State Officials Inspire Kids to Read


August 26, 2016
Celeste Bruno
Communications Specialist
1-800-952-7403 x208

This summer, the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) challenged all residents to choose four books to read over the summer and share them on social media to encourage others to read as well. The "What's Your Four?" campaign launched because children who read just four books over the summer fare better on reading comprehension tests in the fall, compared with their peers who read one or no books.

Among the hundreds of people who posted to social media using the hashtag #WhatsYourFour are six prominent Massachusetts officials: State Auditor Suzanne Bump, State Representative Jim Dwyer, State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg, Attorney General Maura Healey, Secretary of Education Jim Peyser, and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.

"Our statewide summer reading program is fun for everyone, but there are also many academic benefits," said MBLC director Dianne Carty. "Having high-profile people share their four books helps encourage children and teens to choose books to read themselves."

The hashtag #WhatsYourFour was used over 400 times across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, with over 500 books read and recommended. This is the first summer the MBLC ran the campaign and plans to continue it for summer 2017. More information about the Massachusetts Statewide Summer Reading Program, including details about this campaign and the academic benefits of summer reading, can be found at

Massachusetts has offered statewide online summer reading programs since 2007. Participants register, write book reviews, set goals, and track their progress online. Massachusetts was the first state in the country to offer such a program. On average, 350 libraries offer statewide summer reading each year with over 350,000 children, teens, and adults participating. The Boston Bruins have been active partners and advocates for reading and literacy since 2009 and collaborate with the MBLC and the MLS to develop reading and literacy programming.

The following are the book selections made by the Massachusetts state officials that participated:

Auditor Bump: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, The Translator by Daoud Hari, The Waters of Eternal Youth by Donna Leon, and To Have and Have Not by Ernest Hemingway.

Representative Dwyer: Fenway Park 1912 by Glenn Stout, In the President's Secret Service by Ronald Kessler, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain.

Treasurer Goldberg: Grace and Grit: My Fight for Equal Pay and Fairness at Goodyear and Beyond by Lilly Ledbetter, Getting Even: Why Women Don't Get Paid Like Men - and What To Do About It by Evelyn Murphy, Alexander, who Used to be Rich Last Sunday by Judith Viorst, and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

Attorney General Healey: Hamilton by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter, Dreamland: The Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic by Sam Quinones, Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey, and One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss.

Secretary Peyser: A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, The Federalist Papers, and A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking.

Mayor Walsh: Leonard: My Fifty Year Relationship with a Remarkable Man by William Shatner, A Lucky Irish Lad by Kevin O'Hara, Bound for the Promised Land by Kate Clifford Larson, and Waking Up White by Debbie Irving.

About MBLC

The Board of Library Commissioners ( is the agency of state government with the statutory authority and responsibility to organize, develop, coordinate and improve library services throughout the Commonwealth. The Board advises municipalities and library trustees on the operation and maintenance of public libraries, including construction and renovation. It administers state and federal grant programs for libraries and promotes cooperation among all types of libraries through regional library systems and automated resource sharing. It also works to ensure that all residents of the Commonwealth, regardless of their geographic location, social or economic status, age, level of physical or intellectual ability or cultural background, have access to essential new electronic information technologies and significant electronic databases.