Inspired by a similar program at Buffalo Street Books, a consumer-owned cooperative bookshop in Ithaca, NY, we launched our Book Ambassador Program in December 2020. Book Ambassadors have shared some of the books they found to be transformative, inspirational, or just plain fun. Starting in November 2021, this program will become now a joint effort of Rozzie Bound and Friends of the Roslindale Branch Library. We will be choosing six local authors each year to serve as Roslindale Book Ambassadors. You can also find many ambassadors who authored books on our Local Authors’ bookshelf.

September + October 2022: E.B. Bartels

E.B. Bartels is a nonfiction writer, a former Newtonville Books bookseller, and a GrubStreet instructor with an MFA from Columbia University. Her writing has appeared in Catapult, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, The Millions, The Toast, and The Butter, among others. She is the author of Good Grief: On Loving Pets, Here and Hereafter, a narrative nonfiction book about the world of loving and losing animals, exploring the singular nature of our bonds with our companion animals and how best to grieve for them once they’ve passed away. E.B. lives in Massachusetts with her husband, Richie, and their many pets.

July + August 2022: Jabari Asim

Jabari Asim is an author, poet, playwright, and associate professor of writing, literature, and publishing at Emerson College. Asim has served as the editor-in-chief of Crisis magazine—the NAACP’s flagship journal of politics, culture, and ideas— and as an editor at The Washington Post, where he wrote a syndicated column on politics, popular culture, and social issues. His writing has appeared in EssenceThe Baffler, the Los Angeles Times, the New York TimesThe New RepublicAmerican ProspectYale Review, and elsewhere. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in Creative Arts and is the author of eight books for adults—including Yonder—and thirteen books for children. His debut book of poems, Stop and Frisk, was published in 2020. His latest books for young readers, Me And Muhammad Ali and A Child’s Introduction to Jazz.

May+June 2022: Michael Lowenthal

Michael Lowenthal has published four novels—The Same Embrace, Avoidance, Charity Girl, and The Paternity Test—and a story collection, Sex with Strangers. His shorter work has appeared in Tin House, Ploughshares, the New York Times Magazine, Guernica, and The Southern Review. The recipient of fellowships from the Bread Loaf writers’ conference, the MacDowell Colony, and the Mass Cultural Council, he has taught since 2003 in the low-residency MFA program at Lesley University. Before publishing his own work, Lowenthal was an editor at University Press of New England, where he founded the Hardscrabble Books imprint, publishing such authors as Chris Bohjalian, W.D. Wetherell, and Ernest Hebert. He lives in Roslindale.  

March+April 2022: Jennifer Haigh

Jennifer Haigh’s new critically acclaimed novel, Mercy Street, is set at an embattled women’s health clinic during Boston’s Snowpocalypse, the unforgettable winter of 2015. Her earlier books include the novels Heat and Light, Faith, The Condition, Baker Towers and Mrs. Kimble, and the short-story collection News From Heaven.  Her work has been recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and has been published in eighteen languages.

Jan-Feb 2022: Neema Avashia

Neema Avashia was born and raised in southern West Virginia, the child of Indian immigrants who moved to Appalachia for work in the chemical industry. She has lived in Jamaica Plain for the last 19 years and has worked as a teacher in the Boston Public Schools for just as long. Her essays have appeared in publications such as Catapult, The Bitter Southerner, Lithub and can also be found at  www.neemaavashia.com. She is a frequent contributor to WBUR’s Cognoscenti. Her first book, Another Appalachia: Coming Up Queer and Indian in a Mountain Place, is being published by WVU Press.

Nov-Dec 2021: Ladette Randolph

Ladette Randolph is the author of four books: two novels: Haven’s Wake and A Sandhills Ballad, and a short story collection, This is Not the Tropics, and a memoir. She has a new novel, Private Way, due out in March 2022. In addition, she is the editor of three anthologies: A Different Plain, The Big Empty, and Omnibus I: Ploughshares Solos. She is editor-in-chief of the journal  Ploughshares and on the faculty at Emerson College. A long-time Nebraskan, Ladette spent her childhood in the same part of west-central Nebraska where her family lived for five generations. She now lives in Boston with her husband, Noel Eicher.

