It should come as no surprise that the CLiF staff loves to read! After all, our mission is to share that love with all kids in New Hampshire and Vermont. And there’s no better time to read than summer, especially as so many social events and programs are either cancelled or online, giving us more time to dig into a good book.

While our tastes vary, the CLiF team does try to keep up with the books we’re giving away and what’s popular with kids today.

Here’s a glimpse at what we’ve been reading this summer…


CLiF Founder/Executive Director/Storyteller Duncan McDougall reading

This past weekend I finished the final book in The Seeds of America trilogy by Laurie Halse Anderson.  The novels follow the lives of young escaped slaves during the American Revolution.  I really enjoyed the books because of the compelling characters and because Anderson’s narrative taught me more about the sobering realities of day-to-day life of slaves,  and of the revolution itself. 

I always try to read as many of the new books in the CLiF collection as possible so I can talk about them with the children we serve.  Here’s a photo of some of the books I’ve read in the past month.  Our collection has become much more diverse over the past year thanks to the efforts of Meredith Scott and Jana Brown.

CLiF Giveaway Books Duncan’s Read Recently


My daughter Evie, age 11, is reading the Treasure Hunters series, which she says she likes “because it’s full of adventure and action.  Plus, the main characters are twins, and I’m a twin!”

Miles, age 11, just completed Becoming Kareem: Growing Up On and Off the Court.  He said “it’s a good book because it’s a good introduction to understanding racism” (Miles also plays basketball).

For me, I am currently reading Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, which was suggested by the college I attended as part of their summer reading program.  The quick summary is that it is about a “social misfit with a traumatic past” and so far I really enjoy it.

Meredith (pictured above reading with her daughter):

In our household, discussion of stories revolves around Hamilton, undeniably! I have been trying to read, and to recommend books for my twelve year old daughter, written by and/or about people of color. We listened to the Children of Virtue and Vengeance (Legacy of Orisha #2) by Tomi Adeyemi, How High the Moon by Karyn Parsons, and American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins, and read American Street by Ibi Zoboi. Quite a range (middle grade to adult books), and all with some violent content, but they offer a way for us to talk about the current protests and how and why people have been treated badly by our racist society. Like many parents, I recognize that there is SO much more to do than to educate ourselves from the safety of our Vermont hammock, and am struggling with how to do that in the world of coronavirus. I am reading Another Country by James Baldwin (1962) and How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi, while she dives into some fantasy with The Star Thief by Lindsey Becker.


We are spending the summer revisiting some of my favorites from childhood.  First up was Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, which was not a Finn favorite!  We’ve moved on to some books about animals that Finn is reading himself and we just started Peter and the Starcatchers as our chapter book read-a-loud.

Finn is building confidence as a reader by revisiting some of the first books he could read on his own.  I love that this book is about a dog show and you can see our dog lying on the floor next to him.


What Erika’s Read This Month

I love getting to read outside in the summer! Recently, I read Brit Bennett’s second novel (if you loved The Mothers, you’ll love this one, too!), which focuses on race and identity and how we define ourselves.

I devoured Kiley Reid’s debut novel, Such a Fun Age, in a day. It reminded me of one of my other favorites, Little Fires Everywhere (also a great TV series on Hulu!) by Celeste Ng – the racial tension, privilege, and complex, fraught relationships, not to mention beautiful writing. I’ve also been enjoying The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes, which tells a fictional account of the true story of a group of women who travelled by horse to deliver books to rural communities in Kentucky during The Great Depression. Maybe CLiF should look into this packhorse thing…

I also read the YA book Strange the Dreamer, a popular CLiF giveaway book, and its sequel, Muse of Nightmares, by Laini Taylor. It’s an elaborate fantasy about a junior librarian who discovers his real identity and a world of magic. It’s a fun read with lots of romance!

What are you reading this summer?

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