So far this year, the residents of the Chicago suburb of Naperville have read more than 27,000 Gary Paulsen books, having joined other cities—including Chicago—that recently organized community-wide reading campaigns. In fact, the Windy City's "One Book, One Chicago" program, which started last October with Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, was the first such initiative in the country.
The Naperville Reads campaign was organized by a committee made up of public librarians, public-school teachers and booksellers from Anderson's Bookshop; once Paulsen was chosen, his agent, Naperville resident Jennifer Flannery, was also brought on board. Anderson's was recently chosen as the winner of this year's Lucile Micheels Pannell Award in the general bookstore category for its work on the program.
The committee's selection of an author, rather than a particular novel, was due to the variety of ages for which Paulsen writes; he has had more than 175 books published, for both adults and children. To promote the program, Paulsen appeared at Anderson's Bookshops, two area high schools and North Central College.
Naperville Reads will continue with another book selection next year, most likely in January. A new committee is being formed; for more information about the program, see www.napervillereads.com.