ALL ABOUT HOPE WAS HERE
"You know what I like most about waitressing? When I'm doing it, I'm not
thinking that much about myself. I'm thinking about other people. I'm
learning again and again what it takes to make a difference in other people's lives."
-- Hope Yancey, Hope Was Here
What is it about hope that keeps us going? I think it keeps our eyes on better days
to come. When I wrote Hope Was Here, I never imagined that a whole community
would read it. I admit, there were a few days--okay, months--when I wondered if I'd
even finish the third draft. And yet, there I was in Saginaw, Michigan, last September
surrounded by thousands of children, teenagers, and adults who had indeed read my book.
How did they find it? Not the usual way. A few community volunteers knew this town
needed hope after a series of tragic deaths of local teenagers. They typed "hope"
into the Google search engine and found my novel. The thought of that still staggers me.
Would I come, they asked, and speak to the community who was going
to be reading my book over the summer?
I'll never forget that day in Saginaw. It was the day that showed
me how stories connect us. I met my oldest reader -a 93 year old-
woman; I spoke to 1700 high school students gathered in their
gymnasium. I met parents who had lost children in tragic accidents
and were trying to keep going. I met business people who read the
book in groups during their lunch hours. I met a teacher who worked
with mentally handicapped young people who read the book aloud to
her class and patiently explained the story so those students
could take part in the event. Several months after that visit, I'm
told the hope is still growing.
In Saginaw I learned something so powerful about writing. A book comes alive as people
add their stories to it. The people of Saginaw layered their stories of hope onto mine
and made it richer than anything I could have envisioned. They will forever be part of Hope Was Here.
One Book/One City Programs
Saginaw, Michigan chose Hope Was Here for a city-wide read during the summer and fall
of 2002 to help the town heal after a series of tragic deaths of several high school students in car accidents.
The Saginaw HOPE projects included:
- Hope Conquers A Community by Janet Martineau, the Saginaw News
"Hope is spreading across all of Saginaw--from beauty shops to church confirmation classes,
from financial advisers to residents of a retirement home, from a juvenile detention center
to a freshman class at a high school. "How many of the books have we ordered?...well, we've sort
of lost count," says Mary James, one of the owners of the Children's Book Company (in town)...It's
amazing how Saginaw County has taken this up. The book seems to have hit a chord with people.
It's not a heavy duty self-help book but just a good story with well-drawn characters learning
to cope with life..." Click here.
- "A project featuring one book and more that 1,000 copies of it passed all around town
is the winner of this year's Critic's Choice Award given to the single most significant
arts/cultural event of the year..." Click here.
- Author Joan Bauer helps students cope with loss...Click here.
- 'Hope' Comes to Saginaw..."Author Joan Bauer can't wait to get to Saginaw and
actually sink her teeth into one of the Keep Hoping sandwiches she concocted in her mind
in her award-winning book, Hope Was Here"...Click here.
- building a bridge to hope in the spot where two of the teens died
- local restaurants serving the "Keep Hoping" sandwich from the story
- school dances kicking off the 2002-2003 school year
Hope in Portland
In May The Oregonian Junior Book Club chose Hope Was Here for
their monthly selection. Here are two great articles by Christine
Hunt of the Oregonian.
here for an article about Hope and for the link to the
members discussion, just
Several discussion guides are available on-line for Hope Was Here:
- For Readers: Two excellent guides (one for adults, one for youth) were
written by Rev. Dr. Mark J. Molldrem of Saginaw, Michigan and used
widely during the city-wide event.
- For Teachers: Enhanced Reading Guide by Robert C. Bergstrom.
- Penguin Putnam Discussion Guide of Rules of the Road, Backwater,
and Hope Was Here by Dr. Teri Lesesne. Click here
Need the recipe for the Keep Hoping Sandwich? You can find it
in THIS AND THAT.
Check back to learn how other communities, school districts, and
corporations are planning to use Hope Was Here to bring people
If you're interested in bringing Hope Was Here to your
larger community, contact us at letters at JoanBauer.com.
When HOPE gets released in a place, all kinds of things
copyright 2003 Joan Bauer