On the hunt for your next big read? Throughout the year, during our Sunday Spotlight interviews, we’ve asked teachers across the country to name their favorite book. Now, we have compiled a summer reading list based on their answers!
Whether you’re interested in picking up a timeless classic or something new and noteworthy, we hope you find a book on this list that you’re excited about!
Tangerine (Christine Mangan, 2018)
Set in 1956, Mangan tells the story of two college friends reunited in Morocco. Alice, who came to Tangier to escape memories of a traumatic accident is surprised when, after a year apart, Lucy shows up on her doorstep hoping to steal her away on a trip they once dreamed of. Tied together by similar pasts, their complex friendship once again falls into repeating patterns of control and jealousy, and with the added twist when a loved one goes missing, Alice is thrown into a sea of uncertainty – in her self, her friendship and the world around her. Released this year, Tangerine is generating excitement among readers everywhere.
– Suggested by social studies teacher, Bill Fishburn
Wonder (RJ Palacio, 2012)
Now a major motion picture, RJ Palacio tells the incredibly inspiring and heartwarming story of August Pullman, a boy with facial differences who enters fifth grade, attending a mainstream elementary school for the first time. This nest selling novel is generating conversation and excitement from over 6 million readers including 3 members of own educator innovators who all named it their favorite book!
– Suggested by math and social studies teachers Stephanie Lerch, Kathi Edwards & Emily Young
Eat, Pray, Love (Elizabeth Gilbert, 2006)
Elizabeth Gilbert had everything a modern woman is supposed to dream of having – a husband, a house, a successful career – yet like so many others, she found herself lost, confused, and searching for what she really wanted in life. Newly divorced and at a crossroads, Gilbert steps out of her comfort zone, risking everything to change her life, embarking on a journey around the world that becomes a quest for self-discovery. In her travels, she discovers the true pleasure of nourishment by eating in Italy, the power of prayer in India, and, finally and unexpectedly, the inner peace and balance of true love in Indonesia. This autobiographical novel, and now motion picture, has become an inspiration for readers everywhere.
– Suggested by math teacher, Alison Cox
The Mistborn Trilogy (Brandon Sanderson, 2006)
Mistborn is an epic fantasy trilogy that tells a politically-charged heist story. The saga hinges on the idea of turning the traditional hero-narrative upside and exploring the question of what happens when evil overpowers. If you love to get lost in the world of fantasy, add this series to your list.
– Suggested by math teacher, Mike Isaacson
Angels and Demons (Dan Brown, 2000)
When Brown’s recurring protagonist, symbologist Robert Langdon, is summoned by a european research institute to investigate a new and mysterious symbol he uncovers evidence for the return of the illuminati and a high-profile plot to be carried out within the heart of the catholic church. Dan Brown fans and lovers of thriller, adventure, mystery and conspiracy won’t be able to put this one down!
– Suggested by technology integration coach, Kyle Kline
The Beekeeper’s Apprentice (Laurie R. King, 1994)
After losing her family in a tragic motor accident in California, fifteen-year-old Mary Russell goes to live with her aunt in Sussex, England. Wandering the Sussex Downs in April 1915, she literally runs across fifty-four-year-old Sherlock Holmes, who has retired from his London practice and keeps bees. The two quickly become fast friends, Russell finding in Holmes a kindred spirit and steadfast teacher and Holmes finding in Russell a quick mind and a worthy apprentice in the art of detecting. Named One of the Century’s Best 100 Mysteries by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association this book is a perfect choice for all lovers of mystery and sherlock holmes.
– Suggested by social studies teacher, Kyle Nielsen
Outlander (Diana Gabaldon, 1991)
The first in a series of 8, Outlander focuses on the Second World War–era nurse Claire Randall, who travels through time to 18th century Scotland and finds adventure and romance with the dashing Jamie Fraser. A mix of several genres, the Outlander series has elements of historical fiction, romance, adventure and science fiction/fantasy. This best selling series is loved by readers of all genres.
– Suggested by math teacher, Katie Gatrell
Jane Eyre (Charlotte Brontë, 1847)
This beloved story focuses on the unfolding of Heroine and orphan Jane Eyre’s moral and spiritual sensibility as she falls into and is later torn out of love with her employer Mr. Rochester. The novel contains elements of social criticism, with a strong sense of Christian morality at its core, and is considered by many to be ahead of its time because of Jane’s individualistic character and how novel approaches the topics of class, sexuality, religion, and feminism. A timeless and beautifully written classic, Jane Eyre has been captivating readers for almost two centuries.
