What Are You Reading This Summer?

Summer is the perfect time to catch up on all of the books you’ve wanted to read. Recently, we asked faculty and members of our alumni board to give us recommendations for summer reads. Whether you’re reading poolside or cozied up in a chair by the window, these titles are sure to keep you and your kids going all summer long.


Adult Books

This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral—Plus, Plenty of Valet Parking!—in America’s Gilded Capital by Mark Leibovich, political nonfiction
Recommended by Al Merkley, assistant dean

Washington, D.C., might be loathed from every corner of the nation, yet these are fun and busy days at this nexus of big politics, big money, big media, and big vanity. There are no Democrats and Republicans anymore in the nation’s capital, just millionaires. In This Town, Mark Leibovich, chief national correspondent for The New York Times Magazine, presents a blistering, stunning—and often hysterically funny— examination of our ruling class’s incestuous “media industrial complex.” Through his eyes, we discover how the funeral for a beloved newsman becomes the social event of the year. How political reporters are fetishized for their ability to get their names into the predawn e-mail sent out by the city’s most powerful and puzzled-over journalist. How a disgraced Hill aide can overcome ignominy and maybe emerge with a more potent “brand” than many elected members of Congress. And how an administration bent on “changing Washington” can be sucked into the ways of This Town with the same ease with which Tea Party insurgents can, once elected, settle into it like a warm bath.

Lessons from the Mouse: A Guide for Applying Disney World’s Secrets of
Success
to Your Organization,Your Career, and Your Lifeby Dennis Snow, nonfiction
Recommended by Joyce Terry, faculty

“Dennis Snow, former Disney employee for 20 years, shares ten principles used by Disney to train their cast members (employees) in great customer service. He illustrates each principle with stories, both good and bad, using humor, drama, and irony. An easy read, this book taught me some important ways to increase the level
of my customer service in my office,” said Joyce Terry.

Called to Teach: The Legacy of Karl G. Maeser by A. LeGrand Richards, nonfiction
Recommended by Mike Pratt, faculty

“This is an important book about perhaps the most influential educator of the early Church, certainly the early Church in Utah. His vision, understanding, and commitment were remarkable. He was the first official principal of the Brigham Young Academy which was the seed from which Brigham Young University blossomed.

“Dr. Richard’s ten years of research and careful consideration has given us the most comprehensive, well-documented text about Karl Maeser to date,” said Mike Pratt.

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemptionby Laura Hillenbrand, nonfiction
Recommended by John Wilkinson, faculty

In boyhood, Louis Zamperini was an incorrigible delinquent. As a teenager, he channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the Berlin Olympics. But when World War II began, the athlete became an airman, embarking on a journey that led to a doomed flight on a May afternoon in 1943. When his Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean, against all odds, Zamperini survived, adrift on a foundering life raft. Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater. Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor; brutality with rebellion. His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would be suspended on the fraying wire of his will. Unbroken is an unforgettable testament to the resilience of the human mind, body, and spirit, brought vividly to life by Seabiscuit author Laura Hillenbrand.

The remaining recommendations were provided by Rachel Wadham, education and juvenile literature librarian in the Harold B. Lee Library at BYU and consultant for the McKay School.

The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee by Marja Mills, biography
Recommended by Rachel Wadham

The Mockingbird Next Door is the story of Mills’s friendship with the Lee sisters. It is a testament to the great intelligence, sharp wit, and tremendous storytelling power of these two women, especially that of Harper Lee, known to her friends as Nelle.

Mills was given a rare opportunity to know Nelle Harper Lee, to be part of the Lees’ life in Alabama, and to hear them reflect on their upbringing, their corner of the Deep South, how To Kill a Mockingbird affected their lives, and why Nelle Harper Lee chose to never write another novel.

The Golem and the Jinni: A Novelby Helene Wecker, fantasy
Recommended by Rachel Wadham

Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life by a strange man who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic. Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire, born in the ancient Syrian Desert. Trapped in an old copper flask by a Bedouin wizard centuries ago, he is released accidentally by a tinsmith in a Lower Manhattan shop.

