One Book, One Batavia 2023 selection is a masterpiece – Shaw Local

The 2023 selection for One Book, One Batavia is “Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers.”

One Book, One Batavia is an annual community-wide reading program that draws the community together for shared discussion and experiences. It is presented by the Batavia Public Library in cooperation with Batavia High School and co-sponsored by the Friends of the Batavia Public Library.

“Vincent and Theo” is a young adult nonfiction book that paints the picture of the relationship between the acclaimed artist and his dependable younger brother. Written for a high school audience, author Deborah Heiligman weaves a compelling account of the enduring bond between these two brothers.

“Once you start reading this book, you won’t want to put it down,” said Stacey Peterson, adult services manager for the Batavia Public Library.

Through 658 letters that Vincent wrote to Theo during his life, and 40 letters written by Theo to Vincent, Heiligman allows us to look inside the relationship between the passionate but tortured artist and his steady but lonely brother. Their relationship, while sometimes stormy, was enduring and supportive — a work of art in its own right.

Please visit the library, or our website at, to pick up a copy or reserve one.

Librarians have scheduled an array of programs to help the community fully engage with “Vincent and Theo.” Special programming includes:

Book Discussion

7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 14

Register at

Join us for an in-person discussion, led by a librarian, of “Vincent and Theo.” Participants are asked to read the book prior to the discussion.

Van Gogh: The Artistic Foundations of an Influencer

7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 16

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As innovative as the artwork of Vincent van Gogh is, he was part of a larger tradition in the history of art. Nick Caltagirone will place van Gogh in the larger context of art history and show how van Gogh was part of an artistic tradition that went back to the European Middle Ages. We’ll also look at some non-Western influences on van Gogh’s art, and see how van Gogh’s art helped change the trajectory of art in the 20th century.

Anxiety, Depression and Vincent van Gogh

7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 22

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Explore Vincent van Gogh’s reported mental health issues of anxiety and depression and healthful ways to cope with such “dis-ease.” Taught by Jennifer Falbo-Negrom, a licensed clinical professional counselor.

Van Gogh in the South of France

7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 1

Online via Zoom from home or together in the library on the big screen

Register at

In this live Zoom program, art historian Jeff Mishur discusses Vincent van Gogh’s prolific years in Southern France.

The Fine Art of Letter Writing

7 p.m. on Thursday, March 9

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We wouldn’t know so much about Vincent van Gogh if he and his brother didn’t write each other so many letters. Kimberly Adami Hasegawa talks about why letter writing is important, and fun ways to fit it into our modern lives.

Author Spotlight: Deborah Heiligman

7 p.m. on Thursday, March 30

Online via Zoom from home or in Library on the big screen

Register at

Author Deborah Heiligman has written many books, including Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Winner “Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers.” Heiligman will tell how she meticulously researched Vincent van Gogh’s life, drawing on letters between the brothers, and wove a tale of two lives intertwined and the extraordinary love of these brothers.

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