Writing stories to pass values from one generation to the next

A Teacher’s Summer Reading List

Summer Reading List

A Teacher’s Summer Reading List

I have been absent from the blog for the last couple of weeks. If you have ever been a teacher, you understand just how draining the last weeks of school can be. In addition, I had several final exams to write for the first time, so that pretty much exhausted my writing capacity. Now, summer break has finally arrived!

I have plenty of writing projects in which I will engage over the next ten weeks or so (more on that next week), two re-certification classes to take, and some landscaping projects I’m looking forward to finishing (though the sweltering Mid-South humidity arrived about the same time as summer break). I have also been anxiously awaiting more time to read.

I have been putting together a summer reading list during the last month, so I thought I would share it with you. I tried to gather a healthy variety to stimulate both sides of the brain. I may add more later, but these are the ones on the list for now.

For each of the books on my summer reading list, I have included an Amazon link. This allows you to discover more about the book without my having to go into great detail. These are affiliate links, which means that for anything you purchase on Amazon through my links, I will receive a small commission. You don’t pay any more for the products, but my Amazon commissions help keep the blog up and running.

Water from My Heart (Charles Martin)

Summer Reading ListCharles Martin’s Water from My Heart was the first book up on my summer reading list. I say was because I started it on Thursday and finished it on Saturday. This book was a birthday gift from a colleague who knows my love for the nations…and how much I enjoyed Martin’s A Life Intercepted. (I finished that one in two or three days, also.)


Clara’s War: One Girl’s Story of Survival (Clara Kramer)

Having Summer Reading Listvisited the Auschwitz concentration camp museum twice, I am fascinated with stories of Holocaust survivors. The world geography book from which I teach allows a paragraph for the Holocaust, but I make sure my students know of its atrocities as well as its far-too-few stories of survival.


Summer Reading ListThe Story Grid: What Good Editors Know (Shawn Coyne and Stephen Pressfield)

I bought this book several months ago and have read through part of it already. My goal this summer is to read the rest of it and press down into what will make me a better writer and a better teacher of writing. This is textbook reading but because the book is compiled in the blog format in which it was originally written, I have found it very readable.


 Summer Reading ListOn Writing: A Memoir of the Craft (Stephen King)

Okay, I will admit that I have never been a big Stephen King fan. Sorry, just not my genre. However, after years of studying the craft and reading from seemingly every other writer that this book is the transcendent book on writing, I gave in and added it to my summer reading list.


Summer Reading ListThe Stranger on the Road to Emmaus (John R. Cross)

I am following up on this book that I read last year with the short “and Beginning with Moses…” companion piece. No one has ever told more gripping stories than Jesus. Who better to study to learn to connect people right where they are to timeless values and truths through the vehicle of story?


Summer Reading List

Remembering Willie

This collection of tributes to famed Mississippi writer Willie Morris was a giveaway at the Mississippi Book Festival that I attended last August. At my favorite breakout session–the sportswriters–almost all of the presenters had personal Willie Morris stories that were so powerfully engaging that I have made it a point to read the “Willie” stories of other Southern writers.


Summer Reading ListReflections of a Mississippi Magnolia & Magnolia Musings (Patricia Neely-Dorsey)

Finally, I’ll be reading a little Mississippi poetry. Since I began writing and speaking at various events across the Mid-South, I have met all sorts of interesting people. I met Patricia Neely-Dorsey at a library event in Olive Branch a couple of years ago and found her work fascinating. I have read many of her poems already, but I plan to take in the rest of them this summer…at a leisurely pace in keeping with the spirit in which they are written.

In the meantime how about compiling your own summer reading list? Use the comments section to let me know what you are reading and plan to read this summer.

About Al Ainsworth

Al Ainsworth is a values storyteller. He works with individuals, businesses, churches, and other organizations to pass along their values through the stories they tell…and re-tell.

Al is the author of Lines in the Gravel, Stories from the Roller Coaster (of a Faith Life), and the Coach Dave series. Subscribe to his email list for more values storying.

2 Replies

  1. Glad to see that Reflections and Magnolia Memories made your summer reading list !

    1. I have read many of your poems already. I’m looking forward to the rest of them–the memories they will bring back and the stories that they will inspire!

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