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New virtual book club providing safe space for teen girls

Hillsborough Schools prompting summer reading
Posted at 6:08 AM, Jul 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-01 07:43:59-04

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — A new virtual book club is helping teen girls stay connected through the summer and during quarantine.

Dr. Stacy Hahn, a Hillsborough County School Board Member, teamed up with Lakema Massey, an author who works with teen girls, to launch it.

The middle and high school girls are discussing the book Lailani's Choice, the first in a series of books written by Massey, a USF graduate.

The book showcases girls from lots of different backgrounds dealing with issues many teenagers face, including love, relationships, teen pregnancy, drug use and more.

"What I wanted to do is give the students today what I needed when I was a teen back then," Massey said.

The girls meet on Zoom every Sunday night and are asked to journal with a prompt from Massey each week.

More than just discussing the book, they also discuss their lives and get support from one another.

"It serves as an opportunity for the girls to not have to deal with things by themselves," Massey said.

Hahn says reading during the summer helps improve literacy, test scores and graduation rates. She also said it will help get students to foster a love of books.

"We're busy, our students are busy, but book club can be really motivating to get us to read more regularly," Hahn said. "Also developing that joy for reading, or for some of the students, reigniting that joy for reading."

While this book club session is too far along now to add other students, it is very likely another virtual book club will open in the next few months with another book.