Saturday, June 13, 2015

Summer Reading

Summer Bliss.... 

In just a few short days, I will be heading to this beautiful beach on the gulf coast of Florida for a girls' week of relaxation with my best friend from college, her mom, and her mom's best friend.  I know that most of us teachers out there plan to spend some time relaxing this summer.  For me, relaxing involves shopping, laying out waterside (pool, lake, ocean), and most of all, reading.   In lieu of that- here is my personal must read list for summer and a few suggestions for those of you looking for a good read!  

A few notes: 
1. I try to mix up what I'm reading, but I am almost always drawn to good realistic, YA fiction.  
2. I'm trying to challenge myself this summer to read more than usual- I want to have a good base of book knowledge for my kiddos.  
3.  I'm challenging myself to read outside of my favorite genres- feel free to comment on your favorite books for me to try!  

To Read This Summer... 

  1. Tuesday's With Moorie by Mitch Albom :  I've heard so much good about this book.  It looks like a heartwarming, quick read!  
  2. Across the Universe by Beth Revis : My librarian recommended this to me.  She said it is her all time favorite book - she actually re-reads it once a year.  Plus, it is a all time favorite of  Leonard's, from Big Bang Theory.  
  3. Friday Night Lights by Buzz Bissenger : I've checked this book out three times this year, but I keep returning it because I've been busy and its been due at the library.   I'm determined to read this before school starts.  
  4. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand :  This is another book that's been on my nightstand for a while.  A friend recommended it two summer's ago and I purchased it, but never read it.   Last summer, I took it on our honeymoon, but it didn't get read.  This summer I'm determined to read it too! 
  5. The Bookseller of Kabul by Asne Seierstad: Branching out into international waters with this one.  
  6. Read Between the Lines by Jo Knowles:  The cover on this book made me pick it up.  Plus, it was on YALSA's must read list.
  7. Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler:  This is another one where the cover got me.  Such beautiful artwork throughout the book.  
  8. Spanking Shakespeare by Jake Wizner: I'm struggling to find books for my non-reading boys.  Especially the ones who aren't really interested in sports and tell me their favorite TV shows are South Park or Family Guy.  When I googled books like Family Guy for high school students, this book appeared.  This is one of the categories of books I struggle to find.  
  9. The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie:  This was also a book put on the humor category for high school students.  I've seen lots of teachers refer to this book as a good one so I'm going to give it a try.  
  10. Paper towns by John Green:  The movie comes out soon.. and Looking for Alaska is one of my all time favorite books... need I say more.  


  1. The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore : This book still has me thinking after I finished it.  It is part memoir, part biography.  Wes Moore pairs his life with another man named Wes Moore.  Both men have many similarities - from the projects of Baltimore, African American, fatherless; yet, their lives could not have turned out more different.   This book gave me inside into drug culture, incarceration,  poverty,  the power of education and mentorship, and identity while still keeping me enthralled with a narrative I couldn't put down! 

    2.  I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson : Winner of the 2015 Printz award - I picked up this book after reading Nelson's first book The Sky Is Everywhere.  While Nelson's first book was intriguing and well-written, this second book definitely surpasses the first!  Nelson pulls you into this story by having two twins - Noah and Jude- narrate the story.  Noah tells his perspective when they were 13.  Jude's perspective is when they are 16- and clearly, something has gone wrong in those 3 short years.  You will be drawn in by the conflict and plot; however, you will stay because Nelson's prose is so beautifully written that you won't want to stop consuming her words.  

    3.  The Unwind Dystology by Neal Shusterman: I read the first in this series Unwind during my first year of teaching because it was apart of the curriculum.  I instantly was drawn in by the plot - as were my students each year I taught it!  Shusterman creates characters that feel so real, and relatable; and his plot is written so realistically even though it is futuristic society that has outlawed abortion and created unwinding.   This dystopian series is the best series since Harry Potter that I've read.  Each book was better than the next, and I was sad when it was finished.   He shows you how our world could become the Unwind world, making you think about how we treat our disengaged youth, adapt technology, and use propaganda to make people believe certain ideas; yet, he draws you into a plot that makes any teen, or adult,  find these books difficult to put down.  

    4.  Book Love: Developing Depth, Stamina, and Passion in Adolescent Readers by Penny Kittle : If you read any professional development book this summer, this is the book to read.   Kittle focuses on literacy in this book- spending the first third explaining the state of reading in our nation, the middle third showing you how to practically foster a classroom environment that encourages kids to really read, and the last third outlining how a school-wide culture of reading can be developed.  If you are concerned about reading for PD poolside, this book is perfect!  It makes you think; however, it is written for teachers by teachers and is not full of terms or theories.  Instead, it is full of practical ways to develop readers in your school.  This book changed the way I will run my classroom in terms of independent reading.   
    P.S.:  Those students on the front cover are Penny's actual students!

    What books should I add to my summer reading list?   What are you reading this summer?  

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