Upper school librarian Lauri Vaughan accepted the Margaret A. Edwards Award for the nation’s best reading program for teens at the American Library Association conference in Chicago on June 26. ReCreate Reading, Harker’s summer reading program, celebrates reading for pleasure and offers students in grades 10-12 a choice of about 70 titles sponsored by as many teachers. Teachers declare and students select their titles each spring and then meet to discuss the books in August.
Since the program’s inception in 2009, numerous book discussions have featured author participants, including luminaries Matt Richtel, David Quammen, Andrew Smith, Mariko Tamaki and Dave Cullen, among others. ReCreate Reading 2017 features 69 distinct titles, including the novels “The Underground Railroad” by Colson Whitehead, “Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline, Ta-Nehisi Coates’ “Black Panther” trilogy and the Agatha Christie classic “Murder on the Orient Express.” Nonfiction is also represented, including Michael Lewis’ “The Undoing Project” and Ashlee Vance’s eponymous biography of Elon Musk.
A highlight of this summer’s program is a discussion with Jeff Chang about his latest title, “We Gon’ Be Alright.” Chang, executive director of Stanford’s Institute of Diversity in the Arts, is most famous for his groundbreaking history of hip-hop, “Can’t Stop Won’t Stop.” After joining about 40 students for a book discussion, Chang will visit art classes and offer a lunchtime presentation open to all students and faculty on ReCreate Reading discussion day, Aug. 31.
Former Harker student Andrew Shvarts will join performing arts teacher Brian Larsen’s group to discuss his debut fantasy novel “Royal Bastards.” Authors participating via Skype include Robert Moor, author of “On Trails,” Romina Russell, author of “Zodiac,” and James Renner, author of “True Crime Addict.”