I grew up on the East Side of Columbus. My parents were immigrants who had met and married here in the late 1940s.

I grew up on the East Side of Columbus. My parents were immigrants who had met and married here in the late 1940s.

During high school, I spent a large amount of time -- just about every weeknight -- at the Bexley Public Library. It was there that I could learn beyond the classroom and where I developed my lifelong love of books.

So it is fitting that, on June 28, I will give a talk at the Bexley Public Library about my debut novel, Tasa's Song.

The library is presenting this evening in partnership with Thurber House. Both institutions offer programs that celebrate the written word, that connect the community with authors and frequently feature authors whose work focuses on significant historical events, as mine does.

Tasa's Song is a story about a precocious, spirited and hopeful Jewish violinist as she matures and struggles, and eventually survives the atrocities of a world at war. This narrative was inspired by my mother's early life in eastern Poland during World War II.

Tasa's Song grew from the real-life stories I was told as a child by my mother. Over the years, she talked of the idyllic countryside where she lived. She described her tiny village and recalled the closeness of her extended family of cousins and aunts and uncles.

She told me she boarded with a German woman in a nearby Polish town where she attended a private school that educated Catholics and Jews. But later she spoke of war and oppression, first under the Soviets and then, in 1941, the Nazis. There were arrests and deportations. I knew my mother hid for a year "underground" in a bunker beneath a barn with her father and several relatives.

She referred to herself as lucky, noting she was the only one of her classmates who had survived.

But while I had the facts of my mother's life, I was not a witness to her experiences. I didn't know her feelings and reactions to the events of her life. So I turned to fiction and wrote Tasa's Song to offer a narrative that, through the touch points of my mother's particular story, tells of those living at the fringes of the battlefield. By writing her story as fiction, I could reach into both the history of this time and place, and the humanity that filled it.

Carrying a huge array of books, our public libraries are accessible to all who seek learning and knowledge. Thurber House, similarly, is a gathering place for readers and learners.

When I consider that my parents came to this country with not much more than their minds and a determination to begin again, I am in awe of these institutions that champion discovery through books, the free exchange of ideas, and a lifelong pursuit of knowledge.

This is what my immigrant parents stressed to my sister and me.

I am proud to return to the Bexley Public Library, a community treasure, as an author who can share the context and humanity of an important period of our history, and my own process as a writer seeking to understand, to learn, and to honor the lives of those true and imagined victims and survivors of the Holocaust. I invite you to join me at 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 28, to learn more about Tasa's Song.

Linda Kass is a Bexley resident and a founder of a visiting author program, Bexley Community Book Club, through the Bexley Education Foundation.