Hi reader friends! I am really looking forward to this year of reading because I think there’s a plethora of good literature and non-fiction on the horizon!
Before I share this very fun list with you, I want to share something I’m doing differently with this annual post this year. I have learned that I read for different reasons. With this in mind, I’ve decided to separate my book list into different categories this year to designate the purposes for each book. This will help you if you want to read a book for a specific reason. Perhaps it’s the educator in my soul that longs to add a bit of rationale and explanation to the annual book list.
The past couple of months, I’ve gathered great recommendations from friends and book lists around the internet from blogs I follow. These are the titles that sound really promising to me!
Bible Studies and Spiritual Growth Books:
◦ The Bible Recap: A One-Year Guide to Reading and Understanding the Entire Bible by Tara-Leigh Cobble
◦ Galatians Study By: She Reads Truth
◦ Ephesians Study By: She Reads Truth
◦ The Abolition of Man By: C.S. Lewis
◦ Every Good Endeavor By: Tim Keller
◦ The Well-Watered Woman: Rooted in Truth, Growing in Grace, Flourishing in Faith By: Gretchen Saffles
◦ Knowing God By: J.I. Packer
◦ Lead: 12 Gospel Principles for Leadership in the Church By: Paul David Tripp
Educational Leadership Books for Leaders, Teachers, and Administrators:
◦ Leaders Eat Last By: Simon Sinek
◦ Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking when Stakes are High By: Kerry Patterson
◦ The Emotionally Healthy Leader By: Peter Scazzero
◦ Grit By: Angela Duckworth
◦ I Love You Rituals by Dr. Becky Bailey
◦ The Principal 50 By: Baruti K. Kafele
◦ Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline by Dr. Becky Bailey
◦ What Happened to You? Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing By: Bruce Perry
◦ The Self-Aware Leader: Play to Your Strengths, Unleash Your Team By: John C. Maxwell
◦ Raising Emotionally Strong Boys By: David Thomas
◦ Giving Your Words By: Clay and Sally Clarkson
◦ Prepared: What Kids Need for a Full Life by Dianne Tavenner
◦ Fostered By: Tori Hope Petersen
◦ Foster the Family By: Jamie Finn
◦ The Most Important Place on Earth: What a Christian Home Looks Like and How to Build One by Robert Wolgemuth
◦ Feeding the Mouth That Bites You: A Complete Guide to Parenting Adolescents and Launching Them into the World By: Dr. Kenneth Wilgus PhD
◦ Show Them Jesus: Teaching the Gospel to Kids By: Jack Klumpenhower
◦ It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens By: Danah Boyd
◦ The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults By: Frances E. Jensen
Escape Reading/Just for Fun Fiction:
◦ Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt
◦ The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post by Allison Pataki
◦ Only the Beautiful By: Susan Meissner
The Soulmate Equation by: Christina Lauren
Luck on the Titanic by: Stacey Lee
◦ The Peachtree Bluff Series by Kristy Woodson Harvey
◦ The Housemaid by Frieda McFadden
Meant to Be by Emily Griffin
◦ The Soulmate by Sally Hepworth
Children’s Literature for Public School Classrooms:
The One and Only Ruby by: Katherine Applegate (I’m so excited! This is the third book in The One and Only Ivan series and I think Ruby might be the best character in the first book, so this is quite happy news in the children’s literature world!)
The Year of Miss Agnes by: Kirkpatrick Hill
One for the Murphys by: Lynda Mullally Hunt
Children’s Literature for Spiritual Growth:
◦ The Story of God with Us by Kenneth Padgett and Aedan Peterson
◦ Like Me: A Story about Disability and Discovering God’s Image in Every Person By: Laura Wifler
◦ The Power of a Praying Teen by Stormie Omartian
◦ Any Time, Any Place, Any Prayer: A True Story of How You Can Talk with God by Laura Wifler
◦ His Grace is Enough: How God Makes it Right when We’ve Got it Wrong by Melissa Kruger
◦ Mix and Match Mama Eats: Crazy Good Go to Meals by Shay Shull
◦ Celebrate with Babs by Barbara Costello
Friends, I am so excited for this list! Which book are you most looking forward to this year? What should I add to my list? As you know, my list often grows and changes throughout the year but I really do come back to it again and again to decide which book to read next. I’m not kidding you. I’ll still be coming back to my own blog mid-July to determine which book I want to read next. I’m always so glad that I’ve taken the time to write it down because it really gives me direction.
An aside: Occasionally, people ask me when I find time to read. A college friend messaged me today to ask how I finished forty-two books last year. Here’s my secret. You ready? I read before I fall asleep. How long do I read every night? Until I fall asleep. Period. No rules. It could be five minutes. It could be an hour. If it’s longer than an hour, I usually get a melatonin supplement because I need sleep and I wake up very early. Haha! When else do I read? I read in the bathtub on the weekends. I read my Bible study and pray in the bathtub most mornings. I read a lot in June after summer school dismisses for the day because summer school is a bit easier on my brain than the regular school year. I read a lot, a lot in July when I’m not teaching. July is my month off and I read in the hammock and I read floating in a pool. I would love to spend my life reading in a pool, but I have to limit that to mostly July due to being a grown up and such. July is my big reading month. Those are the times I read the most with my eyeballs. I’ve probably nearly lost you. Stay with me.
Here’s a fun fact about me: I also read with my ears. I’m a huge advocate for audiobooks. Is that real reading? I don’t care. Haha! Who decides what real reading is? Here’s my two cents, friends. I’m not an emergent reader who needs practice decoding words. I’ve nailed phonics and I teach phonics daily. Reading actual words is no longer a need in my life. On the flip side, I have actually been guilty of mispronouncing words that I’ve learned from reading, so audiobooks assist my always-growing vocabulary as a lifelong learner. Additionally, sharpening my listening and audial skills is actually really beneficial to my own brain. My attention span benefits from this practice. So, whether or not my brother-in-law (Here’s a shout out to you, Austin.) thinks my audiobooks are real reading doesn’t really determine my reading life. Haha! (I made myself laugh.) My brother in law is one of my favorite people, but we will go to our graves debating whether or not my audiobooks “count.” I’m the reading teacher and this is my blog, so I get the last word this time. They count, I tell you.
Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk about audiobooks. I love them. I listen to a great deal of audiobooks as I drive from the grocery store to soccer games to school to you name it! I also listen to audiobooks as I clean my house and fold my laundry. Everyone under my roof benefits when I’m listening to a really, really good book because I just keep cleaning. My children are older now and play together very well while I clean the house with earbuds in my ears. I enjoy running errands more if I have a good book to accompany my adventures. About half of the books I read are audiobooks. Without audiobooks this year, I would have finished less than thirty books.
**Pointer: Julia Whelan is the very best narrator on the planet. Start there. I highly recommend reading The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah, Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate, Educated by Tara Westover, The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah, and Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid on audiobook as narrated by Julia Whelan. She is immensely talented and I’d much prefer the experience of her reading the audiobook to reading it with my own eyeballs. She has such brilliant delivery of stories! You’re welcome for that bonus content and tip. **
Friends, I hope you have the very best reading year of your life. May you balance your just for fun reading with deeper books that grow your brain and especially your soul. May you read in a hammock and while floating in a pool. May you read to your children and with your friends. May you stretch your imagination and your thinking in new ways. May you learn more about Jesus as you study the Bible. May your (literal) rainy days and snow days be abundant. May your figurative rainy days be far fewer. May this be the very best year to cozy up with a good book and a cup of coffee.
From my reading heart to yours,