Romeo Reads 2023

What is Romeo Reads?

Read Attend Connect

Romeo Reads is…

An invitation to all community residents to read a Michigan-authored book and to attend free programs connected with its content.

We wish to:

  • promote literacy
  • foster an appreciation of books and reading
  • provide a forum to connect and
  • enhance civic unity through literature.

This is our third year of Romeo Reads. We hope you’ll join in.

We are reading Call me Athena: Girl from Detroit by Colby Cedar Smith.

What’s this year’s book about?

In depression-era Detroit, the world seems like a place full of contradictions to Mary…

Promised to a much older man and told to curb her desire to own a business like her father, while courted by a boy who sees her for who she is and who she wants to be, Mary sees her future as more uncertain by the day…

By flashing back to Mary’s parents’ adolescences in WWI-era Greece and France, they… exist as people whose dreams have been blunted by trauma.

Call Me Athena[‘s]… real strength is the way it takes such different times, places, and stories and shows how commonalities like love, grief, and hope can connect a family over the course of generations.


Who is the author?

Colby Cedar Smith grew up in the Midwest, and she still dreams of the cold northern woods and the smell of lake water.

She holds degrees from Colorado College and Harvard University. She has been a finalist for several poetry awards and prizes, and her poems have been published in many publications.

Call Me Athena is a Library of Michigan 2022 Michigan Notable Book selection.

Colby lives with her husband and two children in Hopewell, New Jersey, and teaches creative writing at the Arts Council of Princeton. Read more of her work at


What do others think of the book?

“… the author’s sense of history brings details of the different times and cultures to life… Her blank verse serves the tale well, with lines such as “Death walks the halls / naked, / without pride, asking for his mother,” to convey the youth and despair of injured young men. A strong debut written with heart and strength. —Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission

“This novel in verse captures one young woman’s struggle for independence, equality, and identity as the daughter of Greek and French immigrants in tumultuous 1930s Detroit.” —Back Cover Review

“This is an exceptional novel in verse that at times devastated me in the best way, bringing out the anguish that these characters suffered and with only such few words. I also laughed and smiled at the joyful moments… Highly recommended YA novel that will transport you to historical times in which women had to fight for every bit of freedom. —Danielle, Amazon review

How do I get the book?

To purchase a copy of Smith’s book for $20, contact the circulation desk at either branch.

Please specify if you are purchasing a copy.

We accept cash or check.


Alternatively, you can place a hold for a copy through our library system.

Hoopla offers the title as an ebook or e-audiobook.

Enjoy your read!

Read the book on your own or meet with a group.

We encourage readers to connect for book discussions.


Join our Facebook Group (Romeo District Library Group) to discover other readers, and for

Romeo Reads “quick chats,” Q&A, reader polls & more!


What are the programs’ details?

Thursday, March 9, 5:45 pm, Kezar branch Significance of Postcards in War Time Communication

One of the sub-stories in Call Me Athena includes postcards sent between Gio and Jeanne, Mary’s parents, when they were young.

This program will discuss some history of the postcard as a historical record and its importance in communication.

We will have examples from our Romeo Community Archives.

Stamped postcards will also be available for those who may like to write a note to a soldier or loved one.

Thursday, March 16, 7:00 pm, Graubner branch Greek Food Tasting with Pamela’s Catering

Opa! Mary’s father, Gio, is a native of Central Greece.

So we’ve invited Chef Fran to cook up some delicious Greek cuisine!

Bring a little Greek culture to your palate and enjoy some fantastic flavors!

Thursday, March 23, 6:00 pm, Kezar branch 1932 Ford Hunger March Talk with UAW, Local 600

Why, in 1932, did unemployed union workers and their families march to the Rouge plant carrying a list of demands for Henry Ford?

What was the outcome?

Has this important part of Detroit and automotive history been memorialized?

Those questions and more will be answered.

Thursday, March 30, 6:00 pm, Kezar branch The Detroit Industry Murals with Detroit Institute of Arts

Learn the complex and intriguing story behind Diego Rivera and his Detroit Industry murals, which have now been declared a National Historic Landmark.

Thursday, April 13, 6:00 pm, Kezar branch Book Discussion with Librarian Stacie Guzzo

Copies of the Romeo Reads 2023 book Call Me Athena are available for purchase at both of our branches.

Read this exquisite novel in verse, then join in the discussion before the author visits us next week!

If you do not get a chance to read it before the discussion meets, feel free to come anyway!

Thursday, April 20, 7:00 pm, Graubner branch Author Visit/Q&A with Colby Cedar Smith 

The event all Romeo Readers have been waiting for!

Author of Call Me Athena: Girl from Detroit, Colby Cedar Smith, will be here in Romeo to speak about her novel, writing style and family history, and answer audience questions.

Books are available for purchase.

How do I register?

Register online for EACH program that interests you.

From, click Calendar under the Library Information tab.

Then navigate to each date to register.

Or, use the direct links on this page.

Please remember to include your email address.

Have questions? Call 586-752-2583.

TELL YOUR FRIENDS! We want as many participants as possible to enjoy this awesome program!


Romeo Reads is sponsored by RDL and Friends of RDL.