May is Get Caught Reading month – a month designed to remind people of all ages how much fun it is to read. In celebration, we asked our staff about a book they had recently finished that made an impact on them. If you are looking to get caught up in a good book, we have some recommendations for you!
Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore is the true story of an unlikely friendship that develops between an international art dealer and a homeless man. Ron Hall is living the dream, travelling the world and enjoying his wealth and prestige. Denver Moore is a former sharecropper who has endured a lifetime of hardships. The two meet in a shelter where Ron is reluctantly serving meals at the request of his wife. The story is told alternating chapters between the two men. It is a heartwarming tale of how two people from entirely different worlds can come together and learn from each other. There are many takeaways from this inspirational story. One point that really hit home for me is when Denver discusses the volunteers at the shelter and says you can tell by the way they look at you if they care about you or feel sorry for you. The School on Wheels staff and volunteers really care and the families we work with can see that from day one. – Sally Bindley, Founder & CEO
Wonder by R.J. Palacio takes you through Auggie Pullman’s first year in mainstream school – 5th grade at Beecher Prep. He’s not only the new kid, but the new kid who gets noticed for the wrong reasons because he happens to have been born with a facial deformity. The book takes you on Auggie’s journey of navigating a new experience and new friendships, and is told from many people’s perspectives. I loved everything about this book, but especially Auggie. – Claire Brosman, Grants & Communications Manager
I recently read (or listened to the audio book of) Just Kids by Patti Smith. She wrote about her childhood, becoming interested in art, moving to New York, meeting her best friend Robert Mapplethorpe, and their life and adventures together. It was amazing, especially to listen to it narrated by Patti Smith herself. Her own accent and tone made such a big difference in hearing those words correctly. Usually I love to sit down and read a book because sometimes I read a little faster than the narrator does in an audio book, but I just wanted to slowly drink up every word of this book. – Erin Brown, Program Manager
The Lorax by Dr. Seuss because it carefully and artfully looks at our inner drive to succeed at all costs and then puts the burden of taking care of the world and others on each and every one of us. My daughter and I were watching the news about the Dr. Seuss hat exhibit at the Fashion Mall, and we both blurted out, “The Lorax,” when the reporter mentioned we all have Dr. Seuss favorites. I love the bond that Dr. Seuss brought to and shared with so many people, and I treasure that my daughter, who so hated school and reading, actually loved Dr. Seuss books. Also, Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott. This is a non-fiction book that helps you to analyze what you need to talk about and with whom you need to talk about those important things, whether those conversations are with others or just yourself. I suppose it falls under the self-help, self-analysis field in which frank conversations make for more meaningful relationships and more powerful lives. At least that is the hope! – Tonia Carriger, Program Coordinator
The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan is a collection of short stories and essays written during Marina’s time at Yale University. When she graduated in 2012, she had a play that was to be produced at the New York International Fringe Festival and a job waiting for her at the New Yorker. Tragically, five days after graduation, Marina died in a car crash. It’s strange to read her words as a contemporary with similar views on the future, opportunity, and time. It’s eerie to know she’s gone, but she’s also not gone. She left a big mark in a small amount of time by ferociously following her passions, and that’s not eerie at all. – Sarah Matlock, Project Manager
Orphan Train by Christina Baker Klein is a historical fiction novel about a piece of American history that was previously unknown to me. It tells the story of Vivian, a young Irish immigrant girl living in New York City. She lost her parents to an apartment fire and was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children to find new homes. The story is heartbreaking, unimaginable, and hopeful. It shows the resilience of children and the power of simple kindness shown by a caring adult. – Karen Routt, Director of Programs
Thanks to all our staff members who shared what they’ve been caught reading. We’d love to hear what you’ve been caught reading this month, too – leave us a comment below!