Summer Reading 2021

Thought-provoking titles for our faculty and staff

Each summer, we select books for the UPrep faculty and staff to read and then discuss at the start of the following school year. The books reflect our priorities and initiatives and feature human stories. One should feel equally comfortable reading these by the poolside or in the library.

Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning, by Cathy Park Hong

This is a “level 2” DEI book, a good choice for those who have done some work on their own identity, acquired a mental framework for understanding prejudice, and are ready to tackle the diverse experiences within broad race and ethnic groups. Cathy Park Hong is a poet and scholar who decided to write a memoir as a collection of essays. Hong guides us through different formative experiences that involve herself, friends, family, and communities. Always personal, often painful, the essays help us understand the diversity, interconnections, and nuances that underly lived experiences. If you are interested in writing, art, or Korean American experience, and you are willing to lean into some hard moments, this book may be for you. Please be advised that one story addresses an incident of sexual violence.

Antiracism and Universal Design for Learning: Building Expressways to Success
, by Adratesha Fritzgerald

This book brings together two frameworks for educational equity—antiracism and Universal Design for Learning—to better serve students. Fritzgerald locates antiracist teaching practices within the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework, in which adopting certain teaching practices for all also disproportionally benefits disadvantaged students. This book provides conceptual backing for the kinds of learning management and “unfinished learning” practices that our faculty is preparing to implement with students in the fall. While this is the most “teachery” book on this summer’s list, Fritzgerald also tells the personal stories that ground instructional practices in real students. If you are committed to antiracism in teaching and want to develop the concrete tools to reach students, then this book may be for you.

The Happiness Advantage: How a Positive Brain Fuels Success in Work and Life, by Shawn Achor

What if, instead of waiting for good things to happen so we can become happier, we tried being happier, and then made more good thing happen? Achor unfolds this simplistic-sounding premise with research and argumentation that makes for a compelling reading and may even shift your mindset! This year of COVID and racial reckoning put our resilience to the test. Achor explains how positive mindset is not about seeing everything with rose-colored glasses but rather embracing the possibility that we will indeed make it through hard times for the better. If you are seeking to develop your personal resilience, then this book may be for you!


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