Senator Petruccelli reads with Eliot and Brooke students
Senator Petruccelli reads with Eliot and Brooke students

In order to support students’ positive reading habits as well as reinforce the life-long enjoyment found in books, Brooke East Boston Charter School and the Eliot K-8 Innovation School partnered together to host a joint book club on Thursday, June 4th.

The evening event paired over 60 middle school students representing both schools with a cross-section of elected and public leaders for an evening of dinner and small-group discussion at the Eliot Upper School on Commercial Street in the North End.

Students Skype with Author Cristina Henriquez
Students Skype with Author Cristina Henriquez
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All book club participants, adults included, read The Book of Unknown Americans, a novel that explores the experience of recent immigrants to the United States. As part of the evening, Cristina Henriquez, author of The Book of Unknown Americans joined book club via Skype for Q&A with students.

Traci Walker Griffith, Principal, Eliot K-8 Innovation School shared, “Every afternoon, we tell our students to go home and read for thirty minutes. Just half an hour of reading alone or with a parent can build a lifetime love of reading. This amazing opportunity to partner with Brooke East Boston Charter School is helping our students see that our local heroes, some of the people they most look up to, are avid readers and lifetime learners. We are glad to have the chance to work with the students and teachers of Brooke East Boston. Sharing our best practices helps all of us fulfill the mission of providing the best education for every child every day in Boston!”

“I was thrilled to have been a part of the collaborative book club between the Eliot School and Brooke East Boston.” said Molly Cole, Principal, Brooke East Boston Charter School. “It was a tremendous opportunity for our students to share their love of discussion and of reading with fellow middle school students and adults- what a great evening!”

State Representatives prepare for the discussion
State Representatives prepare for the discussion

Adult book club readers included:

  • John Barros, Chief of Economic Development, City of Boston
  • Rahn Dorsey, Chief of Education, City of Boston
  • Tomas Gonzalez, Assistant Commissioner, Inspectional Services Department, City of Boston
  • Alejandra St. Guillen, Director, Office of New Bostonians, City of Boston
  • Senator Anthony Petruccelli
  • Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz
  • Representative Alice Peisch
  • Representative Adrian Madaro
  • Representative Aaron Michlewitz

Boston Public School’s new superintendent Tommy Chang also stopped by for a guest appearance! Rahn Dorsey, Chief of Education, City of Boston: “I was excited to participate, with students and staff from the Eliot and Brooke schools, in the first annual inter-generational book club.  Not only is this a fun way to build a love of learning and share great literature, but it is a way to build community.  If you’ve ever been a part of a book club, you know that the conversation starts with the book and then leads to a set of discoveries of the aspirations, joys, fears and life experiences that we have in common with others. This effort between the Eliot and Brook schools is sure to stoke the schools’ shared passion for learning and create a relationship – indeed a community – between a Boston district school and a Boston charter school that puts the needs and interests of students at the center.”

Rahn Dorsey and Tommy Chang discuss the book with students
Rahn Dorsey and Tommy Chang discuss the book with students