October 2021: Rebecca Pacheco

Rebecca Pacheco, is the author of two books: Still Life: The Myths and Magic of Mindful Living, published by HarperCollins in August, and Do Your Om Thing (2015), which was named one of the “top ten yoga and meditation books every yogi needs” by Yoga Journal and is used in teacher training programs across the United States. She has more than 20 years of experience practicing and teaching yoga and meditation and has appeared on NPR and The CBC and been featured in Forbes, The Huffington Post, Reuters, and more. She frequently contributes to the Boston Globe on a range of mind-body topics and is a graduate of the University of Richmond, where she studied English Literature and Women’s Studies. She lives in Roslindale with her husband and daughter. You can learn more about Rebecca at: https://rebeccapacheco.com/.

Rebecca has generously shared some of the books that have inspired her including classics of literature, books on spirituality and philosophy, poetry, the natural world, as well as writing & creativity.  She has also shared her thoughts about most of these selections and why they are important to her.

Everything Inside: Danticat, Edwidge

July/August 2021: Yves Mary Jean

At Rozzie Bound, we love to celebrate local authors representing the rich diversity of our neighborhood and one way we do that is through our monthly Book Ambassador program.  Our ambassador for July 2021 is the inimitable Yves Mary Jean!  Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti in 1981, Yves is a poet, novelist and political activist who recently published his first novel in Haitian-Creole, Tout Chen Pa Chen Nan Pòtoprens (Edisyon Lank Zetwal, 2020).  On this shelf, you will find a selection of books by some of Yves most cherished Haitian authors.

June 2021: City Councilor Ricardo Arroyo

A passionate advocate for racial justice and equity, District 5 City Councilor Ricardo Arroyo is also an avid reader.  We’re excited to welcome him as our Book Ambassador for June 2021 and share with you some of the books that have inspired his life in public service.  Arroyo believes that “collaborative politics… can achieve stronger economies, quality schools, affordable housing, safe neighborhoods, and healthy communities when we put people first by making sure that all people are seen, and all voices are heard.”  You can find his contact information at https://www.boston.gov/departments/city-council/ricardo-arroyo.

May 2021: Chuck Collins

This month we celebrate local author, scholar, and activist Chuck Collins!  A resident of Jamaica Plain, Chuck is director of the Institute for Policy Studies’ Program on Inequality and the Common Good and co-edits Inequality.org.  He is the author of the books, Is Inequality in America Irreversible? and Born on Third Base: A One Percenter Makes the Case for Tackling Inequality, Bringing Wealth Home and Committing to the Common Good (Chelsea Green, 2016), which you can find on our local author shelf

April 2021: Louise Miller

Fellow Rozzident, professional pastry chef, and critically acclaimed author Louise Miller is Rozzie Bound’s Book Ambassador for April 2021 and we could not be more excited!  The author of ‘The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living’ and ‘The Late Bloomer’s Club’ has shared some of the novels, essays, and poetry that have inspired her, as well as books on creativity, meditation, floral design, vegetarian cooking, and of course baking!  You can learn more about Louise at http://www.louisemiller.net/ and follow her on Twitter @Louisthebaker. 

March 2021: Solera Shrine to Wine

Solera Shrine to Wine is Roslindale’s beloved, locally owned wine and beer store. If you have ever stepped into this charming shop on Birch Street, you have likely chatted with Michael, Marjorie, or Maria about literature, poetry, history, or politics!  You may have also heard some original poetry from Michael. Now you can take a look at some of the books they most cherish. To learn more about the shop or to order a “Quarantine Combo” for in store pick up or delivery, please visit https://solerashrinetowine.com/

December 2020: ComedySportz Boston

Our inaugural Book Ambassador is ComedySportz Boston, which “uses improv and comedy to create exceptional and unique experiences.” Their mission is to engage people in an environment built on fun and play and empower people to live their best possible lives.

Housed in the Rozzie Square Theatre at 5 Basile Street, CSz is currently operating virtually, offering fun and engaging improv classes and comedy competitions. Their customizable workshops can strengthen your organization through creative problem solving, team building, storytelling, and leadership and culture building. For more info about their corporate trainings, please visit: https://www.cszboston.com/virtual-training