The SCV library’s ‘One Story One City’ program returns with a new novel

Santa Clarita City Hall, as pictured on February, 26, 2020, is located on the 23900 block of Valencia Blvd. Dan Watson/The Signal

By Mayor Cameron Smyth

The beauty of a good novel is the way it allows us to connect with other people, explore new cultures, venture to new locations and much more. Last year, the Santa Clarita Public Library’s One Story One City Program invited the community to read “The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane” by Lisa See, which gave a glimpse into the enduring bond between a mother and a daughter.

This March, the program returns with “Gods of Jade and Shadow” by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. One Store One City will give residents the opportunity to read and discuss this mythical story while also participating in a variety of events all centering around the novel’s main themes. 

“Gods of Jade and Shadow” follows protagonist Casiopea Tun, a young woman stuck cleaning the floors of her wealthy grandfather’s home, while everyone around her seems to be enjoying the ritzy fun of the Jazz Age.

She dreams of getting far away from her small town in Mexico, which seems impossible, until stumbling upon a mysterious box in her grandfather’s bedroom. Letting her curiosity guide her, Casiopea opens the box and accidentally frees an ancient spirit of the Mayan god of death.

The spirit requests her assistance in reclaiming his throne from his deceitful brother, thus beginning her harrowing cross-country and cross-dimensional quest. Success in the journey will deliver the life that Casiopea has always longed for, but failure will have grave consequences.

Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s gripping story, which is rooted in Mexican folklore and Mayan mythology, focuses on important subjects such as love, culture and identity.

Please note that the novel does contain some mature themes and is not suitable for children.

To join in on the One Story One City fun, start by checking out a copy of the novel from your local Santa Clarita Public Library branch. “Gods of Jade and Shadow” is available in both eBook and audio formats as well. Hard copies are also available for purchase from the program partner, Valencia Barnes & Noble.

Coinciding with your reading of “Gods of Jade and Shadow” is a series of exciting and interactive events throughout the month of March. The series kicks off with an open discussion with the award-winning author Silvia Moreno-Garcia on Saturday, March 7, at 11 a.m.

The author talk will take place at the Newhall Family Theatre, where she will give insights into her writing process, highlights from “Gods of Jade and Shadow” and answer questions from the audience.

Other themed events throughout March include Mayan mug decorating, a visit to the Museum of Latin American Art, Ballet Folklorico dance performances, a scavenger hunt, Mayan yoga and more. Film fans are also invited to attend a Latin American Film Series at The MAIN in Old Town Newhall, with each viewing inspired by events in the novel.

Both Santa Clarita residents and visitors alike are encouraged to get involved in a wide variety of events. Your participation may open the door to new skills, cultural knowledge and friendships with other book lovers.

The Santa Clarita Public Library’s One Story One City Program promotes reading and connecting a community with its focus on one story every year. Each selected novel sheds light on important themes and inspiring subjects that create a lasting impression. For more information on the program and all upcoming  book-themed events, visit SantaClarita

Mayor Cameron Smyth is a member of the Santa Clarita City Council and can be reached at [email protected]. The views expressed in her column are those of the city and do not necessarily reflect those of The Signal. 

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