– Suggested by science teacher, Angela Hansen
Food for Thought Fiction
The Shack by (William P Young, 2008)
4 years after the mysterious abduction and brutal murder of his youngest daughter, Allen Phillips receives a note from God asking him to return to the site of his daughter’s murder, a shack in the oregon wilderness. Centered around the Young themes of pain, darkness, religion and insanity, this page-turning novel brings the reader into into a world of suffering and powerful search for god and meaning
– Suggested by math teacher, Angela Wright
The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini, 2003)
In a a heartbreaking story of friendship, chaos, betrayal and redemption, Hosseini tells of Amir, a young boy from Kabul, whose closest friend is Hassan the son of his father’s servant. This story is set against a backdrop of tumultuous events, from the fall of Afghanistan’s monarchy through the Soviet military intervention, the exodus of refugees to Pakistan and the United States, and the rise of the Taliban regime. This story has become a classic and is a powerful read for all.
– Suggested by chemistry teacher, Michelle Harris
The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho, 1988)
The Alchemist follows a young Andalusian shepherd in his journey to the pyramids of Egypt, after having a recurring dream of finding a treasure there. His story gives the reader a message about cultivating self-awareness, finding purpose, and taking the opportunities life presents. Full of magic and self-discovery, this classic story has been an international favorite for decades.
– Suggested by science teacher, Alicia Johal
Shogun (James Clavell, 1975)
Beginning in feudal Japan some months before the critical Battle of Sekigahara in 1600, Shōgun gives an account of the rise of the daimyō “Toranaga” through the eyes of the English sailor John Blackthorne who unexpectedly winds up on the shores of Japan where he encounters two people who will impact his life in dichotomous and profound ways. This book is a great choice for anyone with an affinity for historical fiction.
– Suggested by history teacher, Nick Bernardini
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith, 1943)
This beloved coming of age novel focuses on an impoverished but aspirational adolescent girl and her family living in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York City, during the first two decades of the 20th century. Full of hardship, beauty, compassion and hope, the poignant and honest story story of Francie Nolan has touched readers for decades. The main metaphor of the book is the hardy Tree of Heaven, whose persistent ability to grow and flourish even in the inner city mirrors the protagonist’s desire to better herself. This inspiring and beautiful, semi-autobiographical story touches on important themes of childhood, poverty, resilience and the American Dream.
– Suggested by math teacher, Janet Kelly
Mathematical Mindsets (Jo Boaler, 2015)
Mathematical Mindsets is a book of strategies and activities to help math teachers and parents foster an interest and affinity for math in all students, regardless of how “good” or “bad” at math they believe themselves to be. Jo Boaler—Stanford researcher, professor of math education, and expert on math learning— brings us her research and answers the age-old question of why students don’t like math. Her research follows thousands of students through middle and high school, looking at how they learn and how their potential to succeed in math can be best reached. This book is a great option for all teachers and parents looking to better support the specific learning styles of their students.
– Suggested by math teacher, Nerissa Gerodias
Pale Blue Dot (Carl Sagan, 1994)
A Vision of the Human Future in Space is a 1994 book by Carl Sagan. It is the sequel to Cosmos and was inspired by the famous Pale Blue Dot photograph, for which Sagan provides a poignant description. In this book, Sagan mixes philosophy about the human place in the universe with a description of the current knowledge about the Solar System. He also details a human vision for the future. A captivating history of the journey through space and time, this book is a good pick for lovers of astronomy and those interested in the solar system and in the philosophy of earth’s place in the universe.
– Suggested by school teacher leader, Kris Nielsen
Favorite Children’s Books and Young Adult Series
Looking to read with your students or children? These teacher favorites are perfect for all audiences!
- The Hunger Games Trilogy (Suzanne Collins, 2008)
- The Eragon Trilogy (Christopher Paolini, 2002)
- Holes (Louis Sachar, 1998)
- The Harry Potter Series (JK Rowling, 1997)
- Love You Forever (Robert Munsch, 1986)
- The Giving Tree (Shel Silverstein, 1964)
- The Lord of the Rings Series (J.R.R. Tolkien, 1954)
Other Authors to Check Out
Picking one favorite is hard! Some teachers gave us their favorite authors instead:
- Dennis Lehane (crime/mystery fiction)
- Stephen King (horror/ fantasy/ science fiction)
- Sophie Kinsella (chick lit)
- James Patterson (thriller/ romance/ young adult)
- Markus Zusak (young adult/ fiction)
- Fredrik Backman (fiction/ satire)
- We want to hear from you too! Suggest a favorite that’s not on this list, or let us know what you thought about one of these books by tweeting out this link and tagging us on Twitter @Edulastic
- Teacher tech tip: try out the Passage-based question type on Edulastic to assess students on reading comprehension!
- Who suggested these books anyway!?? Check out our Sunday Spotlight page to learn more about the teachers behind the books!