Join Pelham Community Read

By CONNIE NOLEN / Community Columnist

“I’m passionate about this community read,” said PHS senior English teacher Ryan Dye. A PHS alum, Dye’s energy has fueled Pelham’s English Department’s reimagining of summer reading. ­­­­

While our past years’ summer reading discussions were rushed as graduation approached, this school year’s slow and steady discussion began in December. Agreeing that AP and PreAP students would need to read additional works to be ready for AP testing, we searched to find a book that would add to our AP lists, while also appealing to the entire community—a title both academic and conversational.

Reading an email chain where many English teachers, along with curriculum specialists and administrators, pitch books for a community read is dizzying.

Suggested titles included “The Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell, “More Than a Bird” by local author Liz Huntley, “The Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch, “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini, “The Color of Water” by James McBride and “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind” by William Kamkwamba.

At Pelham City Schools’ most recent Board of Education meeting, Dye presented the department’s final choice sharing bookmarks with the title, author and information about Pelham’s 2017 Community Read title.

“After much discussion, the PHS English Department has chosen “Big Fish” by Daniel Wallace for our 2017 Community Read. Originally from the Birmingham area, Wallace has visited Pelham to speak about the book so we hope he might come back. We’re asking you to read along with us, to post photos of yourself reading “Big Fish” on social media, and to join us in encouraging all PHS students and the Pelham Community to read the book.”

“I am so excited about this community read,” BOE member Sharon Samuel said grinning.

“The novel involves a father telling his son family stories too outrageous to be true. The stories explore how generations share family histories and how those stories can be sources of strength,” said Dye.

Reinforcing family strengths is an initiative as unifying as reading a common book. Please visit the PHS Summer Reading website for more information and join our Pelham Community read.