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March 9, 2018

Spring Break Reading List & Tips

The feeling of relief that comes with spring break is high on the list ofteacher“perks,” don’t you agree? Surviving winter with report cards and parent-conferences requires professional superpowers. And looming standardized testing dates strain most teachers with anxiety and apprehension. If it weren’t for a precious little spring break slotted right in between thesetwo teacherstress-points, we might all just go hide in a cave and hibernate. But never fear, spring break is near!  

Whatever spring break brings you, it offers all educators a few days to relax and rewind before the year-end crunch demands high energy and attention. Many of us will take advantage of days off to travel and visit new destinations or distant relatives. Others will plan and implement a stay-cation filled with fun outings and/or long-overdue projects. That’s the point – we have a gift of time to rejuvenate our brains and bodies – and we shouldplan aheadto achieve maximum benefits for ourselves (and our students).

Free time to me always cues the book-pile or the reading list in my mind. I need to strategize and prioritize spring break reading time so that even if I’m not flying off on vacation, I can still experience a great escape in the pages of a well-selected book!  I’ve read many books in-flight or on a beach, but more importantly, I’ve read countless books sitting on my sunny porch enjoying a plot that entertains or enriches me. The point is, I plan out my spring break reading list.

To support a search for your “just-right” spring break book, here are a couple of my recent favorites and some guidelines for grown-ups seeking satisfying reading outcomes.

Two Favorites from 2017:

  • Future Home of the Living Godby Louise Erdrich – Minnesota writer, futuristic plot with local setting. Kept me on my toes and really made me think!  I really cared about the characters and was cheering them on into the future and beyond!
  • Braving the WildernessbyBreneBrown – This famous writer shares powerful research and experiences on vulnerability and shame. She encourages us to cultivate community and human connections for these complex times.There areso many gemsfor teachers in her work.

Reading Guidelines for Grown-ups:

  • Know your timeline: consider a book you can both start and finish during break – the amazing feeling of finishing a good book, will add to the pleasure. There are many things to do besides read during your free time, so keep that in mind when you choose your titles.
  • Think about a plotline that might help you truly “escape” on break – a favorite mystery, adventure, or romance series? Maybe a “no-brainer” easier-read would be your best bet!
  • Ask a few friends what they’ve been reading: both fiction and nonfiction. Seek some recommendations and borrow a book, if possible.  
  • Ask some students for their recommendations: what do they think you should read right now?  It always pays off to read current children’s and young adult fiction yourself. Pop culture is a powerful connector!
  • Check out some online book lists for a glimpse at what titles are “hot” and might pique your interest.  Here are three reliable recommendation lists:

Finally, I’ve followed my own advice and here they are – my 2018 spring break book choices:

  • A Gentleman in Moscow by AmorTowles- This novel was on a few 2017 best book lists, specifically Barack Obama’s, a well-regarded fan of fiction. I’ve read some selections from his favorites before and enjoyed every page!
  • Refuge: A Novelby DinaNayeri- This book is recommended by many readers I respect. The topic of global immigration is relevant. I want to learn more from the story of a father and daughter who struggle to stay connected over the years living oceans apart from each other.
  • To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessingsby JohnO’Donohue- I’ve enjoyed some podcasts featuring this famous Celtic spiritual teacher, writer, and poet. I’m a huge poetry hound, and it intrigues me that he calls his poetic language “blessings”  vs.poems. Ready for some inspiration with this one!

Happy reading, everyone, and may your book choices bring you beautiful escapes and insights!

Check out some of our other reading list recommendations below.

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