By Jen Barth
Summer’s here — what have you been reading and recommending lately? Whether you’re gearing up for warm weather adventures or staying close to home this year, there’s nothing quite better than a stack of new books to settle into as slower paces settle in.
If you’re in need of some suggestions, look no further! Below are some suggestions from the Starfish team for anyone seeking to bring new voices, perspectives, and ideas.
Six Picks: Recommended Reads
- The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman
- The Book of Delights by Ross Gay
- Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver
- You Could Make This Place Beautiful by Maggie Smith
- Solito by Javier Zamora
- The Beauty of Dusk by Frank Bruni
Six Picks: Food For Thought For Purpose-Driven Readers & Leaders
- Social Change Now: A Guide for Reflection and Connection by Deepa Iyer
- Fight Like A Mother: How A Grassroots Movement Took On the Gun Lobby, and Why Mothers Will Change the World by Shannon Watts
- Leading Inclusion by Gena Cox
- The Game of Joy by Yasmin Nguyen
- Big Friendship: How We Keep Each Other Close by Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman
- Project 62: Changing the Way We See Native America by Matika Wilbur
Six Picks: For Younger Readers: Summer Cause Awareness Connections
Have a younger reader in your life? Summer brings many opportunities to start conversations, keep learning, explore, and share stories that align with various seasonal campaigns. Some suggestions to get you started…
- Anti-Defamation League’s 11 Phenomenal Books To Read for LGBTQ+ Month
- Social Justice Read’s Teaching About Immigration
- Bookshop’s National Great Outdoors Month Books for Kids
- Powell’s 9 Top Recommendations for Kids and Teens for Disability Pride Month
- Black Children’s Books and Authors BIPOC Mental Health Month: 14 Fiction Books
- Girls That Create’s 15 Empowering Books for Girls Honoring Women’s Equality Day
And while Banned Books Week isn’t until October, there has never been a more important time to incorporate banned books into your reading mix. According to the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom, the number of challenges to book titles in 2022 was up nearly 40% from 2021, PEN America also reports that 40% of banned titles featured prominent characters of color, and 21% had titles with issues of race or racism.
Six Picks: Banned Book Lists
- The Most Banned Children’s Books of the 2021-2022 School Year
- Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s LGTBQ+ Affirming Books List
- Mahogany’s List of Banned Black Books
- Jewish Book Council’s Jewish Banned Books
- Powell’s Learn About Banned Books Roundup
- Red Wine & Blue’s Book Ban Busters
Six Picks: Learn More & Take-Action Resources
- Anti-Defamation League’s Book Banks And Their Impact On Young People and Society
- Brooklyn Public Library’s Books Unbanned, helping teens nationwide read what they like, including offering a National Teen BPL e-Card which provides access to their full eBook collection and learning databases.
- Everylibrary’s Legislative Tracker, which currently has 113 bills identified in 2023
- PEN America’s Oppose Book Bans With Amanda Gorman and Freedom To Write Index, which tracks writers around the world who have been detained or imprisoned for their writing or exercising their freedom of expression
- National Coalition Against Censorship’s The Kids Right To Read Project
- United Against Book Bans Action Toolkit
Hopefully this list inspires some new ideas to read and share! If you have suggestions, we’d love to hear from you.