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Staff Bookshelf: Winter Edition

Winter break is the perfect time to cozy up on the couch with a warm quilt and a new book. To kick off our own winter reading, we peeked into our staff bookshelf to reminisce on inspiring education reads and general lit picks. 

Jo Lein, Executive Director

Jo can’t stop talking about Hollowing Out the Middle, a great pick for those interested in the future of rural education. Written by sociologists, the book follows the young people in small Iowa towns as they struggle with what the beauty and limitations of small town life might mean for their futures. If you’re ready for a break from school reading, Jo recommends David and Goliath by heady perennial favorite Malcolm Gladwell.


Angie Cline, Teacher Development Manager

Tera Westover’s Educated is captivating enough that you’ll want to read it in one, long irresponsible session. For a quirky, relatable, and road-trip ready read, grab The Overdue Life of Amy Byler. It’ll have you snickering to yourself in no time. 

If you’re already amping up for a New Year’s Resolution or just need to get organized, check out The Together Teacher or the Together Leader. Both offer practical advice you’ll want to implement right away.   


Nina Fitzerman-Blue, Director of Leadership Programs 

Need to have some hard conversations or just want to improve your relationships? Nina recommends Radical Candor by Kim Scotts. For a reference text on child development and social-emotional stages, Nina loves Yardsticks. Although you might not charge through the text in one setting, it may turn into a bookshelf favorite in your life as an educator, parent, or keen observer of children. 


Marissa King, Chief of Staff

Run to your local bookstore to grab Richard Powers’ The Overstory. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction, this intricately-connected plot will have you noticing all of nature’s little glories and ready to plant a few trees of your own. For another nature-inspired read, check out Braiding Sweetgrass by botanist and Potawatomi Nation citizen Robin Wall Kimmerer. The book offers an inspiring glimpse into hands-on science education and a window into a world connected deeply to nature. 


Jennifer Burris, Professional Development Specialist

Ibram X. Kendi’s newest book How to Be an Antiracist, is a current favorite on Jennifer’s bookshelf. The book is thought-provoking and challenging- exactly the kind of read to end the year and shape your newest resolutions. 


What’s on your bookshelf or winter reading list? Drop us a comment below or send us a message. We’d love to hear from you! 

Marissa KingMarissa King

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