Summer Reading Recommendations from PLS Instructors

Open book on a wooden table in a garden, sunny summer day, reading in a vacation conceptIt’s the most wonderful time of the year! Summer break is here. There are finally some extra hours in the day to spend doing the things that you like to do. One of the things we love most at PLS Classes is relaxing and getting lost in a good book.

Today we’re sharing some summer reading recommendations with you. From fiction to self-improvement books, we’ve got you covered. No pun intended. Happy reading!


If you like Greek mythology and fantasy, Jenn Hund recommends The House in the Cerulean Sea, by T.J. Klune and The Song of Achilles and Circle by Madeline Miller.

“𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘏𝘰𝘶𝘴𝘦 𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘊𝘦𝘳𝘶𝘭𝘦𝘢𝘯 𝘚𝘦𝘢 is just a great concept—mixing mythical creatures in a real world scenario, offering a kind of love story, and accepting non-traditional family types. The latter two deal with Greek mythology and since both are mentioned in Homer’s 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘖𝘥𝘺𝘴𝘴𝘦𝘺, it was neat to delve into their stories.”


If you like exploring the great outdoors, Tara Moffatt recommends the “Best Tent Camping: (Location)” series!

“The state specific guide books give practical advice on campgrounds and campsites within them. My family and I have been impressed with the sites we’ve picked based on their advice.” Here is an example of the best camping in Minnesota.


If you like to learn new ideas to apply in your classrooms, Jim Brinling recommends, GRIT by Angela Duckworth.

“This is an excellent and accessible book for teachers who are looking to understand and improve student performance. The themes of this book are also highlighted in both courses I’m offering this summer: Developing Executive Function to Empower Students™ and Designing Motivation for All Learners®.”

And, if you want to have a better understanding of mental health and our youth, read Dopamine Nation, by Psychiatrist, Dr. Anna Lembke.

“I’m currently reading this book, which stitches a thread through many of the challenges our students face: anxiety, depression, obsessive phone usage, quick fixes, and drug addiction. By laying out the underlying brain chemistry behind the relationship between pleasure and pain, she describes the trade-offs made by seeking pleasure and avoiding pain.”


If you like fictional books based upon real-life situations, Lisa Lebo recommends, American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins.

“Although fiction, it makes you stop and think about what you would do if everyone and everything you know is taken in an instant, and you become the only person to protect your young child from danger. How would you act when totally desperate?”


If you want to read great books to introduce to your students, Brooke Thurston recommends anything off of the Bluestem Book Nominee and Winners lists.

“I teach third grade and I read the new Bluestem book list each summer. This way I am ready to challenge my third graders to read them for the upcoming school year.” Here is a list of all of the Bluestem Book Award Winners. The Bluestem Book Awards are also known as Illinois’ Grades 3-5 Readers’ Choice Award.


If you liked The Kite Runner, Lisa Ciampi recommends A Thousand Splendid Suns, also written by author, Khaled Hosseini.

A Thousand Splendid Suns is a breathtaking story set against the volatile events of Afghanistan’s last thirty years – from the Soviet invasion to the reign of the Taliban to post-Taliban rebuilding – that puts the violence, fear, hope, and faith of this country in intimate, human terms. “This book is compelling and beautifully written and as relevant today as when it was written.”


If you are in a book club and are the next up to pick, Sue Langwell recommends The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah.

Goodreads says “From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Nightingale and The Great Alone, comes an epic novel of love and heroism and hope, set against the backdrop of one of America’s most defining eras—the Great Depression.”

Sue also recommends The Day the World Came to Town: ​9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland by Jim DeFede.

This is the true story behind the events on 9/11 that inspired Broadway’s Smash Hit Musical Come from Away.

When 38 jetliners bound for the United States were forced to land at Gander International Airport in Canada by the closing of U.S. airspace on September 11, the population of this small town on Newfoundland Island swelled from 10,300 to nearly 17,000. The citizens of Gander met the stranded passengers with an overwhelming display of friendship and goodwill. (Souce: Amazon.com)


What did we miss?

So many great books, so little time!
So many K-12 teachers read our blog and would love to hear your ideas too. Please share your favorites in the comments below.

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