These books are loosely in order based on when I read them in my life.
Little House on the Prairie (Series) Laura Ingalls Wilder
I read this series of books multiple times when I was younger. Travel has changed my world view more than anything else, and this series was responsible for my itchy feet.
Diary of Anne Frank Anne Frank
I have read this book several times in several formats. I read it for the first time in fifth grade and then devoured every other book I could find about the Holocaust. This book made me serious about journal writing because it made me think that one person could influence the rest of the world through journal writing—even after death.
National Geographic Magazine
OK, so they’re not technically books, but they should be. These magazines expanded my travel dreams as well as my photography dreams.
Fahrenheit 451 Ray Bradbury
The government, TV, and firemen can’t be trusted. Books are dangerous. Thinking is dangerous.
My mother told me about this book when I was in high school and I had to track it down since it was long out of print (1959). Children witness the A-bomb and its aftermath. Amazing book. I was being taught in school that the A-bomb was necessary to end WWII. This book made me question the ethics of that “necessary” action.
Plato: Complete Works Ed. John M. Cooper
Crito and Apology? Plato is what made me major in philosophy in college. Socrates made his students think and he made the old guard nervous. I strive to be a teacher like Socrates. (Minus the naked gymnastics.)
Debt-Proof Living Mary Hunt
I have no idea how I stumbled upon a Christian-based financial book when I was in grad school (or so?) but I’m so glad I did. It’s because of this woman (and multiple books by other authors later) that I questioned the financial dance that so many Americans appear to be stuck in. I decided to quit using credit cards for credit. It’s because of this book that I paid off my student loan more than a dozen years early, and refuse to buy a house until I know I’m ready (despite the “great deal” that houses are right now according to everyone else).
1984 George Orwell
The government can’t be trusted. Newspapers, books, TV, and magazines can’t be trusted. Thinking is dangerous.
Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling John Taylor Gatto
I reread at least one of Gatto’s books every year. Reading his books grounds me. It reminds me of why I stay in education. It brings me back to the idealistic teacher I was my first year. It keeps me from drinking the “test scores are all that count” Kool-Aid.
From Freedom To Slavery: The Rebirth of Tyranny in America Gerry Spence
When I was in my first year of teaching, I decided I’d stick with teaching five years. After that, I go to law school and become a high-powered defense (yes, defense) attorney like Gerry Spence, who defended Imelda Marcos and took on the Randy Weaver/Ruby Ridge case. This book is a collection of essays and thoughts about life in America. The government can’t be trusted. Corporations and companies can’t be trusted. Typical schooling is life-sucking.