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All About Books: 2019 Teacher Favorite Reads

Ms. Alexis

Pachinko by Min Jee Lee is a historical novel about 3 generations of a Korean family living in Japan.  Over the 100 year span of this book, the family never gain citizenship in Japan and are treated unfairly and are discriminated against.  I learned about Korean culture and Japanese-Korean relationships.  Very interesting!

Ms. Alexis contends this is her best book.  A family living in 21st century America struggles to get by in this economic climate.  Both parents are well-educated and they have a son who went to an Ivy-League school, but they can barely get by and are living in a house that is collapsing.  Their daughter is a twenty-something politically aware climate-change activist who ends up being the most knowledgeable.  Every second chapter centres on a different family who lived in that house one hundred years before.  The protagonist of that story is a scientist who befriends a female Darwinist who is conducting research of her own.  The two stories are parallel, but intersect in the end.

Ms. Ireton

Just when you think you have nothing left to lose, they come for your dreams.    Humanity has nearly destroyed its world through global warming, but now an even greater evil lurks. The indigenous people of North America are being hunted and harvested for their bone marrow, which carries the key to recovering something the rest of the population has lost: the ability to dream. In this dark world, Frenchie and his companions struggle to survive as they make their way up north to the old lands. For now, survival means staying hidden - but what they don't know is that one of them holds the secret to defeating the marrow thieves.

Ms. Boyarski

Ms. Boyarski read "Cat's Eye" by Margaret Atwood. Featuring a Historical World War II Canada setting, a depressed and lonely artist remembers her teenage years and being bullied by a group of girls. Through art, the protagonist is able to reflect on her past relationships. Themes: feminism, modern art, relationships, reflection, mental illness.  (Ms. Boyarski enjoyed reading this book, because although it was originally written in the 80s, these themes are more prevalent than ever in today's society. Margaret Atwood does well to explore/reach into the mind of a person struggling with depression.)

Ms. Johns

With courage, grace, and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah captures the epic panorama of World War II and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women's war. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France--a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women.

Are you Smart Enough to Work at Google? guides readers through the surprising solutions to dozens of the most challenging interview questions. Learn the importance of creative thinking, how to get a leg up on the competition, what your Facebook page says about you, and much more.  You are shrunk to the height of a nickel and thrown in a blender. The blades start moving in 60 seconds. What do you do? If you want to work at Google, or any of America's best companies, you need to have an answer to this and other puzzling questions.  Are you Smart Enough to Work at Google?

Ms. Gargiulo

Ms. Gargiulo liked this book because it clearly shows the different perspectives of why a family drifts apart and how hopefully will come together again.  Nobody is right and nobody is wrong.  At times you hear the voice of different family members, particularly the dad's which is saved until the end and is most impactful.  Only when the dad has a chance to tell his story do you see him in a different light.  It is tricky to get into because it flips a lot in the beginning from present to past and it takes some time to sort out all of the characters.  It also touches on the struggles of a Muslim family, whose children were born in the States, pre and post 911.

Ms. Nieken-Spence

In this candid and inspiring book, Gates traces her awakening to the link between women's empowerment and the health of societies around the world. She shows some of the tremendous opportunities that exist right now to “turbo-charge" change. And she provides simple and effective ways each one of us can make a difference.