beyond words

BEYOND WORDS is Hartford Public Library’s annual signature fundraising event. The Library goes beyond words, every day, with diverse and transformative programs and services for our community.

Your support for this event goes  directly toward Hartford Public Library’s mission to provide free resources that inspire reading, guide learning, and encourage individual exploration.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019, 6-9 PM

  • Cocktail Reception

  • Featured Speaker: Reyna Grande

  • Dinner

  • Caroline M. Hewins Medal

our author

Reyna Grande

Reyna Grande is the author of the bestselling memoir, The Distance Between Us, where she writes about her life before and after illegally immigrating from Mexico to the United States. The much-anticipated sequel, A Dream Called Home, was released on October 2, 2018. Her other works include the novels, Across a Hundred Mountains, and Dancing with Butterflies which were published to critical acclaim. The Distance Between Us is also available as a young readers edition from Simon & Schuster’s Children’s Division–Aladdin. Her books have been adopted as the common read selection by schools, colleges and cities across the country. 

Reyna has received an American Book Award, the El Premio Aztlán Literary Award, and the International Latino Book Award. In 2012, she was a finalist for the prestigious National Book Critics Circle Awards, and in 2015 she was honored with a Luis Leal Award for Distinction in Chicano/Latino Literature. The young reader’s version of The Distance Between Us received a 2017 Américas Award for Children’s and Young Adult Literature, a 2016 Eureka! Honor Awards from the California Reading Association, and a 2017 International Literacy Association Children’s Book Award.

Reyna is a proud member of the Macondo Writer’s Workshop founded by Sandra Cisneros, where she has also served as faculty. Currently, she teaches creative writing at writing conferences, travels across the country and abroad to give presentations about her books, and is at work on a novel set during the Mexican-American War.

Born in Iguala, Guerrero, Mexico (where 43 college students disappeared in 2014), Reyna was two years old when her father left for the U.S. to find work. Her mother followed her father north two years later, leaving Reyna and her siblings behind in Mexico. In 1985, when Reyna was nine, she left Iguala to make her own journey north. She entered the U.S. as an immigrant, and later went on to become the first person in her family to graduate from college.

After attending Pasadena City College for two years, Reyna obtained a B.A. in creative writing and film & video from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She later received her M.F.A. in creative writing from Antioch University. 

caroline m. hewins award

Tai Soo Kim


Born and raised in Korea, Tai Soo Kim came to the United States in 1961 to study at Yale University under Paul Rudolph, then the Dean of the School of Architecture. In 1970, he co-founded what is known today as TSKP STUDIO. Through Tai Soo’s years of continuous dedication and leadership, the firm will celebrate 50 years of practice in 2020!


Tai Soo’s work has brought him ever-increasing recognition, earning more than 40 local and national awards and publication in national and international journals of architecture.


Some of his accolades include election into the AIA’s College of Fellows in 1986, the Korean Broadcasting Systems' Overseas Compatriots Prize in 1994, the commission to design the new U.S. Embassy in Tunisia in 1999, and an Honorary Doctorate of Art from the University of Hartford in 2015.


In 2016, The Korean National Museum of Contemporary Art, which Tai Soo designed in 1986, also held a Retrospective Exhibit of Tai Soo’s architectural work.


In addition to his international projects, Tai Soo and his firm have made their mark on the city of Hartford. They’ve designed the award-winning addition to HPL’s Dwight Library, the Coltsville National Historic Park, the Wadsworth Atheneum lobby, and the UConn Hartford Library at HPL, as well as many other local schools and institutions. Tai Soo is also the architect behind HPL’s upcoming Park Street Library. 


Tai Soo’s commitment to the community also extends beyond buildings. Tai Soo regularly walks in Elizabeth Park, and recently made a significant gift to the Elizabeth Park Foundation to plant trees.     

Tai Soo Kim’s addition to the Dwight Library

(Photo by Robert Benson for TSKP STUDIO)

The Caroline M. Hewins Medal recognizes an individual who embraces the City of Hartford and its people, who breaks the mold and provides service of a revolutionary kind, who stretches the boundaries of a social or cultural institution with a humanistic approach to public service, and who shows strong guardianship of and advocacy for the basic right of equal access to information and opportunity.

Caroline Maria Hewins was a revolutionary librarian and advocate who helped establish the Hartford Public Library and significantly enlarge the very idea of what a public library could be in America. She came to Hartford at age 29 in 1875 to serve as librarian at the Young Men's Institute of Hartford, worked through its merger with Hartford Library Association four years later, then oversaw the institution's transition to a free public library serving all the city's citizens in 1893. She served as librarian until her passing in 1925, helping embody her belief that everyone should have access to libraries, books, and the gateway to learning and opportunity which they represent.

© 2019 by Hartford Public Library