Charlotte Mecklenburg Library announces the return of Community Read in March 2024 with a focus on creating community dialogue around themes of food as a community and cultural connector. Community Read is the Library’s month-long effort to have the community read (or listen) to books of current and relevant topics and participate in discussions, book clubs and events hosted by the Library and community partners. The signature title, Buttermilk Graffiti by Edward Lee, includes a scheduled appearance by the author on March 19, 2024.


Adults are encouraged to read and discuss the main title, and the Library selected companion titles for children and teens including:





Everyone in the community can participate: read a book, share perspectives, attend a program, engage on social media and build a stronger community together.  #communityread2024 






Our Community Partners

Belle Johnston Community Center  
Blumenthal Performing Arts Center • Carolina Youth Coalition • CBI  
Center City Partners • Charlotte Bilingual Preschool  
Charlotte History Museum • Charlotte Lit 
​​​​Child Care Resources, Inc.  
City of Charlotte Community Engagement • City of Charlotte  
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools • Communities in Schools
Community Culinary School of Charlotte • Community Link
Cornelius Police Department • Covenant Presbyterian Church
Central Piedmont Community College • Community Matters Cafe
Davidson Police Department • Discovery Place • GenerationNation
 Hope Street Food Pantry 
The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture  
Humane Society of Charlotte • Huntersville Police Department • International House ​​​​​​
Johnson C. Smith University • Johnson & Wales University 
Levine Museum of the New South ​​​​​​• MCBCC 
Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office 
Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation
Mecklenburg Soil and Water Conservation • Mint Hill Police Department  
Mint Museum​​​​​​​ • NourishUp ​​​​​​• Our Bridge ​​​​​​​• Our Daily Bread Foundation ​​​​​​​
Pass the Peace Feast ​​​​​​​• PBS ​​​​​​​• Pineville Neighbors Place​​​​​​​ 
Pineville Police Department ​​​​• Promise Youth Development
Queens University of Charlotte • Read Your Heart Out
The Relatives • Refugee Support Services
 Second Harvest Food Bank • Second Ward Foundation ​​​​​​ ​​​​​ ​​​​​​ 
Super G Mart​​​​​​​ • Sugar Creek Charter School 
Teen Health Connection ​​​​​​​• Time Out Youth ​​​​​​​• Trinity Episcopal School 
University of North Carolina at Charlotte ​​​​​​​• University City Partners
VisART Video •  ​​YMCA of Greater Charlotte • YWCA Central Carolinas



Community Read FAQs

Have questions about Community Read? View our FAQs page.

FAQ Page


Be counted!

We hope to engage 100,000 people - 10% of Mecklenburg County! - in Community Read 2024. If your book club, classroom or organization has discussed one of the books or participated as a group in a program, please let us know so we can count you! 

If you are interested in becoming a community partner to host events, discussions or events during Community Read 2024, please reach out to Meryle Leonard at [email protected]





Get the Books


Get a Book Club Basket


Hosting a Community Read Book Club? Don’t forget your Book Club Basket! Baskets are designed to enhance your book club meeting experience and include delicious snacks and treats for your enjoyment. Baskets will be sent to your preferred library location and available while supplies last.


Order your basket


Take our Beanstack Challenge


Log your reading and activity time using the Beanstack tracker and track your progress. Log in to your existing Beanstack account from Summer Break or create a new one and take the Community Read challenge.


Take the Challenge


Make new Memories


Our Food Story is an interactive cookbook created for the 2024 Community Read program that encourages everyone to not only read our signature book titles, but to use them as inspiration to create their own food story with family and friends. Each book features a mixture of prompted questions pertaining to food and community alongside blank pages to capture unique recipes.

Grab a copy at any Library location while supplies last only.


Participate in a Program


Register for one of our Library and community partner led programs all month long.


Library-led programs and events

 Partner-led programs and events


Buttermilk Graffiti

by Edward Lee

American food is the story of mash-ups. Immigrants arrive, cultures collide, and out of the push-pull come exciting new dishes and flavors. But for Edward Lee, who, like Anthony Bourdain or Gabrielle Hamilton, is as much a writer as he is a chef, that first surprising bite is just the beginning. What about the people behind the food? What about the traditions, the innovations, the memories?

