The 2022 Fox Cities Reads is in full swing this month! Read below to learn about all of the programs you can still attend this month and why the 2022 Reads selections were picked.


Q&A with Author Tommy Orange

  • May 12, 2022 at 6:30 PM CST at Appleton North High School Auditorium (5000 N Ballard Rd, Appleton, WI)
  • Please wear a mask
  • No tickets, seating will be given on a first-come, first-served basis
  • Sorry, we are unable to offer a virtual option of this event

Event details: Join us for a Q & A session with award-winning author Tommy Orange as part of our selection for the 2022 Fox Cities Reads. Mr. Orange will be signing books after the presentation. Books will be available for purchase at the event courtesy of The Book Store.

Colonialism and Its Impact on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Peoples by Dr. Renee Gralewicz

  • May 17, 2022 at 6:30 PM CST at Elisha D. Smith Public Library (440 1st St, Menasha, WI)

Event details: While not all indigenous history is US history, all US history is indigenous history. For too long indigenous peoples and nations have been defined and described by others. We are placed in the past, as defeated people. Even when depicted in contemporary times, we’re placed in regalia, again reflecting and projecting our past, seldom in the present. This colonial representation affords most US Americans to ignore our present successes and the continued violence enacted upon us. We have become invisible.
This presentation is meant to inform you about some of the tragic effects of colonialism.

About our presenter: Dr. Renee Gralewicz is a descendant of the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohicans and an enrolled member of the Brothertown Nation. Her journey started in Milwaukee and led her across the globe primarily at the courtesy of the United States Army. Dr. Gralewicz considers herself as a Humanist as her formal education degrees are within the social science realm and life experiences immersed her in a variety of cultures including working with Canadian First Nations and migrant workers in Wisconsin. After teaching with UW Colleges since 1997 and retiring from UW Oshkosh in 2020, Renee’s interests are now centered on all issues related to Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two-Spirit peoples.

12 Tribes: A Look into Indigenous Wisconsin with Dr. Renee Gralewicz

  • May 23, 2022 at 6:30 PM at Kaukauna Public Library (207 Thilmany Rd #200, Kaukauna, WI )

Event details: Join us as Brothertown Indian Nation Peacemaker and elder Renee Gralewicz presents short stories about the 12 indigenous tribes currently in Wisconsin. Learn how and when each arrived, as well as some of their current contributions to Wisconsin and the Earth.

Native American Games

  • May 27, 2022 at 4:30 PM at the Little Chute Public Library (625 Grand Ave, Little Chute, WI)
  • For all ages, no registration required

Event details: Join us as we play Native American games. Learn more about Indigenous culture through traditional games.


We asked our 2022 Reads Committee to tell us more about why they selected There There by Tommy Orange and Apple in the Middle by Dawn Quigley as the stories to spark conversation within the Fox Cities this year. Here’s what they had to say:

Ashley Thiem-Menning from Kaukauna Public Library and 2022 Reads Committee Lead:

  • The audiobook presentation of There, There was fantastic and is one of my all-time favorite listens. I love when audiobooks are recorded with different voices for each of the characters, pulling you into the characters’ world and experiences. I listen to at least one audiobook a week and over the years a few voices have really stuck out to me. In There, There the narrator reading Jacquie Red Feather truly brought her to life. It was moving to experience the book through the many voices of the characters that Tommy Orange created. He beautifully wove together their stories and while I knew they would all likely come together at the end, I wasn’t expecting the kind of emotions it would bring. It has been a long time since a book has moved me to ugly cry. At the end of the book, I sat on the floor of my laundry room, too distraught to even fold the clothes I had intended to.

The story he has created may be fiction, but that pain is real and it resonated in me. The realness of that pain made me understand that there was a lot I had to learn about the experience of our Indigenous community members. Ignorance should not be bliss; every inch of the country we call home was first home to tribal nations. We cannot ignore that history, nor can we continue to believe that it has not had an effect on Indigenous people today.

This year I felt the need to advocate for the selection of a second author for a juvenile read. After reading several titles, I ultimately made the recommendation of  Apple in the Middle by Dawn Quigley to the committee. It is evident that the author has a background in education. The book includes an author’s note, an appendix with recipes, and a glossary. I felt it was an incredibly rich offering to our students and community members. But this book is not a light read either. Apple’s coming of age story is a mirror for some of us and a window for others. For me, it was a window into cultural identity struggles. As an individual of European ancestry, I have not experienced these struggles because my identity is validated everywhere. But that is not the case for everyone, and when you have the opportunity to read and empathize with characters that do not have that privilege, it can be an eye-opening experience. For those who live this experience, having books like  Apple in the Middle validates those feelings. There is a recording of Dawn’s presentation on our Facebook page (Fox Cities Book Festival), and I highly recommend you view it.

