Our students see our values through our actions. It’s one thing to say “reading is important and you should read”. But, if you can’t talk about a recently read book when a student asks or talk/display your reading titles, students will begin to notice and draw conclusions about what you really value.
Part of being a teacher librarian is valuing, celebrating and enjoying reading. Summer is that dedicated time, for me, to read. My daughter is in daycare, and I have the day more or less to my self. While I wish I did more sustained reading during the school year, I make a concerted effort in the summer to read entire books. During the school year, I often browse titles or read a few chapters. I read book review magazines, check out publishers’ instagrams, follow along on webinars. While it gets me an understanding of titles and trends, it’s just not the same as sitting down and reading a book from cover to cover.
My goal with summer reading is: to read from a variety of styles, keep up on my young adult trending books and topics, educate myself on topics of interests and get lost in a good read. Though an outsider might think that I’m just reading and have my summer off. For the most part, these books are helping me be a better librarian and connect with other educators during the summer off.
I present to you my summer reading list and the varied reasons for their inclusion.
- Citizen by Claudia Rankine: This title came from #nerdfarmreads, which is a book club being run by Nathan Bowling through his Nerd Farm podcast. Despite being an adult advertised book, there are definitely important pieces, layered and beautiful language and shortness that will appeal to teenagers.
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas: I’ve been trying to read this book for months! I’ve read probably 1/3 of it, but I put it back out on the shelf and let a student check it out. I tried powering through a novel once so a student could read it the next day. I learned with that book, Fault in Our Stars, that just because I can read a book in a night doesn’t always mean I should read a book in a night. #emotionallydrained I’m super motivated to read this title so I can participate in the #2jennsbookclub twitter chat in September.
- If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo: Part of another organization, Teachers United, that I belong to has selected two books for the summer. This is the fiction selection and I’m excited to read it. As I was putting my last book order together for the year, I came across the title and wondered why I hadn’t put it on a list, yet. A slew of awards and it’s a main character POV that many in the group haven’t read before.
- Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy: Though young adult, this is entirely a pleasure read for me. I fell in love with Julie Murphy’s other novel Dumplin’ when it came out, which coincidentally is an Evergreen Book Award nominee for 2018. Looking forward to reading this by the pool and feeling all the feels.
- Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions by Valeria Luiselli: This is book number two for Teachers United summer reading. Our non-fiction choice barely edged out the other title, which is number 7 on my summer read list. In today’s political climate, I am finding myself gravitating towards books that help me understand others’ experiences so that I can better advocate or stock my library with reading choices.
- Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon: This is going to be the book in the fall for my incoming studnets, probably. With a movie and a placement on the Evergreen Book Award nominees for 2018, it’ll be a book that my students will request more than I will try to sell. Given that I can’t supply my school with endless copies of the same book, it’s important for me to read and understand all the layers and appeals to the book so I can recommend “like reads”.
- You’re in the Wrong Bathroom by Linda Erickson Schroth and Laura Jacobs: Most of my non-fiction titles this summer are to help me better inform myself around issues that I see our community having to face in the coming months/years. I’m less narrative non-fiction tied as compared to my past reading habits. I’m also starting to cast a larger net to figuring out what professional titles should I be adding to my library purchases.
- American Street by Ibi Zoboi: Much like book number five, I feel that I need to do a better job of understanding the immigrant experience in the United States. Pairing this fictional read with the non-fiction reality in number five will make for some interesting thinking and discussion over this summer and into next school year.
- Radium Girls by Kate Moore: I’m a nerd and love reading about this time period and especially about the women in this time period. I’ve studied bits and pieces from the radium girls’ stories so it’ll be interesting to better flesh out their story. Plus, I always like to put a sizeable book on my list each summer.
- Culturally Responsive Teaching & The Brain by Zaretta Hammond: I need to better able to understand what I mean when I talk about this buzz phrase and I’ve seen this title around different circles. Again, it’s like title 7, which is homework for me to discover if this title would be useful in our teacher library.
- We Too Sing America by Deepa Iver: If you haven’t sensed, the thread of hearing others’ stories is strong for me in my summer reading. I like the promise of this book as well as the style to be able to jump in and out between my other reads.
- Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan: total pleasure read for me. This is my answer to what to read by the pool when I can’t be inside watching Housewives. I love the peek into the over the top, opulent lifestyles of the rich and famous in Asia.