Reading is Rad!

As we wrap up this month’s reading challenge, to read a book that celebrates African American identity, and head into the March challenge, to read a book that encourages gender equality, we wanted to take some time to highlight a couple of our BHS Reading Challenge participants - math teacher Ms. Ann Marie McNeil and freshman Sean Gallagher. These two BHS community members are true readers. They recognize the power of words and seek that perfect moment of joy when reading brings a deeper understanding of the world. These two readers have consistently participated in and supported the challenge, which we think is amazing.

We asked Sean Gallagher and Ms. McNeil to share their thoughts on the reading challenge and the books they have been reading. This is what they had to say:

Ms. McNeil with her Reading Challenge SWAG.

Ms. McNeil with her Reading Challenge SWAG.

Ms. McNeil: The BHS Reading Challenge is a great way to read outside of your comfort zone and explore new authors and genres you may enjoy. So far my favorite month was November, which gave the prompt to "read a book that honors the work and sacrifices of members of the military and/or their families." Since this was a little out of my comfort zone, I asked around, and Ms. Palmer recommended The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. It is honestly one of my favorite books, and I am so grateful for the BHS Reading Challenge because I may not have discovered this book otherwise.

In school, when we learned about World War II growing up, there was never much mention of the role women played during that time. Though The Nightingale is fiction, it is based on real stories and real sacrifices that women made to bring people to safety during that time. The Nightingale was both horribly sad and uplifting at the same time. The story follows the experiences of two sisters, Isabelle and Vianne, and the many people that come into their lives. Their different experiences throughout the war and hardships made me gain an immense respect for the women during World War II, to whom I had honestly not given much thought to before. Even though I found myself gravitating more towards Isabelle, I found both women to be empowering in their own ways. The way Kristin Hannah writes and paints a picture is absolutely wonderful, and I am excited to read another of her books. I would strongly recommend The Nightingale to any and everyone, as well as the BHS Reading Challenge!

Sean Gallagher, Class of 2022

Sean Gallagher, Class of 2022

Sean Gallagher: I started the BHS Reading Challenge this year with the October task, to read a book that focuses on building positive relationships. I chose People Kill People by Ellen Hopkins. This book is a must read amongst those who are active or interested in politics today and in thinking about the controversy aroused over gun laws. This unforgettable novel tackles critical and tough-to-talk-about topics, such as sexual assault, murder, hate, rape, and gun control in a powerful and life-changing way. It follows six main characters who are brought together in both traditional and freaky ways throughout six intense weeks in Tucson, Arizona. You will grow to love, hate and understand the characters while developing feelings of empathy, all while exploring a mystery. Someone will shoot the gun called into question and someone will die, but you didn’t really think that I would tell you who! By far one of the best YA reads of the year— ten out of ten stars!

Shannon Janovitz