CHS Students Read Black-Eyed Susan Books

Sophomore Tara Manzari holding up her favorite BES book and her certificate for having read at least three books.

Photo by Kim Rooney

Sophomore Tara Manzari holding up her favorite BES book and her certificate for having read at least three books.

By Kim Rooney, Senior Writer

Choosing a favorite book is always difficult, but the Maryland Association of School Librarians (MASL) makes it easier by narrowing the choices to 10 books.

CHS students who read at least three Black-Eyed Susan (BES) nominee books joined other Maryland students April 22 in voting for the best out of 10 books nominated for the BES Award.

“They’re usually a pretty good selection of YA books, and I like discovering new books and authors to read,” said sophomore Sara Miller, who read four books and voted for Eleanor & Park. “It gives me a goal during the year.”

While reading three books guarantees an invitation to the voting party, which had pizza, snacks, prizes and certificates for readers, reading all 10 books earned students a Barnes & Noble gift cards to celebrate and encourage their love of reading.

According to the MASL website, the BES Award exists to promote literacy and to encourage students to read quality, contemporary literature.

In past years, popular books such as John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, Veronica Roth’s Divergent and Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games have won. This year, the wildly popular Eleanor & Park, by Rainbow Rowell, seems to be the student favorite at CHS.

“I liked Eleanor & Park because of its diversity in its characters and its interracial relationships,” said sophomore Tara Manzari, who read three books and voted for Eleanor & Park. “We definitely need more of those in books. It was also very interesting, and it really captivates your attention.”

Eleanor & Park has already won the 2013 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, been named Amazon’s Teen Book of the Year and Top Ten Book of the Year as well as one of the Young Adult Library Services Association Top Ten Best Fiction For Young Adults. DreamWorks is also working on a movie adaptation of the novel.

“It’s a story that’s just perfect,” said senior Emily Thomas, who read four books and voted for Eleanor & Park.

In addition to Eleanor & Park, Jennifer Brown’s Thousand Words, Matt de la Pena’s The Living, Kami Garcia’s Unbreakable, Colleen Gleason’s The Clockwork Scarab, Mindy McGinnis’ Not a Drop to Drink, Maria Padian’s Out of Nowhere, Robyn Schneider’s The Beginning of Everything, Steve Sheinkin’s Bomb: The Race to Build and Steal the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon and Sarah Skilton’s Bruised were also nominated for the BES Award.

“I’m looking for a good read most of the time, and the BES books have a reputation of being good books,” Manzari said.

With books about everything ranging from Sherlock Holmes’ niece and Bram Stoker’s sister solving mysteries in a Victorian steampunk London, to an athlete rebuilding his life after a devastating accident, the BES nominees have something for everyone. Although MASL has not released the date when the winner will be announced, it will likely be in early May.

“My New Year’s Resolution was to read more books, and this program gave me the incentive to do so,” Thomas said.