Earlier this month, the Chicago Tribune ran this interesting article entitled "Freshmen to Be: Time to Hit the Books."
For the article, William Hageman asked a range of people from Jerry Springer to a Nobel Prize winner what books they would suggest as summer reading to a student making the leap from grade school to Freshman year of high school. The range of books offered is wide- from Cabeza de Vaca to The Power of Now with a few To Kill a Mockingbirds thrown in for good measure- but it is the explanations, the "whys" these well known people gave that is worth while here.
Since I normally don't post about books for readers under 16, you may be asking why I am directing you to read this article for yourself. The answer is simple. This is a good list of books that successful people found inspiring. It is a great list for readers of any age who are looking for an interesting thought-provoking book.
So check the list out for yourself and let me know what books you would suggest to this proposed person on the cusp of adulthood. Remember, the book has to be at the reading level of an average 14 year old, so please no Moby Dick or James Joyce here.
I will start the conversation with my own suggestion. I would suggest A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson. Written by Bryson after he returned back to American after many years abroad, the out of shape and out of sorts travel author, decided to reconnect with his home country by attempting to walk the entire Appalachian Trail. This is an inspiring story about our country's natural history, forgotten, out of the way places, and those who have and continue to work to conserve our natural resources. But this is also the story of an outsider, someone who feels he doesn't fit in, who is also not necessarily cut out for the task at hand (he is not in good enough shape for this endeavor, nor does he have any hiking OR camping experience), who nonetheless sets out on a new adventure to better himself. All of this sets a great example for incoming Freshman, and one with themes and feelings they can relate to. And best of all, he does not actually succeed in his literal goal, yet he still accomplishes a great deal. (This theme of success found in failure is an important life lesson that is often lost in our public education system). This book is a mix of history and adventure, which, I would hope, upon reading would inspire these young adults to strive for a mix of education and adventure in their own lives.
So, what would you suggest and why? Just give me a sentence or two if you want.
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