Struggling to make their way in 1899 New York, the Golem and the Jinni try to fit in with their immigrant neighbors while masking their true selves. Meeting by chance, they become unlikely friends whose tenuous attachment challenges their opposing natures, until the night a terrifying incident drives them back into their separate worlds. But a powerful menace will soon bring the Golem and the Jinni together again, threatening their existence and forcing them to make a fateful choice.

Children’s Books

The Pilot and the Little Prince: The Life of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry by Peter Sís
Recommended by Rachel Wadham

<Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was born in France in 1900, when airplanes were just being invented. Antoine dreamed of flying and grew up to be a pilot—and that was when his adventures began. He found a job delivering mail by plane, which had never been done before. He and his fellow pilots traveled to faraway places and discovered new ways of getting from one place to the next. Antoine flew over mountains and deserts. He battled winds and storms. He tried to break aviation records, and sometimes he even crashed. From his plane, Antoine looked down on the earth and was inspired to write about his life and his pilot-hero friends in memoirs and in fiction. Peter Sís’s remarkable biography celebrates the author of The Little Prince, one of the most beloved books in the world.

Hi, Koo!: A Year of Seasons by Jon J Muth
Recommended by Rachel Wadham

Caldecott Honoree and NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author/artist Jon J Muth takes a fresh and exciting new look at the four seasons!

Eating warm cookies on a cold day is easy
water catches every thrown stone skip skip splash

With a featherlight touch and disarming charm, Jon J Muth--and his delightful little panda bear, Koo--challenge readers to stretch their minds and imaginations with twenty-six haikus about the four seasons.

A Little Book of Sloth by Lucy Cooke
Recommended by Rachel Wadham

Hang around just like a sloth and get to know the delightful residents of the Avarios Sloth Sanctuary in Costa Rica, the world’s largest sloth orphanage. You’ll fall in love with bad-boy Mateo, ooh and ahh over baby Biscuit, and want to wrap your arms around champion cuddle buddy Ubu!

From British filmmaker and sloth expert Lucy Cooke comes a hilarious, heart-melting photographic picture book starring the laziest—and one of the cutest—animals on the planet.

Middle Grade and Young Adult Books

Ruin and Rising (Grisha Trilogy) by Leigh Bardugo, fiction
Suggested for readers age 12 to 17
Recommended by Rachel Wadham

The capital has fallen. The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation's fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova's amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling's secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.

Ruin and Rising is the thrilling final installment in Leigh Bardugo's Grisha Trilogy.

Under the Egg by Laura Marx Fitzgerald, fiction
Suggested for readers age 8 to 12
Recommended by Rachel Wadham

When Theodora Tenpenny spills a bottle of rubbing alcohol on her late grandfather’s painting, she discovers what seems to be an old Renaissance masterpiece underneath. That’s great news for Theo, who’s struggling to hang onto her family’s two-hundred-year-old townhouse and support her unstable mother on her grandfather’s legacy of $463. There’s just one problem: Theo’s grandfather was a security guard at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and she worries the painting may be stolen.

With the help of some unusual new friends, Theo's search for answers takes her all around Manhattan, and introduces her to a side of the city—and her grandfather—that she never knew. To solve the mystery, she'll have to abandon her hard-won self-reliance and build a community, one serendipitous friendship at a time.

Revolution (The Sixties Trilogy)by Deborah Wiles, historical fiction
Suggested for readers age 9 to 12
Recommended by Rachel Wadham

It's 1964, and Sunny's town is being invaded. Or at least that's what the adults of Greenwood, Mississippi are saying. All Sunny knows is that people from up north are coming to help people register to vote. They're calling it Freedom Summer.

Meanwhile, Sunny can't help but feel like her house is being invaded, too. She has a new stepmother, a new brother, and a new sister crowding her life, giving her little room to breathe. And things get even trickier when Sunny and her brother are caught sneaking into the local swimming pool -- where they bump into a mystery boy whose life is going to become tangled up in theirs.

As she did in her groundbreaking documentary novel COUNTDOWN award-winning author Deborah Wiles uses stories and images to tell the riveting story of a certain time and place -- and of kids who, in a world where everyone is choosing sides, must figure out how to stand up for themselves and fight for what's right.

The material in these books is not the endorsement of the McKay School of Education or MSE Alumni Society. The book descriptions were retrieved from barnesandnoble.com or provided by recommender.