Whether a parent or teacher, if you have had to spend more than 30 minutes in the presence of an adolescent girl, I’m sure you’ve heard these words…”I’m bored…” or “It is soooo boring…” or “It’s nothing to do…”
Well, there is no better time than the “nothing to do” days of summer to encourage our girls to lose themselves in a book adventure.
If getting them out of our hair is not motivation enough to put a book into their hands, perhaps realizing how an unfocused summer can pose a threat to their development will be the reason.
While it is certainly a time for leisure and relaxation, summer is also the season when children from disenfranchised communities experience a detrimental loss of learning. In fact, The Center for Summer Learning shared a report which states young people can lose up to 3 months of learning during their summer vacation. Irrespective of income level, if young people are not as academically stimulated during summer as they are during the school year, they will not retain what they ended the school year knowing.
That alone is reason enough for me to compile a Summer Hot Reads reading list for Girls Like Me… that and my absolute love of reading. Now I admit, I have a selfish motive, too. I mean, for me there is nothing more appealing than sitting curled up with a book in my hand. I want so desperately to inject the reading bug into all girls…after all, I truly believe reading is power.
Still, not every girl will independently choose turning pages over uploading pics to Instagram, creating dancing vids for YouTube, giggling on stoops and porches with their friends, or hanging at the air conditioned malls. Yet, I am confident if we add some engaging, culturally relevant titles to their reading elixir, they’ll be captivated by stories that hold a space for characters they identify with and connect to.
So without further ado, here is the GLMPI Summer Hot Reads reading list (updated June 3, 2015):
One Crazy Summer, Rita Williams-Garcia
The Skin I’m In, Sharon G. Flake
Standing Against the Wind, Traci L. Jones
The House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros
Ninth Ward, Jewell Parker Rhodes
Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina, Misty Copeland
Last Summer with Maizon, Jacqueline Woodson
Girls Like Us, Gail Giles
Brown Girl Dreaming, Jacqueline Woodson
Silver Sparrow, Tayari Jones
Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Purple Hibiscus, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Rayla 2212, Ytasha Womack
Ship of Souls, Zetta Elliott
Cornered, an anthology edited by Rhoda Belleza
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
Upstate, Kalisha Buckhanan
Assata: An Autobiography
Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison
The House at Sugar Beach: In Search of a Lost African Childhood
On the Line, Serena Williams
The Other Side of Paradise, Staceyann Chin
Everything I Never Told You, Celeste Ng
To make sure girls are getting the most out of their reading experience:
Have girls perform scenes from their book! Or record an video summary and upload to YouTube like like this one:
- Reading is a great activity to share with you the girl you mentor! Make visits to the library a part of your engagement time.
- And be encouraged to start a book club with a few of the girls on your block, or youth members of your church/community center.
P.S. Please share any other hot read recommendations in the comments. Thanks a million!