#STABSummerReading: July 2019

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Can you believe that it’s already August? As usual, the summer is going by in a flash – I know that my teacher friends are already counting down the dwindling days until we’re back in our classrooms, refreshing and creating for the new year. But it’s not quite that time yet, we’ve still got some summer left to celebrate!

Our community has definitely been celebrating their summer freedom with some serious #STABSummerReading. If you need a reminder about our official hashtag and the reason we’re so into summer reading (you mean there’s more reasons other than “there are great books to read and I haven’t read them all yet”?!), take a quick look at this summary from June’s #STABSummerReading highlight post:

If you haven’t heard, #STABSummerReading is a way for our reading community to stay connected and engaged during the summer months when we’re not together in the library. Research has found that students who do not read over their summer vacation can see a serious “summer reading loss” (also called the “summer slide”) which can impact their upcoming academic performance, test scores, and relationship with reading over all. In our library we talk about practicing a sport like swimming and basketball; if you run, practice, and participate every day or a few times a week, your muscles will stay strong and your skills will stay sharp. You won’t forget a thing! But what happens if you take three months off? When you come back, you’ll have a lot of catching up to do.

There’s no summer slide in sight from where I’m sitting. This month we had tons of faculty snapshots, showcasing just how many delightfully nerdy bookworms we have on our team! From hammocks in the woods to Grand Central Station, you’ll pretty much never stop a STAB teacher without a great book to read. Not to be beaten, students and families shared photos of their favorite titles, too. All in all, it was a great month for summer reading!

Check out some of the highlights from June’s #STABSummerReading:

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It’s almost the 4th of July, and my mind is full of questions about what it means to be an American, a citizen, and a human. Malala Yousafzai’s new book does exactly what we have come to expect from Malala – takes her global spotlight and shines it on other young women, giving them a platform to share their stories, hopes, and drive to make the world a better place. All of the young women in this book have one critical thing in common: they have, for one reason or another, been forced to leave their homes. Some have resettled and feel happy and successful in their new locations. Others are stuck in limbo in refugee camps or have not been accepted as they attempted to start again. Whether it ends with a victorious high school graduation or a painful lack of closure, each story is powerful in its own right. The context and information included in We are Displaced will help readers of all ages make sense of refugee banter that takes place on the news and in political debates; but, more importantly, it will break through the statistics and propaganda to add a human face to these crises and our action (or lack of action) in their wake. Amazon suggests grades 7 and up, and on average, I’d agree. But know your reader – refugee stories, by definition, aren’t happy-go-lucky tales. Tough topics are handled age appropriately, but it would be impossible to tell these stories without including pain, loss, and terror. Some will be ready for these stories earlier, and some will need more time to prepare. We are Displaced ends with extra background information, updates on contributors, and a call to action for young people looking to get involved, learn more, and make a difference in their communities. Once again, Malala has brought about questions and discussions that will linger in my head long after tomorrow’s fireworks have faded. #stabsummerreading #ireadya #yalit #refugees #malalayousafzai #wearedisplaced #human #bookreview

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Mickey knows exactly who she is. Athletic, driven, and a dedicated softball player determined to play in college and possibly go pro. Nothing can distract her from that identity – not her parents’ divorce, her dad’s young new wife, or her social anxiety about never quite fitting in. But after a car accident leaves her on the bench and in extreme pain, prescribed opioids are the only mental and physical relief she can find. And she’s not ready to give that up when her prescription runs out. Soon she’ll do anything to get the high that makes her feel normal again, and that solid identity has been replaced with one single word: addict. For me, Heroine was gripping and terrifying. It was a first-person trip down a rabbit hole that seemed impossibly easy to fall into. Author @mindymcginnisauthor guides the reader through every sacrifice and justification Mickey makes to get a fix – whether it's stealing from her parents or literally watching people die. Heroine reads like a step-by-step explanation of how teens can go from “regular kids” to OD victims in a matter of months; but it does nothing to glamorize or sell the lifestyle. Heroine is detailed and descriptive, and while I don’t think it goes overboard or gets graphic, it’s definitely heavy YA. Be prepared for drug use, needles, physical side effects, death, and everything else that comes with the territory. Know your reader. Let’s be straight forward: Almost every teen wonders about drugs. Most won’t bring questions or curiosities to the adults in their lives. Books like Herione can help to answer the questions that will likely never make it to the dinner table in a way that could save lives. Stark and realistic, Heroine is a necessary narrative for teens coming of age in a growing opioid crisis. #stabsummerreading #ireadya #yalit #youngadultbooks #booksthatmatter #addiction #yabooks

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You’re sitting in math class, daydreaming about that sweet moment, just ten months away, when you’ll be walking across the stage for the final time to get your diploma. You drop your pencil and, as you bend lazily to pick it up, your classmate explodes. Boom. Gone forever. And then, before the caution tape has even been removed, another. And another. Suddenly, this is Mara’s reality. The police, the FBI, even the President… nobody can figure out how, or why, but one thing is for sure: the seniors in Mara’s sleepy New Jersey town are spontaneously combusting, and no one is immune. Spontaneous was… hard to describe. Hilarious? That feels like a weird way to describe a book with so many bloody deaths, no matter how sharp and acerbic the narrator. Mysterious? Maybe, although Mara’s down-to-earth tone and dubious coping mechanisms make it all seem pretty commonplace after awhile. Existential? Duh – how do you not ponder your existence when you’re wiping the remains of your childhood friends off of your shoes? What it lacks in describability, it makes up in compulsive readability; Spontaneous will keep you laughing, gagging, and head scratching from cover to cover. YA in all of the ways – drugs, sex, death, swearing, debauchery in every possible manner (because what do you have to lose, if you know you’re just going to explode?). I can’t buy a copy for our shelves, but I know my readers will find their way to it anyway, especially when the movie comes out. Weird, fascinating, and exactly like the gruesome car accident you’re super grossed out by but can’t look away from. #stabsummerreading #ireadya #yalit #youngadult #youngadultbooks #bookreview #spontaneouscombustion

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Summer’s not over yet! Jump on in or follow along with #STABSummerReading on:

Instagram – Twitter – Facebook

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Front porch kind of morning #stabsummerreading

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