Population Education’s List of 2023 Summer Reading Essentials

Welcome to an unforgettable summer of reading! As the sun shines brighter and the days grow longer, there’s no better time to indulge in the captivating world of books. Whether you find yourself lounging on the beach or flying to your next travel destination, grab a book with inspiration from PopEd’s Summer 2023 reading list!

Book cover of The Exceptions by Kate Zernike

The Exceptions by Kate Zernike

Set in the world of a prestigious university during the beginning of affirmative action efforts in the 1970s, The Exceptions intricately examines the dynamics of privilege, equity, and the pursuit of success for working women. This novel delves into the complexities of women in male-dominated careers and showcases women working together to make great strides toward a more equitable workplace.

Book cover of Ashfall by Mike Mullen

Ashfall by Mike Mullen

At the age of fifteen, Alex must embark on a perilous road to find his family when a catastrophic super-volcano strikes and turns the world into an uninhabitable wasteland. Over the course of the novel, readers witness the strength of human connections, the resourcefulness of individuals, and the power of hope in the darkest of times. Ashfall explores people’s ability to endure and adjust through the experiences of Alex, giving a shining example of an invincible spirit.

Book cover of Seeking Fortune Elsewhere by Sindya Bhanoo

Seeking Fortune Elsewhere by Sindya Bhanoo

Step into the lives of courageous individuals who leave behind their familiar worlds in search of a better life. Bhanoo brings together the personal stories of immigrants from all over the world, exploring their hopes, dreams, and challenges in pursuit of prosperity. Seeking Fortune Elsewhere is a touching, timely book celebrating the resilience and diversity of humanity.

Book cover of Guardians of the Valley by Dean King

Guardians of the Valley by Dean King

Guardians of the Valley is a gripping novel that follows a group of dedicated individuals committed to preserving and protecting their cherished valley. As they face formidable challenges, including the clash between human development and environmental conservation, the characters find themselves caught in a delicate balance. With vivid descriptions and rich storytelling, King explores the profound connection between humans and nature, highlighting the power of community and the importance of safeguarding our natural world.

Book cover of Brave the Wild River by Cherie Dimaline

Brave the Wild River by Melissa L. Sevigny

Set in the American West, the novel Brave the Wild River follows a group of courageous river guides as they navigate treacherous waters and face personal challenges. Against the backdrop of a looming dam project that threatens to alter the region’s natural beauty, the characters must summon their resilience and determination to protect the river they hold dear. Through Sevigny’s vivid prose and captivating storytelling, readers gain a deep appreciation of our planet’s beauty and fragility in this vivid narrative.

Book cover of As Long As Grass Grows by Dina Gilio-Whitaker

As Long as Grass Grows by Dina Gilio-Whitaker

As Long as Grass Grows is an insightful book that examines the intersection of indigenous history and ecological justice, examining what continues to be an ongoing struggle for Native American communities. Gilio-Whitaker takes a keen look at the complicated relations of indigenous peoples, and highlights the impact of land dispossession, resource extraction, and environmental degradation on Indigenous communities, while also celebrating their resilience and resistance.

Book cover of Blue Skies by T.C. Boyle

Blue Skies by T.C. Boyle

Boyle explores the challenges of communal living, personal relationships, and the clash of ideologies in Blue Skies. The novel offers a concise and thought-provoking exploration of human nature, idealism, and the pursuit of happiness within a group setting. Boyle delivers a compelling examination of the desire for belonging and the inherent conflicts that arise when individuals come together in pursuit of a shared vision.

Book cover of I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika Sánchez

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez

Julia, a young Mexican-American girl, struggles to find her own identity in the wake of her sister’s death. Once Julia discovers hidden secrets about her seemingly perfect late sister, she wrestles with family and cultural expectations. In I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, readers witness a wistful journey of self-discovery, challenging stereotypes, and defining what it means to be “the perfect daughter.”

Cover of the book The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

The transformative power of self-expression and the resilience of the human spirit is explored in this book, The Poet X. It’s a fascinating exploration of the challenges and triumphs of adolescence. As Xiomara, a young Dominican-American girl, navigates the complexities of family, religion, and identity, she finds her voice through powerful and lyrical poetry.

Book cover of The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline

The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline

Journey into a future where people have lost the ability to dream. In The Marrow Thieves, Indigenous people are hunted for their bone marrow, which holds the key to dreams, and the planet is ravaged by climate change. A theme of resilience is front and center in the characters’ determination to protect their culture, while maintaining a sense of identity in the face of ruthless opposing forces.