Written by USPA History Teacher, Amy Richard

Summertime consists of warm weather, warm rains, and warm breezes.  What goes the best with all of those things?  Books.  This summer why don’t you try reading every day?  It seems like a huge burden but did you know that if you read 30 minutes a day that you could actually end up reading up to 50 books a YEAR?  Lots of students will confide in me that they don’t like to read for pleasure because of all the schoolwork they have.  This summer is the perfect time to just set aside 30 minutes of your day (before bed, before breakfast, waiting for practice…) to escape into another lifetime and time period.

There are so many good books to choose from and I’d be writing for days if I had to list them all here.  However, I will highlight a few new books coming out and a few oldies but goodies that fall into my favorites.  

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes – by Suzanne Collins.

Have you read the Hunger Games trilogy?  Seen the movies?  I remember when these books came out and I actually had to wait MONTHS between each new release.  I loved them and have read them probably about 5 times each!  The author, Suzanne Collins just released a prequel to the original three that tells the story of President Snow as a young boy.  He’s such a villain in the original books that it will be interesting to see what we make of him before he became a man of power.  I’m definitely looking forward to reading this one!  You can get it online or at any local bookstore!  

Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art by James Nestor

If you are more of a non-fiction sort of reader, this new book by James Nestor might catch your eye.  Nestor explores the fact that people are no longer breathing properly and that it may be having a devastating effect on our health.  He travels all over the world to look into places that are focusing on breathing as a science and as a practice.  He looks at inner-city choir schools, secret Soviet facilities and even goes through some ancient burial sites for answers.  I had never thought of this as anything but a simple human function.  You breathe in – you breathe out.  This book will show you there is SO much more to it.  So take a deep breath and check it out!

Clap When You Land – Elizaeth Acevedo

This book isn’t a normal book for me but when I was told to read it by someone I highly admire – I read it.  It is a book told in verse by an author who, in her own right, is a National Poetry Slam champion.  I love those competitions so I gave this book a try.  It was beautiful.  I know that may sound cliche or overdramatic, but I fell in love with not only the story of family and everything that comes with a family – but the book tackles some complex issues like toxic masculinity, life within the Dominican Republic and the socio-economic differences that exist within that culture, and grief.  It tells the story of two sisters who have to find a way to come to terms with the loss of their father and in turn the loss of their identity.  It is beautifully written and the imagery and language used made me feel like I was there.  This book is a must-read.  Just take my word on it. 

I have many other books that I could recommend but every person is different.  Please reach out to me at amy.richard@gouspa.org for ideas of what you can read next.  Enjoy your summer and don’t forget to read!

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