Wheelock Announces Summer Reading Book

May 10, 2012

Picking CottonPicking Cotton by Jennifer Thompson-Cannino, Ronald Cotton, and Erin Tomeo will be Wheelock's 2012 summer reading book. A committee composed of faculty and staff members evaluated potential summer reading books according to three principles: alignment with Wheelock's mission, balance between intellectual merit and accessibility, and connection to the transformative first-year college experience. Picking Cotton stands out in all three categories.

Picking Cotton tells a story first and foremost about justice - individual, social, and institutional. The book will promote conversation and deep thinking about current issues, such as the Trayvon Martin case, and longstanding ethical problems, such as reliance on eyewitness testimony. Last year, Wheelock as a community read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks and grappled with the immense power of science, which sometimes advances society while ignoring individuals. This book will continue that conversation as we delve into the effects of DNA evidence on the justice system.

For more information, explore the Picking Cotton website. The website provides primary sources - police reports, lab reports, letters, and photographs - that will enrich our discussions and our teaching about research, analysis, and writing.

Wheelock's Summer Reading Program adds value to the first-year experience and provides an opportunity for the entire community to join in a conversation around important ideas. To facilitate both aspects of the program, groups of first-year students will meet with volunteer members of the faculty and staff for a discussion of the book during orientation. Students will thus share an important experience with a member of the Wheelock community who might otherwise remain unknown to them.

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