Reading has always been a passion of mine. As a child, my parents read me every Dr. Seuss book, including Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?, which, as family legend goes, has a character who was named after my father. Growing up, I read every Nancy Drew and Bobbsey Twins book, all of Judy Blume, and many Choose Your Own Adventures. My world has always been one of books, and I am constantly amazed at the depth of material that is currently being published for children and teens, especially compared to my own adolescent reading experience.
For the past 18 years, I have been teaching in the Westport Public Schools, but I also grew up in Westport. After starting my career in Brooklyn, I moved back to Westport and have taught 5th-12th grades, currently serving as a secondary literacy coach at Staples High School, my alma mater. No matter who or what I have been teaching, I have always been passionate about helping students find a like, if not a love, of reading.
In 2014, I co-authored a professional text published by Scholastic called Stretching Beyond the Textbook, which gives teachers strategies for using books instead of textbooks in the content area classroom. Currently, I help lead both the PTA and Staples Community book clubs, and I am working with the Westport Public Library in a joint effort with the Westport Public Schools to launch the first annual Saugatuck Story Festival next October. (Stay tuned for details on this!)
The collection I have curated spans picture books through adult, in all different genres. I believe deeply in reading and recommending books by diverse authors as this is the best way to build understandings of others, so I have tried to choose authors from diverse backgrounds as well as some classics. While many of these books are marketed to a specific age group, I have purposefully left this out of my descriptions as I think it is important for adults to read what children and teens are reading, not only because they are wonderful stories, but they can help us understand one another across ages as well. Finally, there are stories published in different media forms because, in our technologically expanding world, everything is a text.
I hope you find something new as well as revisit a title you might have once loved but forgotten. I publish everything that I read on Instagram under @marsickreads and Staples students and teachers share their reading lives on this platform with #staplesreads and #shsreads. I hope you will consider joining and extending my community of readers.