By the end of the school year, many educators find the stack of books on their nightstands piled high. At least for me, this year’s stack was higher than it has ever been. Maybe because of all the suggested reads on equity, maybe because the pandemic had me checking my phone a little too much. Whatever the reason, summer is the time to chip away at that pile… to make room for next year’s pile!

Happy Reading, 


UVEI faculty and staff members share their summer reading lists, pulling from the worlds of social justice, antiracism, deeper learning, and national trends to inform their work with novice teachers, experienced educators, teacher leaders, and principals. 

Page Tompkins

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontent Isabel Wilkerson

The UVEI Board of Directors has chosen this as a collective summer read and asked that a UVEI faculty member facilitate a learning conversation for them in the fall (that won’t be me). I’m excited to listen in and hear their thoughts and its implications for UVEI’s commitment to equity and antiracist work.

Equity-Centered Trauma Informed Education by Alex Shevrin Vennet 

I admire the work of this Vermont educator! (Twitter: @AlexSVenet) 

Cultivating Genius: An Equity Framework for Culturally and Historically Responsive Literacy by Gholdy Muhammad

I’ve been aware of this book for awhile, and Becky Wipfler, UVEI Literacy Educator Programs Coordinator, highly recommended it and nudged me to move it to the top of my list. She thinks that there are practical and useful tools that will help UVEI make equity more explicit in some of our assessments.

The Name of the Wind & The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

Just for fun.

Kristen Downey

Coaching for Equity by Elena Aguilar 

I want to improve my coaching of candidates to think about equity-centered problems of practice in their teaching and leading.

Cultivating Genuis by Dr. Gholdy Muhammad

Like Page, Becky motivated me to put this book on my list. Also, Dr. Muhammad is a former middle school educator, and I inherently and without question trust middle school teachers. 

Across That Bridge: Life Lessons by John Lewis

I’m headed out on a summer road trip with my husband and two teenagers, which will include stops on the Civil Rights Trail to better understand the movement then and now.  

Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu

This novel won the 2021 Tournament of Books (called The Rooster), a competition I’m obsessed with every March, set up with brackets like the NCAA basketball championship, and which the creators of the tournament describe as “stupid,” because “how could one work of art ever be considered the best, above all others?” This book wasn’t one I originally prioritized in my bracket.

Chris Ward

Deconstructing Race: Multicultural Education Beyond the Color-Bind by Jabari Mahiri

I’m curious how the author deploys the concept of “micro-cultural identities” to move the discussion of diversity in education forward. 

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer

I was given this book recently and would not have known about it otherwise. Comparing and combining different ways of understanding the natural world is needed.

The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson

Heard this described by an acquaintance as the “best non-fiction book” they’ve read. And with Caste getting lots of press I wanted to read this. 

Racial Microaggressions: Using Critical Race Theory to Respond to Everyday Racism by Daniel Solórzano & Lindsay Pérez Huber

I want to better understand and be able to identify and confront the day-to-day ways BIPOC experience harm.

Andrea Feid

The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read: (And Your Children Will Be Glad That You Did) by Philippa Perry

The title intrigued me, and it seems like something my mother would say.  I hope I can now realize all my mistakes were not my fault. 🙂

The Other Black Girl: A Novel by Zakiya Dalila Harris

This novel is about two women of color who work in publishing, and they’re the only two people of color in the office. It’s a thriller, but also an exploration of diversity in the workforce. There was a great interview with the author on Sam Sanders’ show on public radio called It’s Been a Minute. Highly recommended! 

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson

I’m reading for the same reasons Page described above.

Becky Wipfler

Shifting the Balance: 6 Ways to Bring the Science of Reading into the Balanced Literacy Classroom by Jan Burkins and Kari Yates

From the publisher: These days, it seems that everyone has a strong opinion about how to teach young children to read. Some may brush off the current tension as nothing more than one more round of “the reading wars.” Others may avoid the clash altogether due to the uncivilized discourse that sometimes results. Certainly, sorting the signal from the noise is no easy task.

In this leading-edge book, authors Jan Burkins and Kari Yates address this tension as a critical opportunity to look closely at the research, reevaluate current practices, and embrace new possibilities for an even stronger enactment of balanced literacy.

The Literacy Coach’s Handbook: A Guide to Research-Based Practice by Sharon Walpole and Michael McKena

This text will guide our candidates in year two of the literacy specialist program.

Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don’t Know by Malcolm Gladwell

After over a year of social isolation, this book feels appropriate. And I love Malcolm Gladwell.

Rising Strong: How the Ability to Reset Transforms the Way we Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brene Brown

It was on my list last summer and I didn’t get to it, so it’s going on again this summer. Love Brene!!

Marie McCormick

Farm Girl: A Memoir by Megan Baxter

Local author writing poetry-like prose about growing vegetables? Sign me up! I also have a personal connection – Megan’s mom was my flute teacher and I regularly babysat for Megan and her siblings when I was in high school.

Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design by Charles Montgomery

This is highly relevant to my position as a member of Lebanon’s Pedestrian and Bicyclist Advisory Committee. It’s also timely considering the planning needs that go along with the serious housing crunch/crisis that our region is experiencing right now. Finally, it’s sitting on my husband’s bookshelf so it is the easiest book for me to start reading this summer.

We Came, We Saw, We Left: A Family Gap Year by Charles Wheelan

This appears to be an entertaining story about a family’s trip around the world. It’s nice that it’s a local family, and also happens to be the family of one of our principal alums!

While Justice Sleeps by Stacy Abrams

I am very impressed by the civics work that Stacy Abrams does, so I’d like to give this novel a try.

Adam Norwood

Stamped- Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X. Kendi

This book is being read by educators across Kingdom East School District and they kindly sent me a copy.

The Geography of Genius by Eric Weiner

Curious to know more about how where you live in the world affects your creative capacity.

What School Could Be by Ted Dintersmith

I’m always looking for more than just theoretical examples of innovations in schools, but for actually innovative schools themselves.

Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing

Think things are tough?  Having a bad day?  Week?  Month?  Read Lansing’s account of Shackleton’s beyond-difficult and nearly tragic trip to Antartica gone extremely wrong and how setback were dealt with one (or several) at a time.  Besides being an amazing story, this book provides a great example of the role of solid leadership, especially in a time of crisis. 

Jill Koppers

The Power of Different by Gail Saltz

I’m continuously curious about how people learn and, as an educator, when and where my influence and student nature intersect. I appreciate the seemingly positive lens on learning disabilities in this book which highlights how the conditions that cause people to experience difficulty at school, in social situations, at home, or at work can lead to creative, disciplinary, artistic, empathetic, and cognitive abilities. 

Holding Space by Aminata Cairo

I’m curious about both the topic and the author. Aminata is from the Netherlands as is my husband, she has Surinamese roots, is an anthropologist and psychologist and in this book addresses diversity and inclusion through personal stories. 

New York, New York, New York: Four Decades of Success, Excess, and Transformation by Thomas Dyja

A history of NYC-my favorite place on earth.

Crying In H Mart by Michelle Zauner

I really want to add a light and upbeat title to my list this summer (and I will), but Crying In H Mart keeps coming up. From my best friend to my adult daughter, to a random hallway stop at school, this title has been mentioned to me multiple times. Intriguing to me- Korean culture and food!