2019-20 All-School Student Read: “Walking to Listen: 4,000 Miles Across America, One Story at a Time”

What could you learn by walking across the United States, allowing everyone you met to be your guide? At 23, Andrew Forsthoefel did exactly that, leaving his home in Pennsylvania with little more than a backpack, an audio recorder, and books by Whitman and Rilke. Lawrenceville has selected this memoir of Forsthoefel’s amazing journey “Walking to Listen: 4,000 Miles Across America, One Story at a Time,” as its All-School Student Read for summer 2019.
According to the Boston Globe, “Walking to Listen” is “More than a story of the physical trials and tribulations of walking across the country (although there's plenty of that too!), this is a deeply felt account of the trials and tribulations of growing up . . . the ‘how do I fit into this world?’ kind of exploration.” School Library Journal lauded Forsthoefel for his “fresh spin” on issues, “such as race, privilege, religion, and family . . . as he ponders how to approach the world and all its beauty and pain and how to listen to others.”
In September, Lawrentians will lead discussions about the book with their peers, introducing Harkness learning to those new to the School. Forsthoefel will speak at Lawrenceville in the fall as an additional way for students to more deeply engage with “Walking to Listen.”
The School’s Summer Reading Committee, comprised of Lawrenceville faculty members, selected this year’s book. “We wanted a book that would generate discussion and raise some questions and themes that are relevant to Lawrenceville and also connect with larger issues ‘beyond the gates,’” said History Master and SRC member Alison Easterling. “Forsthoefel’s memoir of walking across the United States, as a means to discover and explore the country as well as himself, points to the importance of listening to and learning from others--not only one of the essential elements of Harkness learning but also a crucial part of forming an inclusive community. It also illustrates the challenges and importance of trust and empathy, especially toward people very different from ourselves.”
For additional information, please contact Lisa M. Gillard Hanson, director of Public Relations, at lgillard@lawrenceville.org.

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Through House and Harkness, Lawrenceville challenges a diverse community of promising young people to lead lives of learning, integrity, and high purpose.  Our mission is to inspire the best in each to seek the best for all.