The following post was written by Guy Lamolinara, head of the Center for the Book and the communications officer for Literary Initiatives. It was originally published on the Library of Congress blog.
America’s rich literary heritage is reflected in its states and territories.
Today we are launching a project called Read Around the States. It features videos with U.S. members of Congress who have chosen a special book for young people that is connected to their states—either through the book’s setting or author, or perhaps simply because it is a favorite of the member.
Each video also includes an interview with the book’s author, conducted by the Affiliate Center for the Book in the member’s state. The Center for the Book is a Library program whose mission is to promote books, reading, libraries and literacy nationwide. The mission is achieved with the help of a network of 53 Affiliate centers—one in each state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. These centers work with the Library on its National Book Festival and other literary programs and events.
Three members have already recorded, and their videos go online today:
French Hill, of Arkansas’ 2nd Congressional District, reads from Kate Jerome’s “Lucky to Live in Arkansas” (Arcadia Kids Publishing). Jerome is in conversation with Jennifer Chilcoat and Ruth Hyatt of the Arkansas Center for the Book.
Bob Latta, of Ohio’s 5th Congressional District, reads from Douglas Brinkley’s “American Moonshot: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race” (HarperCollins). Don Boozer, head of the Ohio Center for the Book at Cleveland Public Library, interviews Brinkley, who grew up in the state.
In this recording below, Rep. Chellie Pingree, of Maine’s 1st Congressional District, reads from “The Circus Ship” by Chris Van Dusen (Candlewick Press). Hayden Anderson, executive director of the Maine Humanities Council and home of the Maine Center for the Book, interviews Van Dusen.
New videos will become available as they are recorded. Even if you or your children aren’t from these states, the videos are still a great way to see and hear these members of Congress reading favorite books and talking about what inspired them to make their choices.
Why not read a book yourself or read one with your children that is connected to your home state? It is sure to make you proud of your own state’s literary heritage.