It’s an interesting practice to think through favorite reads from any given year. The list almost reads like a series of signposts marking key lessons learned, challenges conquered, or adventures undertaken. 2018 has been another year of learning for me, and my list of favorite reads testifies to that. I started off in January with Rethinking School—a book largely focused on meeting the needs of my own student-children—and ended by devouring Surprised by Oxford—a memoir about an intelligent woman growing into her own role in God’s grand story. All three of the books on my list involve education, but they are entirely different. Each has met me in a moment of need, and all left me inspired and refreshed.
- Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students: Helping Kids Cope with Explosive Feelings by Christine Fonseca
A highly readable manual for helping both parents and teachers understand the often complex emotional lives of highly intelligent children, this book is full of insight and practical suggestions. It is an excellent resource for parents of academically gifted children or teachers looking to serve this type of student well.
- Rethinking School: How to Take Charge of Your Child’s Education by Susan Wise Bauer
I was intrigued by this book’s title and description before it was ever released. As an avid asker of “Why?”, I resonated immediately with the need for rethinking the traditional model of education in America. In a clear, readable format, Bauer walks her reader through the often daunting process of examining “mismatches” between a student and his or her educational environment. She not only provides guidance and insight, but also practical suggestions and lists of helpful resources. Brief assignments to help the reader “rethink school” and identify personal or family goals are scattered throughout the chapters.
- Surprised by Oxford: A Memoir by Carolyn Weber
As a Christian woman who loves learning and teaching and literature and theology, I found this story of Weber’s arrival at Oxford and life-changing conversion captivating. I simply couldn’t put it down. It is so well-written, combining well-known poetry with Weber’s own skillful storytelling. While tracing Weber’s life story in and of itself is worth the read, the book also wrestles with issues of providence, gender roles, science and faith, the life of the mind, and the purpose of humanity.