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All About Books: 2020 Teacher Summer Reads

Ms. Alexis

American Dirt is the story of a woman and her son escaping from a powerful Mexican drug cartel.  They run from Alcapulco to the American border, hiding from the longreach of the cartel.  Cummin carefully researched before writing this novel; it humanizes the incredible struggle migrants from Central America and Mexico face when trying to get to "freedom," and exposes the ignorance of dismissing these people as "illegals."

Dreams of Joy, written by Lisa See, is the sequel to Shanghai Girls, although there is no need to read them in any kind of order.  Dreams of Joy takes place during the Great Famine which happened during Mao's rule between 1959-1962.  The main character is the daughter of one of the "Shanghai Girls." Her mother and aunt emigrated to the US, and now Joy decides to return to China because she believes the propaganda she hears in her college Communist group.  She goes to China to "rebuild" in a collectivist way, and when she arrives, her passport is taken away.  The novel centers on the hardships Joy faces as China's ideals slip away.  Over 36 million people died in China's Great Famine. An  incredibly well researched and gripping story.

Emmanual

Emmanuel enjoyed Learning by Heart: An Unconventional Education by Tony Wagner

Tony shared some of his personal journey as an educator.

It resonated with him, that trial and error, resilience, and respect for the individual, is at the very heart of all teaching and learning.

Emmanuel also read:

  1. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
  2. Indian No More by Charlene McManis
  3. No One Ever Asked by Katie Ganshert
  4. Under the Broken Sky by Mariko Nagai
  5. No Surrender: The Land Remains Indigenous by Sheldon Krasowski

Ms. Kaufman

A Gentleman in Moscow
If you are a fan of Dr. Zhivago, you will enjoy this 30-year Russian saga.  Count Rostov is an unrepentant aristocrat who, in 1922, is sentenced to house arrest in an attic room of the Metropol, Moscow's most luxurious hotel.  Intriguing characters, descriptive scenes, and loads of laughs.   
Rules of Civility
It is New Years Eve, 1937.  Katey Kontent is a 20 something secretary sitting in a Greenwich bar, trying to make a couple of dollars last a long time.  In comes Tinker Gray, a handsome banker, and the next year of her life is forever changed.  New York City (and its upper echelons) in its glory and demise.

Ms. Lindahl

A Visit from the Goon Squad

I discovered this novel on a list of the best books of the last decade and it did not disappoint. It is one of the most creatively constructed books I've read, but unlike others that are hailed for their play with form, this on is actually very readable and highly engaging throughout. Each chapter tells a piece of the narrative from not only a different character's perspective, but thoughtfully adopts every different narrative point of view at some point to great effect. It is everything all at once in the best possible way.

Before the Fall

This is not your typical thriller. It has an engaging structure and some thoughtful philosophical moments scattered throughout but I'm left slightly dissatisfied by the outcome. Much like its focus on NYC lifestyles of the rich and famous, there's a lingering emptiness in the redeeming end. Maybe that's the point.

People of the Book

As a Humanities teacher, I very much appreciate this recommendation from my school librarian - a book which traverses the fictional history of book. It show how the story is not just in it's text but all that is unintentionally left on its pages in its journey through time.

Talking to Strangers

The Great Gatsby

The Rule of Four

Mr. Chaddock

Mr. Chaddock enjoyed The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins

One of the earliest detective novels in English literature, The Moonstone was still gripping, hard to put down, and fun over 150 years later. Collins is a master of the “known unknown”, presenting unexplained actions or events that demand to be uncovered or explained, and then building, building, building slowly to the reveal.

Mr. Chaddock also read:

Erasure by Percival Everett

Hate Inc.: Why Today's Media Makes Us Despise One Another by Matt Taibbi

 

Mr. John

Neuromancer is Mr. John's favourite because he enjoyed being taken to a fantasy world that let him escape our current fantasy-like world.

Ms. Gargiulo

Ms. Panton

Ms. Downie

So good. So eye opening in a lot of ways. So good as an educator, I think. I cried the whole time.