This book is the community-wide reading title for Hamilton-Wenham. I live in Hamilton, and when they announced this selection I was a little surprised and wondered how it would work out. But as a former Children’s Librarian and lifelong lover of children’s literature, I should have known that nearly everyone has a favorite children’s book and that people would love to talk about them!
What We Learned From Children’s Books — The library has been posting short essays by members of the library staff and the community on their favorite children’s books and what they learned from them on their website, and some have also been featured in the Hamilton-Wenham Chronicle and their website.
I think this has been very effective. Library Director Jan Dempsey wrote about her favorite, Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher, also a favorite of mine. I saw Jan in the library a few days after I had read this online, and rushed over to tell her how much I also liked this book. A woman who was checking out books looked over and said, “Oh, me, too!” and the three of us just stood their smiling in the warmth of shared memory. (That was when I decided, “This is a really great community read idea!”)