Education is an important part of any functioning society; however, because of the rigorous expectations of reading through textbooks, tertiary education naturally threw water on the fire that was once my passion for recreational reading. This year, I am challenging myself to dip into both educational and creative reading choices and sharing these experiences here.

The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom

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I bought this book in a small, quant bookstore in Ballard, Seattle. The reason I was so attracted to this novel was because seeing the author’s name made me reminisce of my high school days where I had to read Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom. I loved that book so much in high school that it left a mark on me for my passion for reading. So, I thought I would take a chance on this one.

Well, turns out that taking that chance was definitely a great decision as The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto was a captivating and original novel that left me in tears by the end. Life, love, music, history of the mid-1900’s; it had it all. The themes reflected in these pages often had me thinking about today’s society, and went so much deeper than just another love story.

A Boy and A Jaguar by Alan Rabinowtiz

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A children’s book that quickly became a favorite within the first few beautifully-illustrated pages created Catia Chien. Based on a true story, Alan struggles with stuttering as a child and finds peace through speaking with animals. For the majority of his life, he struggles with his verbal disability as it continues through adulthood. His love for animals and his fractured speech abilities clash when he finds passion through Jaguar research. A touching narrative that teaches students about respect for wildlife and for those who are different.

Cinder by Marissa Meyercinder.jpg

This novel is basically a fun twist on the classic story of Cinderella; except, she’s a cyborg. Super fun to read, and there’s a series to go along with it as well so the story doesn’t immediately end on a happily ever after.

The Outsiders 9780140385724_xlg.jpgby S.E. Hinton

I have always heard about this classic, but never got around to reading it till this class. The Outsiders is a fantastic story about a group of boys called greasers and the societal tensions they had with the rich Socs; Great coming-of-age classic that I will always enjoy going back to.

Looking for Alaska by John Green

Looking for Alaska has become one of my favorite books ever now. I enjoyed Green’s truthful writing, and how emotionally connected he made me to every character. Definitely not a book for kids to read till later middle school, but my, I had some of the deepest conversations I’ve ever had with classmates because of the material in this book.

The Absolutely Try Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie and Ellen Forney

I was a little skeptical of this novel at first because it contained doodles on the inside, but I actually loved this novel as well. A lot more appropriate for children in elementary school, but it was very insightful to life on a reservation for a Native American, along with becoming an outsider for setting higher expectations for you as a student.9718201_orig.jpg

The Invention of Hugo Caberet by Brian Selznick

Hugo also contains drawings; however, they’re truly beautiful pieces of art that convey very important pieces of the overarching narrative. I really appreciated this book because of how original the story was – An orphan clock keeper of a train station who goes on an adventure to uncover secrets of his past. A definite must read for anyone of any age.

Harry Potter (series) by JK Rowling

I started this series a couple weeks ago for the first time, and wow what a magical experience it has been! I can’t put down the books, and I am already on the fourth of the series, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. And even though I have seen all of the movies a thousand times, I still find the books to be so much better.

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

“What is essential is invisible to the eye”. This philosophical children’s novel has taught me more about what it means to be an adult than any other book I have ever read. I admit, I did not read this book until influenced by the film adaptation by Netflix; however, it was a rewarding experience reading about the Little Prince, his Rose, and the lessons he receives and teaches others through positivity, open-mindedness, and love. One of the best and most gratifying stories I have had the pleasure of reading.