It’s easy for me to rattle of a list of book recommendations to parents with young kids. For their kids, that is. Books for grown ups take me a bit longer to get through! To be quite honest, I really enjoy reading, and because of that, I’ve looked at it for too long as a privilege. A leisure activity. Something to do when I get all my work done. (Like that ever happens!)
But the truth of the matter is that not only do we need to read books to keep ourselves literate, informed, and well-rounded, but our kids need to see us read and hear us talk about reading as one more piece to their culture of literacy. When they see that reading is important to us, and that it’s a vital part of every day for every person, they too become lifelong readers.
So if you, like me, have been putting off some reading that takes you beyond Good Night Moon and The Very Hungry Caterpillar (though both are outstanding books!), you can remind yourself that you’re not just doing it for you, you’re doing it for your budding readers!
I do have to confess that I actually listen to more books than I read. I have a condition called motherhood that causes me to fall asleep as soon as I stop moving. So I download audio books (I use Audible, but many libraries offer the service as well) and listen as I do housework, run errands, or work in the yard. It’s a great way for me to get the books in, though there’s something more magical about holding an actual book in your hands — and that’s the part that’s magical for our kids as well. So I’m going to work on reading more physical books, even if it’s just during a silent reading time at home so my boys can see me reading.
I thought I’d share what’s on my summer reading list, though to be honest, this list will take me well into fall. I’d love to hear what you have on your nightstand or what you’d recommend for some great summer reading! As a disclaimer, I haven’t read many of these books, but they got on my list due to a connection they have to other reading I’ve done or due to the rave reviews they received from people I trust.
(*These are affiliate links to Amazon, but I only link to products I truly believe you’ll enjoy!)
While “reading” Christensen’s more recent book, How Will You Measure Your Life? (a book I highly recommend and will be writing about soon), I came across several references to one of his earlier books, Disrupting Class. Each time he alluded to a study or finding about education or child development from that book, I found myself thinking, “I have got to read this book!” So it now waits for me on our library’s reservation shelf so that I can pick it up on our library day tomorrow.
Christensen is a professor at Harvard Business School (a favorite of a few people I know who went there) and an expert on innovation and growth. When I say he’s an “expert” on innovation, I don’t just mean he decided to be an expert one day so he hung the tag-line by his name. He is THE foremost authority on disruptive innovation. I know some may bristle at the idea of a “business guy” taking a stab at school reform, but Christensen has a unique set of skills in that he’s not just an expert at reinventing organizations, but he’s proven himself as a master teacher as well. I’m looking forward to cracking this one open!
I’m actually in the middle of this one right now. In Acuff’s characteristically entertaining way, this book guides you through examining what a purposeful life looks like to you, and how to recognize and overcome the obstacles and excuses that get in your way. What can I say? I’m a sucker for a good, motivational book! (As a side note, this is one of those books I’m actually listening to, and while some narrating styles get in the way of a good book, this one is narrated by the author himself, which makes the timing and delivery perfect……and often hilarious.)
Love Does by Bob Goff
This is another one of those books I have to read by virtue of its connection to another book I’ve loved. Donald Miller’s book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, is quite honestly one of my all-time favorite books. So when that book introduces Bob Goff, and then as Donald Miller himself introduces Bob Goff in the forward of his book saying, “Bob Goff has had a greater impact on my life than any person I’ve known,” well, then I want to get to know Bob Goff too!
I think the title says it all! It feels like we live in an age of self-promotion and constant conversation, so the idea of looking at the power of introversion in that context sounds fascinating to me.
7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker
From the same blogger who wrote this side-splitting confession comes this book about simplifying and eliminating excess. (This is the story of my life as we pack up our home right now! Perhaps that’s why I’m so drawn to this one!) My friend said it was a life-changing book for her. My book group selected it as September’s book. This just might be the first time I have a book finished early!
The World of Fiction:
My more literate friends say I need to delve a bit more into fiction. It’s usually a harder sell for me for some reason, but here are just a few that have landed on my list. Maybe you could suggest some more!
The Running Dream by Wendy Van Draanen
This one’s already checked off of my list, thanks to a long road trip, and I’d highly recommend it. It’s very clean and centers around a high school character, so it’s a great read for teens and preteens as well. It would offer some great conversations between you and your older kids if you both decided to read it and then discuss it together. I picked it up as a preview to an adult/youth book activity but really enjoyed it in its own right. The book opens with the heroine, a passionate track star, discovering she’s lost her leg in a bus accident, just moments after setting a career best time in her specialty race: the 400m. The progression of the character and her change in perspectives, goals, and attitude is beautifully woven through an engaging story. The fact that the author is a runner is clear in the descriptions she paints and they really appealed to my own senses as a runner and a once-upon-a-time track athlete.
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
With descriptors like “fun”, “lovely”, “unassuming”, “charming”, and “funny” this book was an easy sell for me. Recommended by a friend I trust, it’s the story of a newly retired Englishman who walks a little bit every day to deliver a letter to an old dying friend, 600 miles away. As he walks, he reminisces, creating a beautiful story from the combination of everyday memories. It does sound lovely, doesn’t it?
So what’s on your summer reading list?
Top photo source (I only wish that was me reading by the beach!)