I will never forget this line in Yaa Gyasi’s book Homegoing: “We believe the one who has the power. He is the one who gets to write the story. So when you study history, you must ask yourself, “Whose story am I missing? Whose voice was suppressed so that this voice could come forth?” The idea behind that quote has stuck with me for years. It has helped me build perspective across all elements of my life as I continue to learn as an adult. There, There gives us the opportunity to learn about how Indigenous people today feel about their own history and identity. It makes us think about intergenerational trauma and how the past can have an effect on us today. Apple in the Middle pairs nicely with There, There because it too speaks to present day native experience, but from the voice of a teenage girl. In her book, Dawn Quigley points out in the afterword the importance of learning directly from Indigenous people. She cites works about the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, which made me think about how much we know about our own local tribes. Throughout this project, our tribal liaison has spoken about the importance of seeing your own history represented. How can we understand if we do not listen to those with experiences that are different than ours? How many of you reading this today know about the tribal history of the land you work, play or live on?

If you did find value in our selections, I also encourage you to also try Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley and In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse by Joseph Marshall. I thoroughly enjoyed both these novels and I learned a lot from them too. Further, if you are not knowledgeable about residential schools, I recommend you watch the PBS special “Unspoken: America’s Native American Boarding Schools” (viewable here) or even read the nonfiction picture book I Am Not A Number by Jenny Kay Dupuis. Further, attend Dr. Renee Gralewicz’s upcoming presentation “Colonialism and Its Impact on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Peoples” at Elisha D. Smith Public Library in Menasha on May 17 at 6:30 PM to help inform you about some of the tragic effects of colonialism. The mission of the Fox Cities Reads has always been for our audience to read, think, talk, listen and grow together as we share a book. Thank you for growing with us.

Shelby Siebers, 2022 Reads Tribal Liaison and Oneida Nation of Wisconsin Cultural Adviser, Native American Support Specialist Appleton Area School District – Diversity Equity and Inclusion Department:

  • Highlighting two Indigenous authors this year for the 2022 Fox Cities Reads Book festival is significant because of the lack of modern-day representation that Indigenous people have in various outlets such as media and literature. By choosing the books There, There and Apple in the Middle, the Fox Cities can start to learn directly from the Indigenous perspective and unlearn common misconceptions and representations of Indigenous people that exist today. Hearing directly from the Indigenous point of view and pedagogy is the way people can start to learn about different cultures than their own. Most importantly, these book selections are integral to Indigenous youth and community as they can begin to see their identities reflected and validated in all sectors of their lives.
Aubrey Laux from Little Chute Public Library and Fox Cities Book Festival President:
  • Books allow us to walk in someone else’s shoes; we get experience life and cultures through inspiring words! It’s a beautiful experience that I am always thankful for. The Fox Cities Reads takes this and makes it even better because we get to do this as a community. Both book selections this year share stories of the Native American experience. The stories highlight moments of hope, of disappointment, and are unafraid to be filter-free in showcasing what it truly means to be Native American. I appreciate the honesty and fearlessness both books possess. Not every moment is a Hallmark story, but each emotional punch taught me more. These selections challenge us to learn and grow together; to take what we have learned and to make the world a better, more accepting place. I am honored to be a part of sharing these two selections with the Fox Cities.

Ana Maria Acosta from Elisha D. Smith Public Library:

  • The Fox Cities Reads initiative has been vital for opening lines of connection, discussion, and building bridges to multiple points of views, different writing styles, diverse stories and variety of fiction and nonfiction works that provided our community with ample space to discover and grow together. When plans for having Tommy Orange and his book There, There for 2022 came to fruition, we at the Elisha D. Smith Public Library – Menasha did not doubt that this opportunity would be precious to celebrate a unique voice from one of the best Native American authors and ponder about the many faceted realities that our Native American communities have dealt in centuries of colonialism. To immerse both adults and younger audiences, Fox Cities Reads paired Mr. Orange’s selection with a great featured author geared toward a younger audience: Dawn Quigley and her novel Apple in the Middle.

The 2022 selections allow the community in the Fox Cities to explore the diversity of American history and culture. It fosters a better understanding of the experiences of Indigenous peoples through literature and cultural events and echoes the importance of our Native American roots in the community we serve.

Melissa Kazmer from Neenah Public Library: 
  • The Fox Cities Reads event for this upcoming year is unlike any other event we have had in its history. This year, the committee has chosen a title by author Tommy Orange. Orange is a citizen of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma. We have chosen the work of an indigenous author to promote a better understanding of the history and identity as well as the struggles that these people have endured. Many do not realize that, currently in the United States, at a minimum, there are 5.2 million American Indians and indigenous peoples with a strong tribal affiliation, and they represent 2% of the North Americana population, according to the 2020 U.S. Census Bureau. What a wonderful way to help expand this community’s understanding of this population by inviting a New York Times bestselling author to our event to help shed the myths regarding this population and to celebrate their culture and history.
Yee Vue from Appleton Public Library: 
  • The 2022 Reads selection represents diversity, inclusion, and learning opportunities. It is important for Indigenous children and adults to see themselves within stories, so they know their own experiences are valued. The authentic representations of themselves and others will help them see new possibilities for their lives. Stories are huge parts of our lives, representing our hopes, dreams and inspiring our ambitions. The two books allow us to learn directly from the Indigenous point of view, culture, and identity.

As always, thanks for supporting our mission to connect writers and readers.

-Aubrey Laux, Fox Cities Book Festival President