A book about black soldiers in World War II, “Miracle at St. Anna,” has been selected as the theme for the Westport Library’s 2016 WestportREADS program.

The novel, written by James McBride, is based on historical events and tells the story of soldiers from the Army’s all-black 92nd Infantry Division who get separated from their unit behind enemy lines in Italy. Even though the black soldiers are treated with little respect by many natives, following a German massacre of villagers at St. Anna di Stazzema, the American soldiers take shelter there and find redemption.

McBride, widely known for his best-selling memoir, “The Color of Water,” will speak about the book at 6 p.m. Jan. 23 at the Westport Country Playhouse. A film based on the book, directed by Spike Lee, will be screened by the Westport Cinema Initiative at 4 p.m. Jan. 9 at Town Hall. Registration is required for both programs.

The book will serve as the theme for a series of discussions, exhibits and activities throughout January at the library and other local venues. For the complete list, visit the library website: www.westportlibrary.org.

McBride, also a musician and screenwriter, has also written “The Good Lord Bird,” about anti-slave revolutionary John Brown, which won the 2013 National Book Award for Fiction.

A graduate of Oberlin College and Columbia University’s School of Journalism, McBride has written for the Boston Globe, People magazine, the Washington Post, Essence, Rolling Stone, the New York Times and National Geographic.

An award-winning composer and saxophonist, McBride has written songs for Anita Baker, Grover Washington Jr. and Gary Burton, as well as for the PBS character “Barney.”