The Fox Cities Book Festival is happy to announce that, Salt to the Sea, by best-selling author Ruta Sepetys has been selected for the 2018 Fox Cities Reads, which is a one book, one community reading program.

Salt to the Sea takes place in 1945 during World War II. The war is drawing to a close in East Prussia and refugees are desperate to make it out. The story is told in alternating points of view, among them, Joana, Emilia, Florian and Alfred, whose paths are forced together on their route to the ship that they hope, will provide them with the freedom they deserve. Readers follow the characters as they struggle to their goal, the Wilhelm Gustloff, which is not the salvation that they had hoped it to be. School Library Journal gave the title a starred review stating, “Sepetys’s exploration of this little-known piece of history will leave readers weeping.”

Ruta Sepetys is an internationally acclaimed author of historical fiction and is considered a “crossover” novelist as her books are read by both students and adults. Her novels, Between Shades of Gray and Out of the Easy are both New York Times bestsellers and her latest novel, Salt to the Sea, is also the winner of the Carnegie Medal. Born in Michigan to a Lithuanian refugee, she was raised in a family of artists, readers, and music lovers.  Prior to publishing her first novel, she spent twenty years in the music industry.  Ruta has also been awarded The Rockefeller Foundation’s prestigious Bellagio Resident Fellowship for Salt to the Sea and was recently bestowed the Cross of the Knight of the Order by the President of Lithuania for her contributions to education and memory preservation.

Ruta Sepetys will be presenting at four locations around the Fox Valley. The public is invited to Kaukauna High School on April 12 at 12:45p for a presentation. There will be an evening presentation at Appleton North High School on Thursday, April 12 at 6:30p. The Reader’s Loft will sell copies and host a book signing after her public presentation on Thursday evening. She will also have a public presentation at Appleton Public Library on Friday, April 13 at 10:00a and Thomas Lyons Fine Books will sell copies of her book and host a book signing. Ruta Sepetys will also meet with Neenah High School students on April 13 at 2:00p though this session is not open to the public..

Menasha Public Library Adult Services Supervisor, Joe Bongers, believes that Salt to the Sea is a compelling book that highlights one of the struggles of our world that is still relevant today.  “The Fox Cities is becoming an increasingly diverse community, which makes it more important than ever that we look for opportunities like this to create conversations around these issues,” states Bongers.  Assistant Director, Ashley Thiem-Menning, Kaukauna Public Library, brought the title to the committee for consideration because she felt that the book paired well with the social, cultural and political climate today.  “Salt to the Sea is an extremely emotional refugee story. I think that it is important for people to read accounts, even fictionalized, of refugees, so that people can understand and empathize with those that are caught in situations that are beyond their control. ” The Fox Cities Reads is a collaborative project of Fox Cities Book Festival in partnership with the public libraries of the Fox Cities: Appleton, Kaukauna, Kimberly-Little Chute, Neenah, and Menasha.

Readers are encouraged to pick up a copy of the book and participate in discussions and events leading up to the author’s visit to the Fox Cities on April 12 and 13, 2018.


Kaukauna High School April 12th at 12:45 p, public presentation and book signing

Appleton North High School April 12th at 6:30p, public presentation and book signing

Appleton Public Library April 13th at 10:00a, public presentation and book signing

Neenah High School April 13th at 2:00p (school visit)

If you would like more information about this topic, please call Joe at 920-967-3690 or email him at