A natural-born storyteller, Lee decided to hit the road and spent two years uncovering fascinating narratives from every corner of the country. There’s a Cambodian couple in Lowell, Massachusetts, and their efforts to re-create the flavors of their lost country. A Uyghur café in New York’s Brighton Beach serves a noodle soup that seems so very familiar and yet so very exotic—one unexpected ingredient opens a window onto an entirely unique culture. A beignet from Café du Monde in New Orleans, as potent as Proust’s madeleine, inspires a narrative that tunnels through time, back to the first Creole cooks, then forward to a Korean rice-flour hoedduck and a beignet dusted with matcha.

Sixteen adventures, sixteen vibrant new chapters in the great evolving story of American cuisine. And forty recipes, created by Lee, that bring these new dishes into our own kitchens.


Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet

by Laekan Zea Kemp


A story of first love, familial expectations, the power of food, and finding where you belong.


Penelope Prado has always dreamed of opening her own pastelería next to her father's restaurant, Nacho's Tacos. But her mom and dad have different plans—leaving Pen to choose between disappointing her traditional Mexican American parents or following her own path. When she confesses a secret she's been keeping, her world is sent into a tailspin. But then she meets a cute new hire at Nacho's who sees through her hard exterior and asks the questions she's been too afraid to ask herself.


Xander Amaro has been searching for home since he was a little boy. For him, a job at Nacho's is an opportunity for just that—a chance at a normal life, to settle in at his abuelo's, and to find the father who left him behind. But when both the restaurant and Xander's immigrant status are threatened, he will do whatever it takes to protect his newfound family and himself.


Together, Pen and Xander must navigate first love and discovering where they belong in order to save the place they all call home.



Community Read 2024: "Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet" Readalikes


Measuring Up

by Lily LaMotte


Twelve-year-old Cici has just moved from Taiwan to Seattle, and the only thing she wants more than to fit in at her new school is to celebrate her grandmother, A-má’s, seventieth birthday together.


Since she can’t go to A-má, Cici cooks up a plan to bring A-má to her by winning the grand prize in a kids’ cooking contest to pay for A-má’s plane ticket! There’s just one problem: Cici only knows how to cook Taiwanese food.


And after her pickled cucumber debacle at lunch, she’s determined to channel her inner Julia Child. Can Cici find a winning recipe to reunite with A-má, a way to fit in with her new friends, and somehow find herself too?



Community Read 2024: "Measuring Up" readalikes


Thank You, Omu!

by Oge Mora


Everyone in the neighborhood dreams of a taste of Omu's delicious stew! One by one, they follow their noses toward the scrumptious scent. And one by one, Omu offers a portion of her meal. Soon the pot is empty. Has she been so generous that she has nothing left for herself?


Debut author-illustrator Oge Mora brings a heartwarming story of sharing and community to life in colorful cut-paper designs as luscious as Omu's stew, with an extra serving of love. An author's note explains that "Omu" (pronounced AH-moo) means "queen" in the Igbo language of her parents, but growing up, she used it to mean "Grandma."



Community Read 2024: "Thank You, Omu" readalikes

Meet the Authors


Come meet Lily LaMotte, the author of the 2024 Community Read middle grade selection, Measuring Up. Listen to Ms. LaMotte speak about the inspiration for her book, writing a graphic novel and how food connects us to community. Copies of her book will be available for purchase. No registration required but tickets will be handed out on a first come, first serve basis, beginning no sooner than 4:30 p.m. as room is limited. 


Learn more


Come meet Oge Mora, the author of the 2024 Community Read picture book selection, Thank You, Omu! Listen to Ms. Mora speak about the inspiration for her book and how food connects us to community. Copies of her book will be available for purchase. No registration required but tickets will be handed out on a first come, first serve basis,  beginning no sooner than 4:30 p.m. as room is limited. 


Learn more


Celebrate reading and join Laekan Zea Kemp, author of our Community Read teen companion title, Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet. There will be three opportunities to connect with the author and all can be accessed online for free:


March 11 - Online Author Talk

March 14 - Teens Live on Instagram

March 26 - Teen Book Club


Learn more