EdWeek Readers Name Their Favorite Books of the Summer
As one effort to stave off "summer slide" for students, some of whom are at risk of losing two to three months of reading skills when school lets out, an annual crop of reading lists emerges every year. The New York Times had more than 900 teens read articles last week as part of a 10-week summer contest. Scholastic's Teacher magazine pulled together the expertise of librarians and teachers to recommend 50 summer must-reads for K-12 students. Science guru Bill Nye talked to the Strand Book Store in New York City about his favorite books (and no, they're not all about science).
But what about a reading list for educators? After last year's bevvy of recommendations from Education Week readers, opinion bloggers, and staff, we couldn't resist the urge to repeat our #EdWeekReads Twitter poll for the second year in a row. We were curious: What made your best-of list this summer?
Nearly 100 tweets poured in from teachers, school leaders, and even authors themselves, with recommendations in fiction, YA literature, and memoir, and on a range of topics from education leadership and classroom management to well-being, history, and politics. Check out some of notable picks below, and see the complete run of readers' recommendations on Storify.
This year's list leaned heavily on fiction and fantasy. EdWeek Teacher opinion blogger Megan M. Allen recently shared how her classroom demands had taken over her time to read for fun. In pursuit of a mental-health break, she resolved to crack open "escapist reads" for "pure enjoyment." Many teachers, librarians, and education consultants we heard from were also using their free time to catch up on pleasure reading.
Right now, The Vegetarian. It's quite unlike my usual choices! Next up: The Crucible...because I never have. *embarrassed blush*— Angie Miller (@angieinlibrary) July 13, 2017
Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk is a great read about women in the work world in the 1930s.— Eydie Cohen (@eydie_cohen) July 13, 2017
Commonwealth by Ann Patchett. Beautifully written, fantastic character development, captivating story! #EdWeekReads— Emily (@WorldBookEmily) July 10, 2017
House of silk by Anthony Horowitz. Great read if you're into Sherlock Holmes! Now for Moriarty!— Sean Mackay (@SmackayAbington) July 13, 2017
Dark Matter, written by Blake Crouch (wrote Wayward Pines) definitely a page turner read it in 2 days.— Vanessa Worrell (@VanessaW2007) July 13, 2017
b boy blues x james earl hardy. temple of my familiar x alice walker.— fredrick salyers. (@7haman) July 8, 2017
Some readers turned to dystopian fiction, which has seen a rise in sales this year for classics like Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale and George Orwell's 1984.
Currently reading Oryx and Crake— Diana (@padmagrrl79) July 8, 2017
But others couldn't stay away from self-imposed professional development and other hot education topics, such as leadership, multicultural education, and writing instruction. Author Dave Burgess' Teach Like a Pirate and Lead Like a Pirate earned several votes of praise.
Innovators Mindset, Lies My Teacher Told Me, and Most Likely to Succeed... I am not a teacher yet but working my way...— Jose A. Moran (@Jose_A_Moran) July 13, 2017
Half way through! pic.twitter.com/U9GnAdaMHs— Dani Marangon (@Dani_Marangon) July 13, 2017
Language at the Speed of Sight- Seidenberg— Catherine Guillory (@cgvinson) July 10, 2017
The Importance of Being Little and The New American High School— Beth Miller (@Ensenenme) July 13, 2017
Teacher, writer, writing teacher! pic.twitter.com/mI91Gmj0UD— Jonathan Byrne (@jbteacherman) July 13, 2017
The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge by Abraham Flexner! Great for educators and scholars alike.— Oliver(Ozzie) Crocco (@OzzieCrocco) July 10, 2017
This great book by Robert Marzano pic.twitter.com/kZpKyqaFA2— Helena Lyerova (@HLyerova) July 13, 2017
With a new U.S. president in office and a tense political climate, the desire to learn more about politics and our nation's history seems to be informing many readers' choices. Teachers, especially, say they aren't shying away from politics in the classroom and seek ways to talk to their students about controversial issues. Former Education Week reporter Mary Ann Zehr, who now teaches immigrant students in Washington, dug into the Civil Rights movement.
I read The Autobiography of Malcolm X. It's on 11th grade list for DCPS. Filled in gaps for me on history in the 1950s and 60s. Powerful.— Mary Ann Zehr (@mazehr) July 13, 2017
I Read & Recommend: Reaganomics vs the Modern Economy: The Conflict that Divides America by @MGilbert_Author— 📚MrsMcGuire (@RealMrsMcGuire) July 7, 2017
I've been wanting to read "Sapiens A Brief History of Humankind" for a while. Happy to say it's up next! #EdWeekReads— Jeremy Schaar (@JeremySchaar) July 10, 2017
The Vanishing American Adult #EdWeekReads— Amber Woods (@inthewoods74) July 13, 2017
On Tyranny by Timothy Snyder. Great read.— Maty Garcia (@matygarcia) July 13, 2017
In memoir, readers recommended stories that resonated with their work or expanded their worldview.
I reread A Smile as Big as the Moon each summer. It rejuvenates me and reminds me of the reason I teach each time. An amazing read!!!!— Popcorn and Pringles (@CupcakeGirl1444) July 10, 2017
Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance— Susan Corbus (@mthtchr93) July 13, 2017
(Check out J.D. Vance's interview with EdWeek correspondent Lisa Stark about how the opioid epidemic intersects with education.)
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. A serious memoir from a child's point of view of growing up in revolutionary Iran.— Pat Perkins (@perkinsatcurtis) July 7, 2017
Fans of children's and YA literature named Angie Thomas' The Hate U Give and Kwame Alexander's newly released Solo as must-reads, among old favorites, award-winners, and books they could use in classroom lessons.
Read "The Hate U Give". Loved it!— Lance Atkinson (@BrickCityPrep) July 13, 2017
Birdie by Tracey Lindberg is challenging but very powerful. Moving on to The Hate You Give, as well as the amazing Richard Wagamese.— Shaune Gowe (@ShauneGowe) July 13, 2017
Kwame Alexander's Crossover and Solo!— Tammy Gillmore, NBCT (@Tammy_Gillmore) July 13, 2017
Beyond the Bright Sea by @LaurenWolkBooks Just finished Wolf Hollow and picked her next one right up.— Kristin Crouch (@Daughterstalker) July 13, 2017
Holding Smoke by Elle Cosimano is my favorite read from Georgia Peach Book Award for teen readers so far! #EdWeekReads— Howell (@ShayeHowell) July 8, 2017
Need more titles to check out? See our previous coverage on the books Education Week's opinion bloggers named noteworthy.