Imagine a book club – only with 530 of your closest friends. Pelicans Read Together, a remote reading challenge, is doing just that. This School-wide exercise puts the 2019 -20 Spring Term in motion as students from across the world connect via Zoom with their advising groups to share insights and personal reflections on a text of their choosing.
Director of Ohrstrom Library Sarah Ludwig, and library staff Karla Kittler and Christie Cho, created a list of 48 fiction and nonfiction titles
for students to make selections. This compilation spans four categories: History & Historical Fiction, Science & Sci-Fi, Society, and Spirituality & Health. The eBooks were carefully chosen to vary in length, reading level, and genre.
“We want the kids to have time to explore things that are interesting to them and help them make sense of what is going on right now,” says Ludwig. “We also want them to make connections through their own experiences. One way to do that is through books and stories.”
Popular selections include Madeline Miller’s Greek mythology epic, Circe; The Daily Show host Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime about his youth in Apartheid South Africa; and Markus Zusak’s fictional tale of a teen living in Germany during World War II, The Book Thief.
Fifth Former Callie O’Connor opted for A Journal of the Plague Year, Daniel Defoe’s fictional recount of life during the Great Plague of London in 1665. “The narrator describes the events is an interesting parallel to the current COVID-19 pandemic,” O’Connor shared. “I was encouraged to choose this specific book due to the narrator's description of the varying reactions of groups and individuals to the epidemic in 1665, as it is especially interesting and unsurprisingly relevant to today. His observation of extreme fear, paranoia, and chaos is certainly something we can see today all over the world as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Students have until Wednesday, April 1, at 9 a.m. to create a presentation to share with their advisory group. The six students will vote on the best one, and it will face the best submissions from the five other advisory groups in the house. Finally, each house will select one presentation to compete against other houses with the community voting on the project winner. By completing Pelicans Read Together, students earn hours towards the School’s Community Outreach requirements.