Highland Reads: Freedom To Be

We can’t gather together to explore ideas, but we can grow through a shared library! During each season of our Year of Freedom, we are recommending books for adults and children that can help spark conversation and ignite curiosity.

For this season (Freedom to Be), adults have two options: Daily Prayer with the Corrymeela Community and The Book of Delights. For our children, we invite families to read The Invisible String and The Big Umbrella.


Daily Prayer with the Corrymeela Community by Pádraig Ó Tuama draws on the spiritual practices of Northern Ireland’s longest established peace and reconciliation organization. For over fifty years, it has been bringing fractured communities together and resourcing others in the work of healing conflict. At the heart of its life is a simple pattern of daily worship. This prayer book captures the essence of the Corrymeela prayer experience to help you incorporate its spirituality into your practice of prayer. Structured over 31 days, it offers a daily Bible reading with accompanying prayer by Pádraig Ó Tuama. as well as an introduction to the spirituality that sustains Corrymeela’s remarkable work. Click here to purchase this book online from Carmichael’s Bookstore.


The Book of Delights: Essays by Ross Gay showcases today’s most original literary voices offers up a genre-defying volume of lyric essays written over one tumultuous year. The first nonfiction book from award-winning poet Ross Gay is a record of the small joys we often overlook in our busy lives. More than anything other subject, Gay celebrates the beauty of the natural world—his garden, the flowers peeking out of the sidewalk, the hypnotic movements of a praying mantis. The Book of Delights is about our shared bonds, and the rewards that come from a life closely observed. These remarkable pieces serve as a powerful and necessary reminder that we can, and should, stake out a space in our lives for delight. Click here to purchase this book online from Carmichael’s Bookstore.


The Invisible String by Patrice Karst
In this season of COVID-19 where everything about our children’s worlds has been turned upside down—from daily rhythms to interaction with teachers and peers and extended family to the halting of birthday parties and gathering at church—we need reminders that we are not alone. The Invisible String reminds us that even when we cannot be with those we care about as we are used to; love remains and connects us even when we are apart. The image of the invisible string will give your child the freedom to grieve and name their sadness, while also bringing comfort and hope. Click here to purchase this book online from Carmichael’s Bookstore.


The Big Umbrella by Amy June Bates and co-written by Juniper Bates
As we think about the “Freedom to Be ______” in the days ahead, this delightful book with an economy of words and thought-provoking images will encourage children to enjoy the freedom to be the unique person they were created to be and to allow others the freedom to be the same. Written by a middle schooler and her mother, we are reminded that when the rain comes, the umbrella is big enough to cover all of us just as we are. Click here to purchase this book online from Carmichael’s Bookstore.


In this COVID-19 season, we encourage you to order your books online at Carmichael’s Bookstore so that we might support this vital local business. While Amazon may be quicker, you can place your order online and either pick them up at the store or request that they deliver them to your home.