Happiness is not a static concept or a goal to achieve, but rather a subjective, changeable state — a continuous process of growth, exploration, and wellbeing. There are many ways to strive toward happiness, including understanding and accepting ourselves and others, sparking and maintaining curiosity, and pursuing passions and joyful activities.

In support of this year’s essential question, we encourage all students, faculty, and staff to strive toward real and lasting happiness through exploring topics of interest to them by reading. Reading offers a variety of benefits for health, happiness, and well-being — ranging from stress-reduction and improved sleep to increased empathy and cognitive development.

One of the best ways to find joy in reading is to have a voice in what you read. To assure that BHS students have the opportunity to read a book of their choice this summer, we asked them to suggest book titles, genres, and topics. After reviewing just under 300 recommendations from the BHS school community, the committee worked to develop a list of 60 titles that meet a variety of reading needs. This list is not catalog of uplifting books. Rather, it includes stories about people whose stories inspire our students, social issues that concern them, places and time periods they want to learn about, characters who reflect them, and writing styles and genres that hold their interest. Our hope is that every BHS student, faculty, and staff member will spend time this summer relaxing with a good book.