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Unrequired Reading

Just back from the semi-annual meeting of Boston’s Literacy Summit, where we got a first glimpse of what the Boston Public Library and the Boston Public Schools have planned for summer reading. There’s no need to dwell on my misbehavior during the opening ice-breaker; I’ll just say that I’m the kind of person who needs an ice-breaker for the ice-breaker.

The two institutions are cooperating on their summer reading plans this year. The schools are doing a one book, one grade program, where each student going into second grade, for example, is required to read Diary of a Worm. (The incoming seventh-graders are reading Fault in Our Stars, which I would have thought high school, but I guess kids are growing up fast these days.) All books for this program will be available through BPL and selected branches will be providing students with copies to keep for their own.

There is also a longer list of recommended titles which demonstrates a terrific range of topics and tastes, and when that comes online I’ll share it with you here. In the meantime, our home-grown Horn Book summer reading recommendations are out, and they come attached with absolutely no requirements or enforced group behaviors. Just pick something that looks good and give it a try. On the way home from the summit, Simmons‘ Melanie Kimball and The Massachusetts Center for the Book‘s Sharon Shaloo were sharing with me a great story of Edith Wharton’s enmity for Isabella Stewart Gardner, so I think Wharton’s Custom of the Country is going first on my summer reading list. Anyone who doesn’t have anything nice to say about Isabella Stewart Gardner can come sit by me, but bring your own book.

Roger Sutton About Roger Sutton

Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.

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