Amid all of the necessary work of #WeNeedDiverseBooks discussions and activism (these are different things) in my professional life, I asked my family to tell me what they’re reading right now. I wondered if our reading lives would reveal a need for me to do more at home to encourage broader reading, but I happily found that our household seems to be on the same page, so to speak, with this movement. Here’s what everyone shared:

  • After hearing me rave about it for months, my husband Sean is reading Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me. The last novel he read was The Art of Fielding. And after hearing a colleague, Alison Morris of Project First Book, rave about it at dinner last night, he’s eager to read The War that Saved My Life.
  • My 16 year-old daughter is reading Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons” for school; at home the last book she read was a manga title, Rave Master
  • My 12 year-old daughter is reading Jewel Parker Rhodes’ Ninth Ward at school and John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars at home.
  • My 10 year old son is reading Because of Mr. Terupt at school and The Lord of the Rings at home.
  • My 9 year old daughter is reading Kate DiCamillo’s Tiger Rising at school and Tua and the Elephant at home.
  • And, as I’ve documented over on twitter @MDowdLambert, the baby seems to be developing a real love of Andrea Davis Pinkney and Brian Pinkney’s board books, and we recently read a big stack of Baby Bug editions from Cricket Media. I was struck by how inclusive and diverse art and text are in these publications,and I’ve always loved the gender-neutral toddler, Kim, in the “Kim and Carrots” stories.
  • The kids and I started reading My Very Un-Fairytale Life by Simmons faculty member, Anna Staniszewski, and they are loving it.
  • Now that the fall semester of teaching is in full swing, I am mostly reading student papers and books for classes (most recently a reread of Virginia Hamilton’s The House of Dies Drear) but when I can steal time I’m reading The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson and former student Mackenzi Lee’s This Monstrous Thing.

This list says nothing of the oodles of picture books we read–I find them scattered about the house, and we read them together, or alone every day. My 9 and 10 year olds often bring stacks of picture books to bed with them, and here’s a sampling of the titles I found on my 9 year-old’s bedroom floor when I went to wake her up the other day:

  • Lafcadio by Shel Silverstein
  • The Tiger Who Would Be King by James Thurber, illustrated by JooHee Yoon
  • Fly Guy Meets Fly Girl! by Ted Arnold
  • Once Upon an Alphabet by Oliver Jeffers
  • Benjamin Bear in Fuzzy Thinking by Philippe Coudray
  • No David! by David Shannon
  • The Hidden Alphabet by Laura Vaccarro Seeger

I have more to say about what I see here, and what I don’t see, but this is a start at documenting my family’s reading life as I think more about connections between the professional and the personal.


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