The Power of the Page

The Power of the Page

Wondering what to read over spring break? The Office of Academic Resources (OAR) can help. Since 2015, it has been hosting a series of panel discussions at which Haverford community members give book recommendations based on a theme. Called Reading Rainbow after Levar Burton’s PBS children’s show, the series is usually hosted ahead of a college-wide vacation and features delicious warm cookies and copies of the suggested books—courtesy of the OAR—for the audience to take with them.

The events are organized by a committee of OAR interns who work with Assistant Dean Raquel Esteves-Joyce to select the theme and panelists. This year they invited student Sam Danish ’20, staffers Katrina Glanzer and Janice Lion, and faculty members Lou Charkoudian, Emily Hong, and Reema Rajbanshi to advocate for texts that helped them “overcome a sense of powerlessness.”

“We chose the theme of overcoming powerlessness because it required the panelist to think critically about their relationship to power, but also gave them an opportunity to be vulnerable,” said Mercedes Davis ’20, one of the OAR’s interns who helped organize this year’s event alongside Danish, Li Hermosillo-Rojas ‘22, and Erica Kaunang ‘22. “… Discussing power in such an open forum like Reading Rainbow works to build connections and relationships with students built on reciprocity. The theme of overcoming powerlessness captures ways that panelists have found to thrive in spite of structural and systemic inequalities. Additionally, we hoped to show students that powerlessness is not a static state of being, instead, there are things that we do in our everyday lives to resist.”

Here’s what this semester’s Reading Rainbow panelists had to say about their book choices:

Lou Charkoudian holding a copy of "Dare to Lead."

Lou Charkoudian holding a copy of “Dare to Lead.”

Associate Professor of Chemistry Lou Charkoudian ’03
Dare to Lead by Brené Brown
“[I chose this book because] I like the idea that you can embrace vulnerability and have it be a part of your path to leadership.”








Sam Danish '20 holding a copy of "How We Fight for Our Lives."

Sam Danish ’20 holding a copy of “How We Fight for Our Lives.”

Sam Danish ‘20
How We Fight for Our Lives by Saeed Jones
“I think Saeed Jones, as a black queer writer, has a lot to say about America in general. And also, personally, his memoir really touched me.”









Emily Hong holding her recommended book, "Bad Feminist."

Emily Hong holding her recommended book, “Bad Feminist.”

Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Visual Studies Emily Hong
Bad Feminst by Roxanne Gay
“I chose this book because the concept of a ‘bad feminist’ is something that I found to be personally revelatory. All of us who identify as feminists, we are still working inside patriarchy, inside capitalism, so we are going to make mistakes. But we can learn from those mistakes.”








Katrina Glanzer holding a copy of "In The Dream House."

Katrina Glanzer holding a copy of “In The Dream House.”

First-Year Dean Katrina Glanzer ’02
In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado
“I chose In the Dream House because Machado writes in a lushly embodied way about the ways power wielded in intimate relationships is shaped by both systems of oppression and by the particularity of our own narratives. The book empowered me to own and tell all my stories, and I hope it creates that same space for others.








Portrait of Visiting Assistant Professor of English Reema Rajbanshi

Visiting Assistant Professor of English Reema Rajbanshi

Visiting Assistant Professor of English Reema Rajbanshi
Reading, Writing, and Leaving Home: Life on the Page by Lynn Freed
“I picked [this book] because Lynn Freed was a writing teacher, and she writes very boldly about subjects I care about like mother-daughter relationships, race, and sexuality.”








Janice Lion holding a copy of her book recommendation, "Good and Mad."

Janice Lion holding a copy of her book recommendation, “Good and Mad.”

Associate Director of the Center for Peace and Global Citizenship Janice Lion
Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger by Rebecca Traister
“I am excited for the politics of today, and I think Rebeccca Traister reminds us of feminist movements of the past and movements for demanding rights and consolidating power, and the way women have been mocked or belittled or discounted or made—internally or externally—silent…. I picked this because I really want people to read this.”







Photos by Holden Blanco ’17

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