Books Recommended for Summer Reading by Eagle Rock Staffers

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Editor’s Note: It’s summertime, and the reading comes easy — at least that’s what four Eagle Rock School staff members will have you believe. Below, each of these educators highlights a favorite book or two and why he or she recommends that particular read. If a description strikes you as interesting, just click on the accompanying book cover to activate a link to the selection on Amazon. At that point, you can purchase the book and have it mailed to you or download it to a laptop or tablet. At the end of this post, we offer links to other blog posts containing previous book suggestions from our staff.

Last Child of The Woods CoverLast Child in the Woods: Saving our Children From Nature Deficit Disorder — by Richard Louv

“For many years I was a self-appointed inspector of snow storms and rain storms” — Henry David Thoreau

This book does a phenomenal job of stating explicitly what educators generally intuitively know about the outdoors: It can foster creativity, help increase focus, and help us re-connect with our senses. In this book, a variety of studies are explored, displaying how exposure to the natural world can improve a student’s physical health, emotional health, and even reduce depression. Louv discusses practical ways to incorporate the natural world into the more “traditional” school setting and re-ignite a sense of wonder about the mysteries of the natural world. He concludes with the argument that if we are to save the natural world from human destruction, the decision-makers of tomorrow — that would be the students of today — must have an emotional and physical connection to the environment. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the benefits of incorporating more outdoor education in their instructional practice. — Recommended by Matt Bynum, Eagle Rock Outdoor Education Adjunct Instructional Specialist

The Adventure Gap CoverThe Adventure Gap — by James Edward Mills
Those who partake in human-powered outdoor recreation — as a whole, they do not reflect the evolving demographics of Americans. It is evident that many factors impact both access and feelings of inclusion. As James Edward Mills writes, “”Passion alone isn’t enough…Like the achievement gap that limits social mobility and access to higher education or better job prospects, the adventure gap is widened by limitations in financial resources.” In The Adventure Gap, Mills narrates the 2013 “Expedition Denali” trip that took nine African Americans to the tallest peak in North America. The book not only tells the story of these outdoor adventurers, but it highlights unknown African American history in the outdoors. It introduces us to Sophia Danenberg, the first African American woman to ascend Mount Everest, and Kai Lightner, an accomplished climber from North Carolina. This book is a stepping-stone to a larger discussion that we as outdoors enthusiasts, educators, and activists need to have. Although Mills states that the mountains do not discriminate, we live in a society where the people and industry do. — Recommended by Monserrat Alvarez, 2015/2016 Eagle Rock Public Allies Teaching Fellow In Outdoor Education

Americanah CoverAmericanah — by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Nigerian-born Ifemelu leaves her home to pursue studies in the United States. While living on the East Coast, Ifemelu must navigate living in a new cultural context and figuring out what it means to be black in America. Americanah follows the story of Ifemelu as she navigates race, love and identity. This book is significant to me because it reflects my own personal experience with the ways in which racial identities shift and flow depending on geographical location and cultural context. — Recommended by Joi Ward, 2015/2016 Eagle Rock Public Allies Teaching Fellow In Health, Wellness & Counseling

Loving Day CoverLoving Dayby Mat Johnson
This book follows Warren Duffy, a bi-racial thirty-something who has recently inherited a fixer-upper in Philly and discovers he has a teenage daughter named Tal. Tal is bi-racial, but has been raised to believe she is white. Together, Tal and Warren navigate racial identity and discover the meaning of family. This book is significant to me because it demonstrates how navigating identity as a black individual is challenging, awkward — and often comical. — Recommended by Joi Ward, 2015/2016 Eagle Rock Public Allies Teaching Fellow In Health, Wellness & Counseling

They Say I Say coverThey Say/I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing — by Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein
In preparation for my research class this trimester, I read They Say/I Say by Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein. This book has become an anchor text for me because it offers valuable insight into how to demystify academic writing for students. Graff and Birkenstein do a great job of creating rationales for why specific “moves” are integral parts of the writing process. These include providing adequate explanation of quotes and grounding arguments in what has been previously said. The authors also provide numerous templates that students can begin to use in their own writing. These templates help to illustrate these techniques and allow students to use them right away in their own writing. I recommend this text for all who teach academic writing or are looking to improve their own writing. Brett Youngerman, 2015/2016 Public Allies Teaching Fellow In Literacy And Literature

Interested in other recommended reads from the staff here at the Eagle Rock School & Professional Development Center? If you are, be sure to check out the following blog posts:

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