Silicon Valley Reads 2019

Silicon Valley Reads 2019 banner


We are excited to announce that Silicon Valley Reads 2019 will feature three nationally-prominent authors who will share their stories of how their lives changed when they learned new and unexpected things about their families. The theme is “Finding Identity In Family History.”

Everyone has a family history – some they know and some they have yet to discover. The surging popularity of genealogy research is encouraging more people than ever to find out more about their ancestors and how their actions and decisions affect who we are today.

Silicon Valley Reads is proud to engage our community in a discussion of this fascinating topic and to introduce readers to three outstanding books that tell the personal stories of individuals whose lives were changed as a result of learning new and unexpected things about their families. See SCCLD's Silicon Valley Reads calendar of events. There are also many other events happening throughout Santa Clara County.

Beginning January 15, 2019, register for the SVR 2019 Reading Program. Read and log a Silicon Valley Reads book, then contribute to the Family Gallery to be entered to win family packs to Monster Jam and Disney on Ice to create your own fun family memories. Family Gallery Coming Soon...

Finding Samuel Lowe
by Paula Madison

Madison’s book, Finding Samuel Lowe, describes growing up in Harlem and feeling that her family was somehow different from the African-American families around her. Her quest to learn more about her mother’s roots in Jamaica leads to the discovery of a Chinese grandfather and eventually reconnection with 300 long-lost relatives in China.

Bookcover: Finding Samuel Lowe

It's All Relative
by A.J. Jacobs

It’s All Relative chronicles Jacobs’ three-year adventure to help build the biggest family tree in history, starting with his own 80,000+ “cousins” identified in a genealogy database. As with his other bestselling books The Year of Living Biblically and Drop Dead Healthy, Jacobs uses humor and his own personal story to provide the reader with information and encouragement to explore on their own.

Bookcover: It's All Relative

The Stranger In My Genes
by Bill Griffeth

In The Stranger In My Genes, Griffeth, the co-anchor of “Nightly Business Report” produced by CNBC for U.S. public television, is shaken to the core when he discovers through a DNA test that the family tree he had spent years researching was not his own.  The book follows his journey of discovery about his ancestors and how this new knowledge changes him and his family.
Bookcover: Stranger In My Genes

Children's Companion Books


Alma and How She Got Her Name
by Juana Martinez-Neal

Grades Pre-K to 3

If you ask her, Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela has way too many names: six! How did such a small person wind up with such a large name? Alma turns to Daddy for an answer and learns of Sofia, the grandmother who loved books and flowers; Esperanza, the great-grandmother who longed to travel; José, the grandfather who was an artist; and other namesakes, too. As she hears the story of her name, Alma starts to think it might be a perfect fit after all — and realizes that she will one day have her own story to tell.

Alma and How She Got Her Name Book Cover

The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond 
by Brenda Woods

Grades 4 to 7

Violet is biracial, but she lives with her white mother and sister, attends a mostly white school in a white town, and sometimes feels like a brown leaf on a pile of snow. Now that she's eleven, she feels it's time to learn about her African American heritage, so she seeks out her paternal grandmother. When Violet is invited to spend two weeks with her new Bibi (Swahili for "grandmother") and learns about her lost heritage, her confidence in herself grows and she discovers she's not a shrinking Violet after all.
The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond Book Cover

Picture Us In The Light 
by Kelly Loy Gilbert

Grades 8 and up

Danny Cheng has always known his parents have secrets. But when he discovers a taped-up box in his father's closet filled with old letters and a file on a powerful Silicon Valley family, he realizes there's much more to his family's past than he ever imagined.

When Danny digs deeper into his parents' past, he uncovers a secret that disturbs the foundations of his family history and the carefully constructed façade his parents have maintained begins to crumble. With everything he loves in danger of being stripped away, Danny must face the ghosts of the past in order to build a future that belongs to him.

Picture Us in the Light Book Cover

Silicon Valley Reads (SVR) is an annual community engagement program presented by Santa Clara County Library District, San José Public Library and Santa Clara County Office of Education. Each year, the program collaborates with community organizations to promote reading and literacy and to engage the community in dialogue about themes in a selected book or books that are relevant to Silicon Valley. Events will be scheduled throughout Santa Clara County with activities for all age groups. For more information, visit the website

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