The Jewish Federation of Reading/Berks in partnership with Exeter Community Library and Bring the Change announce the kick-off of a brand new summer reading program focused on anti-hate. The Anti-Hate Summer Reading Program is a diverse community reading and discussion groups for tweens, teens and adults to define and fight hate and racism and create meaningful positive change in Berks County. Our goal is to prepare participants to combat, counter and decrease hate by expanding their reading horizons through diverse and thought-provoking literature. The public is invited to virtual discussions throughout the summer.
The Anti-Hate Summer Reading Program is funded by a $10,000 grant from the Berks County Community Foundation “You Are Here” grant cycle and is a partnership of Jewish Federation of Reading/Berks, Exeter Community Library and Bring the Change.
Tweens are invited to join M. Evan Wolkenstein, author of “Turtle Boy”, winner of the 2021 Sydney Taylor Book Award on Tuesday, June 29 at 7 p.m. on Zoom. Registration can be found on the Federation and Exeter Community Library websites. “Turtle Boy” is about growing up, being brave, friendship, drums, turtles and Punk Rock, but it’s also about the things we value, holding dear to our hearts. Some of these values come from ourselves, some from family, and some from our traditions and cultures.
On Tuesday, July 27 at 7 p.m. on Zoom tweens will meet Tae Keller, author of “When You Trap a Tiger”, winner of the 2021 Newbery Medal. When Lily and her family move in with her sick grandmother, a magical tiger straight out of her halmoni’s Korean folktales arrives, prompting Lily to unravel a secret family history. But deals with tigers are never what they seem! With the help of her sister and her new friend Ricky, Lily must find her voice… and the courage to face a tiger.
Teens will be reading “Flamer” by Mike Curato and joining Curato for a discussion on the book on Thursday, July 8 at 7 p.m. on Zoom. “Flamer” recently was awarded a Lambda Literary Award. It’s the summer between middle school and high school, and Aiden Navarro is away at camp. Everyone’s going through changes―but for Aiden, the stakes feel higher. As he navigates friendships, deals with bullies, and spends time with Elias (a boy he can’t stop thinking about), he finds himself on a path of self-discovery and acceptance. Award-winning author and artist Mike Curato draws on his own experiences in Flamer, his debut graphic novel, telling a difficult story with humor, compassion, and love.
The highlight of the summer will be a special program on Sunday, August 1 at 7 p.m. on Zoom featuring Jason Reynolds. Teens will be reading “Long Way Down” (available in novel and graphic novel form), and adults will be reading “Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You”, both titles by #1 New York Times bestselling author Reynolds. Jason Reynolds is a two-time National Book Award finalist, a Newbery Award Honoree & the 2020-21 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. His titles include “When I Was the Greatest”, “The Boy in the Black Suit”, the Track series, “Look Both Ways”, and “Long Way Down”, which received a Newbery Honor, a Printz Honor, and a Coretta Scott King Honor. Reynolds’ book “Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You” was recognized this spring for spending an entire year on the New York Times Bestseller list.
In addition to these conversations with authors, the community will gather in between sessions for conversations about the books and its local connections. Copies of all the books including e-books and audiobooks are available from the Berks County Public Libraries. All events are free and open to the public. Our goal is to create community conversations about diversity within Berks County through award-winning modern literature.