Winter Reading Challenge
During the month of January, Botetourt County Libraries invite you participate in a special Winter Reading Challenge, “Read for a Better World.” It’s hosted by Beanstack (our reading tracker app), and a few lucky top-performing libraries will win book collections and virtual author visits sponsored by the Lerner Publishing Group (children’s book publisher). We’d love to be one of them!
If you haven’t used the Beanstack app before, click on the website banner at BoCoLibraries.info for instructions. It’s easy to install on your smartphone or access on your computer!
The challenge encourages you to read 10 books (or more!) this month. If you’re stumped for ideas or want to read books aligned with the “Read for a Better World” theme, you’re in luck. The Lerner Publishing Group has made multiple titles available in ebook format for this month (follow the links in Beanstack), free to everyone for this month’s reading challenge! If you’re short on time, check out their recommendations for each age group (PreK, K-5, 6-12 and Adult).
In the PreK group, Lerner recommends books like “Everybody Cooks Rice” by Norah Dooley or “A Girl Like Me” by Angela Johnson. Grade-school children might enjoy Miranda Paul’s “Thanku: Poems of Gratitude” or get inspired by “The Vast Wonder of the World: Biologist Ernest Everett Just” by Melina Mangal. Teens learn how to “Debunk it! Fake News Edition: How to Stay Sane in a World of Misinformation” by John Grant, and they can understand the importance of civic responsibilities in “Votes of Confidence, 2nd Edition: A Young Person’s Guide to American Elections” by Jeff Fleischer. For adults, Lerner Publishing Group recommends familiar titles like Solomon Northup’s “Twelve Years a Slave” and encourages adults to pass on life lessons learned by reading “Dear Teen Me: Authors Write Letters to Their Teen Selves,” edited by Miranda Kenneally.
In addition to reading, the “Read for a Better World” challenge includes activities and reflection questions that encourage everyone to look at the world from different perspectives as well as better understand their own. What do you think people may be surprised to learn about you? What are healthy and safe ways to express our feelings? Why is it important to respect people even if they’re different from you? How can we celebrate our differences? How can life experience (things that happen to us) change the way we see things? How is your perspective similar to or different from friends, family or acquaintances? What are some respectful questions you can ask others to get to know other people better?
We all hear complaints about our “polarized society.” Yet each of us bears the responsibility to seek to understand those who see and experience the world differently from us. If we don’t get curious and actively explore different perspectives, we’re part of the problem. In “Read for a Better World,” we challenge you to be part of the solution by getting curious, increasing empathy, and treating others with the kindness and respect we all crave and deserve.
Julie Phillips, Director
Botetourt County Libraries