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Finding Community in Reading

One thing that I have missed so much during COVID-19 closures is being a part of a community of readers. As a teacher, I typically talk with others about the books I’m reading multiple times a day. Whether it’s a student who catches me adding a new book cover to my “Miss Magee is Reading” board or a colleague who shares book recommendations over lunch, I’ve always found that the social parts of reading bring me joy and connection. As we socially distance, it’s been difficult to go without these daily glimpses into the reading lives of others. I know my own reading life is stronger when it’s influenced by and connected to others’ reading lives.

In an attempt to continue finding community in reading even as many closures continue over summer, I’ve been seeking out opportunities to connect around reading virtually.

Generations Book Club

The Brown Bookshelf is leading a summer book club called Generations. “A summer initiative designed to inspire and empower readers of all ages, we’re excited to kick it off on June 1. An act of freedom, resistance and love, reading reveals the power we hold inside. By centering the work of Black authors and illustrators, we’re showcasing books as ways to foster community and create momentum and change. Supporting children’s literature by Black creators demonstrates that not only do Black books matter, they’re in demand.” 

The Generations Book Club has already kicked off with its first list celebrating Black Music Month. Each book list will include a picture book, a middle grade title, a young adult book, and an adult title. I’m looking forward to reading along and talking about the books with other educators who are participating. Additionally, I’m sharing the Generations Book Club with my third grade students so they can read along with the picture book selections this summer.

Book Love Foundation Summer Book Club

I’m excited to read along with the Book Love Foundation Summer Book Club for my second year as a discussion leader. The Summer Book Club is a paid book club that raises money for the Book Love Foundation, which funds classroom libraries for teachers.

Each summer, we come together for rich discussion around different books as well as for Facebook Live sessions with authors, illustrators, and educators. This summer, the elementary section is reading Dictionary for a Better World by Irene Latham and Charles Waters, Cultivating Genius by Gholdy Muhammad, Indian No More by Charlene Willing McManis & Traci Sorell, and A Different Pond by Bao Phi.

Reading Along with Friends and Family

In a time when we can’t physically be together, it feels great to be able to live in the same universe as friends and family within the pages of a book. This summer, I’m taking recommendations from friends and discovering some of their favorite books as I eagerly recommend my own favorites. I am always looking for new books to read. Feel free to comment below with what you plan to read this summer. Maybe we can be virtual reading buddies, too!

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