January 28, 2021 Category: Our Programs Partnerships

Check Out What Books Fresh Air Kids Are Reading!

Looking to start the year with a new reading list? We’re excited to share some of our Fresh Air favorite books that our kids are reading in book clubs this year. Fresh Air kids just received their books in the mail and can’t wait to start reading! 

The Fund’s Career Awareness Program has integrated book clubs into the year-round curriculum as part of our virtual programming, and through a new Friendly Town’s bookworm program, we’re creating new and engaging opportunities to build community and stay connected.  

The new bookworm program brings together Friendly Towns participants with their host siblings and other Fresh Air children for monthly virtual book club meetings. Each month, they read a book – with a varied selection based on their age – and share their favorite parts of the book at the monthly meeting. The clubs are facilitated by volunteers and supported by our Friendly Towns team. The zoom discussions include questions like; “What did you relate to the most?” and “What was one thing you learned from the main character?” 

“In Friendly Towns, we were looking for ways to connect with the community year-round, including both our NYC families and our Friendly Towns host families. Through Friendly Towns bookworms, we have the opportunity to bring this incredible community together and for our youth to read books, share opinions through small group discussions facilitated by volunteers, and make connections between the books they are reading and their own lives. We are excited to be reading books that feature characters and stories from many backgrounds and experiences,” Deputy Director of Friendly Towns, Nicole Johnston said.

The Career Awareness Program (CAP) book club focuses on books that encourage students to reflect and see different perspectives through the eyes of the characters in the books. With books that explore topics including culture, cultural identity and race, students connect through engaging conversations where they have a safe space to ask questions and share their experiences. 

Reading is key to all kinds of learning. Unfortunately, many of our campers do not enjoy reading, so one aspect of my job is to help them find the joy in reading. So, we have carefully selected books that not only reflect the demographics of our campers, but also stimulate their curiosity with a variety of stories and ideas.

Roberto Gil, Deputy Director of Camping and Year-Round Programs

With generous support from First Book, The Fund is able to send copies of the books to Fresh Air kids, along with reading guides, created by our Friendly Towns team, that help them pace their reading so they can plan to finish the book in time for the monthly book club meeting. The reading guides include questions which help students reflect on key themes as they read the book.   

Thanks to donations from First Book, Fresh Air kids were able to pick out books to take home with them when they visited our camps this summer as part of our Fresh Air Family Wellness Program 

Fresh Air Favorite Books

Sarai and the Meaning of Awesome by Sarai Gonzalez and Monica Brown  

Recommended for Ages 8 – 10 

“Sarai is really awesome! It was so cool that she made her own business. One day, I want to start my own business too,” said 9-year-old Fresh Air child, Nasiym.  

Zapato Power: Freddy Ramos Takes Off by Jacqueline Jules

Recommended for Ages 9 – 10 

Power Forward by Hena Khan  

Recommended for Ages 9 – 10  

Patina by Jason Reynolds  

Recommended for Ages 11 – 13 

“I love the book! I think that other people should definitely read Patina because not only is it interesting, but you can relate to the book. The book helps you understand what other people go through – it is not just about track but also family and spending time with them,” 11-year-old Fresh Air child, Amina said.  

11-year-old Amina enjoyed reading Patina by Jason Reynolds during the Friendly Towns bookworm program and looks forward to reading the rest of the series!

Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay 

Recommended for Ages 12 – 14  

Tight by Torrey Maldonado  

Recommended for Ages 12 – 14 

Once Upon an EID by S.K. Ali

Recommended for Ages 12 – 14 

Read more about how New York’s Legendary Strand Book Store Created Six New Libraries for Fresh Air Camps and how The Fresh Air Fund and the Strand Book Store are working together to help Fresh Air campers develop a love of learning and reading.