subject or the world?

This art project by local artist Karyn Alzayer invites EVERYONE from the Malden community to share the titles & authors of books that had a significant influence on them.

The project will kick off at the “Holiday Pop-up Bookstore & More” event and continue at our Opening Celebration on January 11th. Think about what books YOU would like to add to the giant book!



11:00 – 11:30: Storytime led by Raising a Reader MA in Arabic, Spanish, and English
12:30 – 1:00: Storytime led by the Chinese Culture Connection in Chinese
2:00 – 2:30: Storytime led by Malden Reads (and special guest)




5:00 – 7:00PM; Come in the early evening for light appetizers and live music! Our favorite chef and Malden Reads committee member David Stein will provide the appetizers and then play a short acoustic set with his wife, Sue — some bluesy numbers for the season!



Please support our only 2020 event fundraiser by purchasing raffle tickets — with an opportunity to win a BUNDLE of certificates to some great restaurants & local organizations! RAFFLE PRIZES have been generously donated by:

El Potro Mexican Bar & Grill


Freerange Market

Fresco’s Roast Beef & Seafood


Hugh O’Neill’s

J & R Restaurant and Bakery

Neapoli Cafe

Malden Public Library

MATV (soon to be UMA)



Many thanks to J Malden Center for hosting and supporting this event.

Also, thanks to East Cambridge Savings Bank for donating bags & volunteer help!









Companion Books for 2020


Malden Reads is pleased to announce the selection of companion books for young readers, all of which complement the themes of the 2020 main book selection, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. These books were chosen by a group of educators, librarians, and other individuals in the community offering their support and input.

Relating to Fahrenheit 451, we will explore themes of empowerment, standing up against censorship, and the transformative power of books. Others are storytelling, the power of memory, and building meaningful connections with our neighbors, the community, and the larger world.

Malden Reads will offer these books for students in the Malden Public Schools at no charge, and will provide options to schools to participate in programming, as well as other resource materials. The books will be available at the Malden Public Library for Malden families and in Little Free Libraries throughout the community. The books will be available for purchase at the Malden Reads “Holiday Pop-Up Bookstore & More” one-day event on December 7, 2019, from 11am to 7pm hosted at J Malden Center (190 Pleasant Street, Malden). This is also one of the first public opportunities to visit the new J Malden Center community, which provides luxury apartments and new retail on the ground floor opening soon, and will be the new home of Malden City Hall.


Nonprofit organizations that are interested in receiving a small number of copies of these book selections for use with children should email

Here are the titles and descriptions for the companion books, along with suggested grade levels (which can be adapted based on level of interest and reading level).


The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (Grades 9–12)

Winner of numerous awards including the American Library Association (ALA)’s Best Books for Young Adults and adapted into a feature film, this book was described by The New York Times as “It’s the kind of book that can be life-changing, because without ever denying the essential amorality and randomness of the natural order, The Book Thief offers us a believable hard-won hope…” Common Sense Media states “This book will educate readers about living under Nazi rule, and it will inspire them to think about human nature and why some heroic people are able to put their lives on the line to do what they know is right.”


The Last Book in the Universe by Rodman Philbrick (Grades 6–12)

Newbury Honor author Philbrick’s story is set in an apocalyptic future in which the narrator, a boy with epilepsy, meets an older man who is one of the only people left on earth who appreciate books and literature. Scholastic’s review is as follows: “Both chilling and inspiring, the story is ultimately about those who have the courage to become conscious in a world that invites us to choose illusion and denial. Here is a powerful tale of love, loss, and the challenges we all face to make thoughtful, moral choices.”

Ban This Book by Alan Gratz (Grades 3–6)

Called “A stout defense of the right to read” by Kirkus Reviews, this is a story about a shy fourth grader who fights back after her favorite book has been banned from her school library. A review in School Library Journal is as follows: “The story of Amy Anne’s personal triumph is also a celebration of literature, free speech, and finding one’s voice…Hand this to book lovers, aspiring librarians, or any kid who wants to make a difference.”

The Storyteller by Evan Turk (Grades 2–4)

This book was written up by Kirkus Reviews in a starred review as “The art of storytelling is celebrated as a life-giving force in this enthralling picture book set in Morocco … Original storytelling with the feel of the best folklore.” While many cultures have folktales involving water, the School Library Journal says “this tale is unusual in using water as a metaphor for story: just as we need water to nourish our physical selves, we need stories to feed our spirits.”

Light in the Darkness: A Story about How Slaves Learned in Secret by Lesa Cline-Ransome (Grades 1–2)

Kirkus review summarizes this beautifully illustrated book about a “slave mother and her daughter [who] learn to read in spite of the great danger inherent in their enterprise…Rosa’s mother awakens her at night to walk to a “pit school,” a hole dug in the ground and covered over where slaves gather to learn their ABC’s…In this tale, [the author] makes the point that learning was not just a dream of a few famous and accomplished men and women, but one that belonged to ordinary folk willing to risk their lives.” Booklist calls this book “Dramatic, deep-toned, full-page illustrations, mostly dark because of the nighttime setting, skillfully match the vivid, rich language of the text. The expressive faces of the characters shine through the darkness, clearly conveying the senses of determination, fear, and hope which permeate the story.” In addition to this story being a real-life tie-in with Fahrenheit 451, the Malden Reads committee is thrilled to include an author from Malden on its list of companion books.

