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Local author Anne Braden poses with copies of her book, “The Benefits of Being an Octopus,” which is the selection for the community reading initiative for Let’s Read 2019.

The Arts

Consider the cephalopod

Windham Southeast launches ‘Let’s Read 2019’

Let’s Read 2019 is made possible by generous support from the Vermont Humanities Council, the Windham Foundation, and the Brooks Memorial Library, and is sponsored by WSESU, Food Connects, and Brattleboro Area Prevention Coalition. For more information, contact Sheila Humphreys at sheila@foodconnects.org or 802-451-0806.

BRATTLEBORO—The Wellness Committee of the Windham Southeast Supervisory Union is launching Let’s Read 2019, a community reading initiative, during the summer and fall of 2019.

All members of the communities of Brattleboro, Dummerston, Guilford, Putney, and Vernon ages 9 and up are encouraged to participate.

Let’s Read 2019 will feature The Benefits of Being an Octopus by local author Ann Braden. This book is appropriate for children in fourth grade and up, as well as adults.

Several events — including author talks, staged readings, and book club discussion groups — will be held in September and October at local libraries, the Brattleboro Boys & Girls Club, and area schools.

Set in a fictionalized version of Brattleboro, The Benefits of Being an Octopus, published in the fall of 2018, is the story of a young girl finding her courage and voice in the face of poverty, bullying, and a challenging home life.

According to the School Library Journal, “This heartbreaking, beautifully written book about finding one’s voice will offer some readers a relatable reflection and others a window that can help build empathy and understanding.”

The Benefits of Being an Octopus is an NPR Best Book of the Year for 2018, a Junior Library Guild Selection, a 2019 Global Read Aloud Contender, a 2019-20 Dorothy Canfield Fisher Book Award Nominee, and included on Bank Street Best Children’s Books of 2019.

Signed copies are available to be borrowed and returned at the school libraries in all schools in Windham Southeast, and at Brooks Memorial Library, Guilford Free Library, Lydia Taft Pratt Library, Putney Public Library, Vernon Free Library, and the Boys and Girls Club of Brattleboro.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #515 (Wednesday, June 19, 2019). This story appeared on page B1.

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