Many times, when communities consider books for a common reading experience, they are taking into account the entire makeup of their group or groups of people. This undoubtedly includes families with young children and/or teenagers, and what better way to bring this collective group together than to appeal to all age groups?
When a book becomes bestselling, it pervades a variety of subsets of community members – and it becomes a great choice for a community-wide reading selection as a result. Books like Boys in a Boat, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and Mountains Beyond Mountains are all perfect examples of these selections. In recent years, book publishers have begun to release editions of books for different age groups. Here, for example, a community-wide program might spotlight an adult title and concurrently offer younger children and young adults an adapted version of the same book. The public library would provide copies of all editions, as well as multiple circulating copies for those who do not wish to own them.
Programming could be both overlapping and differentiated, with the concept of community broadening to residents at large, and narrowing to discussions around the family dinner table.
This extent of programming would require a lot of planning and publicity, but isn’t necessary – simply choosing a book with multiple editions appealing to different reading levels is a wonderful way to truly make it a common reading experience. Here are some suggested book titles to try: good luck and most importantly, have fun!