Shades of Brown Newsletter

The Shades Of Brown newsletter is a bimonthly newsletter and is available in physical and digital formats. You can find the most recent issues here.

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Friends Book Reviews

Book Review events will resume in October. Please check back for more information.

Recent Reviews

Marilouise Mazzante reviewed The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison Weir

May Book Review

On Friday, May 3, Dr. Christina Steinbacher-Reed, Executive Director of BLaST Intermediate Unit 17, will review Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer.

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants is a soul-stirring read that explores the reciprocal relationship between humans and the natural world. This beautifully crafted New York Times Best Seller illuminates the interconnectedness of all living beings. 


Author Robin Wall Kimmerer is a self-described traveler between the scientific and traditional ways of knowing. Kimmerer, who holds a PhD in Botany and is a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, uses lyrical prose to weave together indigenous wisdom, scientific insights, and personal anecdotes to teach us about nature’s gifts, and our responsibility to those gifts.

Kimmerer shares stories of giving and receiving, illustrating the importance of reciprocity between humans and the land. Braiding Sweetgrass is more than a book on plants. For the reader who accepts Kimmerer’s invitation to explore the relationship between people and the land, it’s a reflective journey that will leave them evaluating their
place in the world.

Dr. Steinbacher-Reed is the Executive Director of BLaST Intermediate Unit 17, an education service agency that transforms lives and communities through educational service. Dr. Steinbacher-Reed holds a doctorate in school leadership through Drexel University and a master’s degree in science education. With over 25 years in education, Dr. Steinbacher-Reed has served in many roles including teacher, administrator, consultant, and Fulbright Scholar – but her favorite role continues to be that of lead learner. 


She attributes her appreciation for the natural world to her childhood when she spent countless hours building forest forts, catching crayfish, and making mud pies. In her free time, Christina can be found hiking and backpacking – and she still stops to look for crayfish. Christina lives in Williamsport with her husband, Mike, and their two children, Gavin and Calissa. 


The review begins at 12:15p.m. in the Lowry Room of the Welch Family Wing of the James V. Brown Library with a Q&A from 12:45-1:00 p.m. Complimentary snacks and bottled water will be available. Attendees are also welcome to bring their own lunch. Reservations are required due to space considerations. Please call the library at 570-326-0536 or use the library’s online reservation calendar ( before 3:00PM on Wednesday, May 1. Parking is available in the public lot off Market Street, adjacent to the Welch Wing.