Arthur and the Scare-Your-Pants-Off Club by Marc Brown (Grades K–3)

A review in School Library Journal says this book “…deals with an unusual theme for primary-grade audience censorship. Angry parents have demanded that a series of scary books be banned from the public library because they believe they are frightening their children, and Arthur and his friends decide to fight back.”

The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq by Jeanette Winter (Grades K–2)

The School Library Journal’s starred review calls this book “an important story that puts a human face on the victims of war and demonstrates that a love of books and learning is a value that unites people everywhere.” Barnes and Noble gives this overview: “In this incredible true story of a war-stricken country where civilians seem powerless in the face of battle, this feminist and inspirational tale about a librarian’s struggle to save her community’s priceless collection of books reminds us how, throughout the world, the love of literature can unite us all.”

In addition to the books listed above that are companions to Fahrenheit 451, the following are tenth anniversary celebration books:


Wonder by R.J. Palacio (Grades 4–8)

In 2014, Malden Reads selected Wonder by R.J. Palacio as a companion book to the main book selection The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, and we explored themes of self-identity, the power of acceptance, and the power of character, acceptance, and empathy. Current high school students who read Wonder in middle school will have opportunities to read it to middle school students this school year.


We’re All Wonders by R.J. Palacio (Grades PreK–2)

Booktrust says this book “… deals with issues of difference and bullying. The book ends on an uplifting note as Auggie muses that people can learn to see differently, implying that the acceptance he seeks may be closer than he thinks.” We’re All Wonders was read to children at the annual stargazing event in fall 2019, and older students who previously read Wonder will read We’re All Wonders to younger students this school year.

Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña (Grades PreK–2)

Winner of the 2016 Newbery Medal and several other awards, this book celebrates community, family, friendship, inclusivity and diversity, volunteering, and supporting each other – just as Malden Reads does! The Boston Globe wrote: “The sharp illustrations — in bold, and cheerful primaries — get CJ’s restless energy and curious postures exactly right. The voices of CJ and his grandmother carry the story along in subtle point and counterpoint so that at this book’s quiet close you feel like you’ve been listening to a song.”


2020 Book Selection

“Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury

“There must be something in books, something we can’t imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning house.” – Fahrenheit 451

Called ‘the book for our social media age’ by the New York Times, Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 is a gripping story that is at once disturbing and poetic. Bradbury takes the materials of pulp fiction and transforms them into a visionary parable of a society gone awry, in which firemen burn books and the state suppresses learning. Fahrenheit 451 is a ‘masterpiece … everyone should read’ (Boston Globe).”

The Malden Reads team has long been planning to select a classic, and the team is thrilled to choose Fahrenheit 451 for the 10th year of the program, this year known as the “NEA Big Read.” Considered one of the major novels of the 20th century, Fahrenheit 451 has won many awards, including the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature, a Prometheus “Hall of Fame” Award, and a Hugo Award.

What’s the title mean? Bradbury asserts that Fahrenheit 451 is the temperature at which book paper burns. In the dystopian world of the novel, firefighters start fires instead of putting them out, and they burn home libraries, which are forbidden. Fahrenheit 451 follows the growth of fireman Guy Montag, who has begun questioning their way of life: always fast, never thinking or reflecting, and full of technological distractions. (Though published in 1953, the novel eerily foretells ear buds, reality television, and more.) The rest of the book reads like an action thriller, with a message of hope for the future at its end.

In Fahrenheit 451, all books are banned and replaced by sanctioned entertainment to make people not think, have feelings, or have concerns so that they can, therefore, “be happy.”  We know from the protagonist, Guy Montag, and the dissidents he encounters that many people want to explore their memories and feelings and that they are not happy with what they are being fed.


Bradbury stated “You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.”

In the lead-up to our tenth year, Malden Reads participated in Banned Book Week in September, to stand up for Fahrenheit 451 and other banned books (including some previous Malden Reads book selections), beginning the exploration of censorship and how that affects our community.

The 2020 program will continue to look at how censorship is a unifying issue for recent immigrants from countries that repressed their freedom of speech. We will examine the intrusion of media into our lives, loss of privacy, and the distraction of thoughts and feelings. Even though the book is dystopian, we will be celebrating the transformative power of books and meaningful connections among people. Other programs will relate to storytelling, the power of memory, and connections with our neighbors.


Malden Reads Programming

Join the Malden Reads community as they kick off their tenth year with a celebration on January 11, 2020, with a broad selection of activities and programs during the day and evening.

For anyone looking to get a head start with reading the book or purchasing it for a holiday gift can do so on December 7 at the “Malden Reads Pop-up Holiday Bookstore & More,” which will be a one-day fundraiser held at J Malden Center at 190 Pleasant Street. By the kickoff event, library copies will be available in English, Chinese, French, German, and Spanish, along with digital editions (both e-book and audio versions).

In addition, the Malden Reads team has selected companion books for younger readers, sparking a range of programming for children and families related to the themes of Fahrenheit 451.

The Malden Reads committee looks forward to deepening connections in the Malden community. To contact the committee with questions about the book, to collaborate on a program or to volunteer, or to be added to the email newsletter list, please email or use the contact forms on this website.

Companion Books for Younger Readers