Summer Reading: One Humanities Instructor’s Recommendations

by | Jun 13, 2019

As the June gloom settles in San Diego, the academic year is coming to an end. Students have survived another year of finals and AP exams, robotics team meetings and swim practices, early mornings and cafeteria lunches. They’ve attended Jay Gatsby’s lavish parties, joined Ahab on his quest for vengeance on the Pequod, and battled windmills with Don Quixote and Sancho. When the final bell rings, signifying the official start of summer, the last thing students are thinking about is heading to the library or book store for more reading.

It’s important for students to give themselves a break, but setting down their electronics and picking up a book has more benefits than most realize. Students who spend time reading during the summer learn new information and perspectives, but they also retain more of what they learn during the school year. And summer reading doesn’t have to be a chore! Students can use this opportunity to learn more about topics or issues they’re already passionate and curious about!

But where to begin? Senior instructors and tutors at Hamilton Education have compiled lists of fiction and nonfiction books on a wide range of topics for both middle school and high school students! Interested in the lives of tech billionaires? Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs is for you. Ever wonder about the women who helped send Americans to space? Give Margot Lee Shetterly’s Hidden Figures a try. Love the Harry Potter and Hunger Games series? Jeanne DuPrau’s The City of Ember series might be your next favorite.

Here are just a few of the books we recommend. Check out the complete list on the Hamilton website!

For the sports fan or future statistician: Moneyball by Michael Lewis

In baseball, there are rich teams and there are poor teams, and the budgetary differences between them continues to grow. Rich teams can afford to spend millions on rising star pitchers that might not work out; poor teams scout talented yet undervalued players ignored by the rich teams. Follow the Oakland As through the 2002 season as larger-than-life General Manager Billy Beane aims to redefine the game of baseball with the second lowest payroll in the league.

For the feminist or activist: I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai

In 2012, Malala Yousafzai was shot point-blank while on her way home from school for her outspokenness on women’s education. No one expected her to survive. Now the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner, hear firsthand the story of a girl who knew from a young age that she wanted to change the world – and did.

For the future doctor or history buff: Ghost Map by Steven Johnson

In the summer of 1854, London was quickly becoming one of the world’s first modern cities. But in a city with a rapidly expanding population that lacks proper sanitation and an understanding of how diseases spread, a cholera outbreak takes hold of the city. Johnson weaves together the history of disease, medicine, cities, and scientific discovery.

For the young reader and the adventurer: Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

Have you ever been afraid of getting lost in the woods? Thirteen-year-old Brian is traveling to visit his father when his plane crashes in the Canadian wilderness. Alone with no supplies other than his clothing, a tattered windbreaker, and a hatchet his mother gave him, Brian must learn how to survive.