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Local Celebs Share Their Favorite Book
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Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton

Greg Stanton
Phoenix Mayor

Best Loved Books as a Kid: The Giving Tree (by Shel Silverstein), Where the Wild Things Are (by Maurice Sendak), The Little Engine that Could (by Watty Piper)

Best Loved Books Now: Non-fiction by Jon Krakauer like “Into Thin Air” and “The Signal and the Noise” by Nate Silver, also enjoys major newspapers and online info “Being a good reader and a good comprehender has been critically important (to my career),” Mayor Greg Stanton shares. “I believe from the bottom of my heart that if you’re going to be a success in life, no matter what it is—politics, business, a non-profit faith community—you have to learn to be a good communicator. And that’s a two-way street, being able to read and comprehend books and information, and then being able to speak, write and communicate well. They go closely hand-in-hand.”

Melinda Cervantes

Melinda Cervantes
Pima County Library
Executive Director

Best Loved Books as a Kid: Yertle the Turtle & Other Stories (by Dr. Seuss), Anatole (by Eve Titus)

Best Loved Books Now: “My Beloved World” by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, professional/leadership books by Jim Collins like “Good to Great”

“I was one of those under-the-cover-with-a-flashlight-at-bedtime readers,” Library Director Melinda Cervantes remembers. Growing up in Ohio, reading was a pleasure for her, especially on cold winter days. She really loved the fun and independence of visiting her local public library. She also enjoyed visiting her Aunt Gertrude, a librarian at the main library downtown!

“Having a neighborhood library is a wonderful thing. I do think it’s a rather magical place. It’s not your home; it’s not your school; it’s a place where you can be with other kids; it’s a place where you can EXPLORE. It’s often the first time a child is given a card to actually carry and be responsible for,” Cervantes explains.

John Huppenthal

John Huppenthal
Superintendent of Public Instruction

Best Loved Books as a Kid: The Hardy Boys series, Reader’s Digest family magazine

Best Loved Books Now: “The Stand” by Stephen King; research papers on education, economics and philosophy

Early on, young John Huppenthal learned the importance of
reading. His mom would take him to his neighborhood library near South Tucson. “I just really enjoyed going to the library. Mom took us there every single week, and we’d come out literally with books from our fingertips to our chin,” Huppenthal says. And as the superintendent of schools, he’s still an AVID reader.

He wants all kids to read more and says developing kids’ reading skills needs to start early. “Above all, we find that the typical fifth-grader is reading five minutes or less a day. We have to get that number up to (at least) 20 minutes a day—reading is everything. It’s one of the few things that’s really correlated with academic gains,” Huppenthal emphasizes.

Lindsey Connor

Lindsey Connor
Higley Unified Teacher of the Year &
AZ Ambassador for Excellence

Best Loved Books as a Kid: Angelina Ballerina (by Katharine Holabird), Nancy Drew series, Goodnight Moon (by Margaret Wise Brown)

Best Loved Books Now: “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins, Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer, thriller novels by James Patterson

“I really believe that education is the biggest gift you can give a child,” emphasizes Lindsey Connor, Higley Unified’s Teacher of the Year. She’s also one of the top teachers in the state! Growing up in Pittsburgh, PA, “I was very DRAWN to books and how there are so many
different genres. There was always something that you could connect with,” Connor recalls.

A beloved seventh-grade math teacher at San Tan Elementary, Connor uses creatively written books to help her students embrace math. “Math doesn’t need to be this cut and dry study. So we try to build in a whole bunch of different activities for the students to experience math with. One of the ways is by reading books that have to do with the math concepts (that we’re learning),” she explains.

Bill Viner

Bill Viner
Chairman and Co-founder, Tucson Festival of Books and President & CEO, Pepper-Viner Homes

Best Loved Books as a Kid: Adventures of Tom Sawyer Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (by Mark Twain), The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (by L. Frank Baum), The Hardy Boys series

Best Loved Books Now: Mystery-thrillers by authors like T. Jefferson Parker and
Thomas Perry

It’s the state’s biggest, brightest and best bookfest—the Tucson Festival of Books. Chairman Bill Viner helped found this reading extravaganza five years ago. This free event happens March 9–10 at the University of Arizona and expands its fun for kids and teens this year. Children’s horror writer R.L. Stine will be one of about 450 visiting authors. “One of the biggest things is R.L. Stine will receive the Founders Award—he’s the first children’s author that we’ve given the award to. He’s just a phenomenal author because he’s gotten so many children to read. He’s sold over 400 million books,” Viner explains.

“Ultimately, the whole focus has been on literacy. We want to make sure that there’s a unique opportunity for kids to come and enjoy all sorts of reading and books and educational tools,” Viner notes. There’s a huge children’s area with lots of exhibitors, fun activities and even a free book giveaway. Families will love the Literary Circus. The very hands-on Science City has expanded, and you can learn about Botball in the Women’s gym!

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Great Books from the
Common Core Standards

Grades K–1

“Are You My Mother?,” by P.D. Eastman
“Green Eggs and Ham,” by Dr. Seuss
“Pancakes for Breakfast,” by Tomie DePaola
Read Aloud Stories
“The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” by L. Frank Baum
“A Story, A Story,” by Gail E. Haley

Grades 2–3

“My Father’s Dragon,” by Ruth Stiles Gannett
“Sarah, Plain and Tall,” by Patricia MacLachlan
“The Raft,” by Jim LaMarche
Read Aloud Stories
“The Cricket in Times Square,” by George Selden
“Bud, Not Buddy,” by Christopher Paul Curtis

Grades 4–5

“The Secret Garden,” by Frances Hodgson Burnett
“Tuck Everlasting,” by Natalie Babbitt
“M.C. Higgins, the Great,” by Virginia Hamilton
“Zlateh the Goat,” by Isaac Bashevis Singer
“Where the Mountain Meets the Moon,” by Grace Lin

Grades 6–8

“Little Women,” by Louisa May Alcott
“The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,” by Mark Twain
“The Dark Is Rising,” by Susan Cooper
“Dragonwings,” by Laurence Yep
“Eleven,” by Sandra Cisneros

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