WT Reads

WT Reads is an Upper School program intended to foster a love of reading and engagement with the broad world of ideas beyond the classroom.

This past year, a small committee of teachers gathered to think of ways to reimagine WT Reads. Using the One Book, One Community program, a tradition at many schools and universities, we have established a unifying experience wherein Upper School students, faculty, and administrators will all read the same book over the summer. Throughout the school year, we will have many opportunities to engage with the text and each other, however we gather—in classes and conversations, in school and online.

Our first all-school read will be The Other Americans, by Laila Lalami. Published in 2019, this National Book Award finalist is a timely and powerful novel that will resonate with many different readers. In a compelling mystery told from the perspectives of a diverse cast of characters, Lalami seamlessly interweaves stories of family, love, and loss, while encouraging the reader to grapple with complex topics and themes, such as immigration, citizenship, racism, and identity.

We are excited to partner with Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures, our city’s premier literary arts presenter, in this initiative. On October 26, when Laila Lalami comes to Pittsburgh for her Arts & Lectures event, she will also visit WT and engage with the entire Upper School. Students will be expected to have completed reading The Other Americans before her visit.

Our City as Our Campus staff is working with White Whale Bookstore, the official bookseller of Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures, to ship every member of the Upper School community a copy of The Other Americans this summer. We hope that from the day the package arrives at their door, students, administrators, and faculty will want to start talking about it.

The mission of the WT Reads program has always been to foster a love of reading by choosing books that are designed to spark conversation and critical thought. As such, books have been chosen that may contain difficult or controversial themes that elicit a variety of responses and emotions.

We’re looking forward to starting this conversation and tradition in our community and to welcoming a major literary figure to our school. For more information on The Other Americans and Laila Lalami, enjoy the following articles from The Atlantic and NPR.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to email Mrs. O’Donnell at odonnellm@winchesterthurston.org.