Millionaire Club Spotlight: What Are You Reading This Summer?

Jack Yates HS librarian Velda Hunter

HISD’s Millionaire Club is a literacy initiative designed to encourage students to read for pleasure during the summer months. Each week, we’ll catch up with one HISD librarian to find out what’s on his or her reading list. This week, we spoke with Velda Hunter, a librarian at Jack Yates High School.

What are you reading right now? What attracted you to those selections?

I never read just one or two books at a time. I am reading a variety of good reads, including high school Name That Book selections. Mystery is my favorite genre, so the mystery-thriller Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn is one of the first I chose from the new Name That Book list.

Every summer, I try to choose one or two classics that I have never read, so William Hoffman’s Tales of Hoffman is on my nightstand, and Bram Stoker’s Dracula is on my Nook. A classic on the Name That Book list is F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, which I just read for the third time. Of course, I wanted to reread it before seeing the new film adaptation.

I am also enjoying a couple of excellent collections. One is a nostalgic journey, The Texas Book Two, which is a second volume of stories about former students and life at University of Texas at Austin. Since I have met four of the authors, having family connections to one of the stories, and myself being a former UT student, this book is a must read for me. I just picked up a collection of hair stories about black women entitled, Tenderheaded. I have not started that one, but I am sure I can identify with more than a few of the characters.

Last year, I had the opportunity to meet Dan Rather, so my natural admiration of his journalism career and curiosity of his version of recent historical events leads me to his memoir, Rather Outspoken, which is also next on my personal summer reading list. My favorite book, The Millionaire Next Door, by Thomas J. Stanley is also on my list. I read it every couple of years because it helps remind me of what is important within my value system.

What is your campus doing this year to promote summer reading among students?

During June, our library had extended summer hours. Our library was open for about five hours each day during the first week of summer vacation. After that first week, the library was open for about two hours each day for the next three weeks. Now, in July, I am posting reviews on our library’s blog. We are also having a free book distribution of titles from our ELAR Department’s required reading list in July. We have a distribution schedule listed on our library’s blog and we will also send tweets as reminders.

In August, I plan to tweet short reviews to our followers. After students return their reading logs and proof of having read their listed books, they will be invited to a VIP celebration in September.

What’s one thing parents can do this summer to encourage their kids to read?

Of course parents already know they should help their children to visit libraries, book stores, story times, book talks, author visits, etc. Most importantly, parents should remember to take advantage of the extra quality time summer allows between parents and their kids. No matter the age of the child, simply, READ, READ, READ with your child.