A free book, a hot drink packet, and a Zoom link are what students, faulty and staff receive when they sign up for the first ever virtual book club meetings planned by librarian Julianne Ross in the coming weeks. Alumni are especially invited to join two of the groups which will also include faculty and staff.
As the school prepared to move to distance learning from Thanksgiving break to mid January to mitigate the potential spread of COVID-19, Ms. Ross saw an opportunity to keep connections strong. Students, faculty, and staff will “discuss stories that highlight our shared humanity and yet diverse experiences,” says Ross, who titled the series “This is my story,” connecting with this year’s chapel theme.
Each 30-40 minute session will be facilitated by Ross and an EMS teacher. Groups are open to a maximum of eight students with the exception of two the sessions that are open to faculty and staff, as well as alumni.
Shannon Roth will join Ross in hosting a discussion January 7 at 11:15 a.m. of The Women’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote, by Elaine Weiss. “I am so excited to share this book with anyone who signs up,” says Roth, who teaches US history, government and 7th grade Bible. “I hope adults will join us. It can be so rich to talk about stories like the women’s suffrage movement with multiple generations.”
Mary Cranston, English teacher, will join Ross in hosting a discussion on January 8 at 11:15 a.m. of Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson. The popular book and major motion picture are based on the true experiences of Stevenson’s endeavors in Alabama defending those wrongly condemned or those not afforded proper representation, often black men.
Alumni who would like to join the discussion for Just Mercy or The Women’s Hour, can sign up here. EMS will provide a Zoom link, as well as an Amazon voucher toward the cost of the book and a digital coupon to a Starbucks or, for those in the Harrisonburg area, Merge Coffee Company.
Other titles in the virtual series include:
A Long Walk to Water, by Linda Sue Park with Erika Gascho, fifth grade teacher, for grades 5-6.
Class Act, by Jerry Craft for grades 5-8 with Leah Huyard, 6th grade teacher in training.
The Woman’s Hour: Our Fight for the Right to Vote (YA edition) by Elaine Weiss for grades 5-8 with Shannon Roth.
Brown Girl Dreaming, by Jacqueline Woodson with Mark Gornto, drama coordinator and 7th grade English teacher, for grades 6-8.
Piecing Me Together, by Renee Watson for grades 9-12 with Jodi Hertzler, 10th grade English and college and career counseling.
Dear Edward, by Ann Napolitano for grades 9-12 with Patsy Seitz, academic director and writing teacher.