On Saturday, Mick Cochrane, author of "The Girl Who Threw Butterflies," chatted with the audience in Cheektowaga Central High School.

Cochrane was part of a conglomerate of events made possible by Superintendent Dennis Kane, school librarians Jan Suda, Colleen Goodwin and Alicia Thompson, district staff and student volunteers.

A few months earlier, the youngest student within a family was given a copy of Cochrane's novel. After they were finished reading the book, they were to pass it on to the next member in their family. The goal of the project was to have everyone reading and sharing.

Fast-forward a few months later. Cochrane's novel brought students, families and teachers together for one final celebration of family reading at the district's first Cheektowaga Reads One Book Together event.
The event, aside from meeting the author, included a display of high school art works of acrylic baseball paintings, ceramic butterflies and graphic book covers related to the novel. Other events included finger painting and storytelling.

The event extended outside to the school's front lawn. School clubs and outside organizations such as Read, Success, Buffalo were set up along the school's bus loop. Concession stands offered free hot dogs, cotton candy and drinks. Many youngsters took to the bounce house while others took their time decorating the pavement with colorful chalk paintings of butterflies. Students tried dunking their teachers in a dunk tank.

In the middle school gym, pet adoption centers such as Ears: Empire Animal Rescue and Niagara Feline Friend, were set up.

"I picked up the puppy and it was the highlight of my day," said senior Chris Suchan. "I don't get to do that every day."

John Marcussen, a history teacher who came with his two daughters, said, "It's a great thing that the school and community are getting together."

Almost Clancy, English teacher Alex Baker's band, performed at the event.

Student volunteer Jenna Blamowski said, "I volunteered to set up and I thought that not many people were going to be here, but it filled up. The event brought many people to the school and it's a good idea."

Fellow student Donald Block added, "I want it to be like this every year."

At the beginning of the day, Cochrane said, "The novel is about baseball, but it is really about family." He said that the character Molly's gift was there to take her where she needed to go.

It seems the same can be said about this event. The novel was a gift to take the community to this celebration. The event was about celebrating family reading, but in the end it really was about the community coming together to celebrate.


Nhan Bui is a senior at Cheektowaga Central High School.