SMUS Summer Reads

As summer vacation begins, both staff and students find themselves with more time to indulge in leisure activities, especially reading books that aren’t required for homework or lesson plans. With that in mind, SMUS students and staff have contributed the title of a favourite book or two and our dedicated librarians, Mrs. Joan Tweedie and Brenda Waksel, have helped put together some guides to good books.

Below are some of our favourite recommendations.

Staff Picks

  • Three Cups of Tea by Peter Mortensen. (Sabrina Lloyd) Traces how the author, having been rescued and resuscitated by Himalayan villagers after a failed attempt to climb K2, worked to build schools that would benefit the young girls who were forbidden an education by Taliban restrictions.
  • The Anarchist in the Library: how the clash between freedom and control is hacking the real world and crashing the system by Siva Vaidhyanathan. (Graham Lilly) A guide to the cultural and economic battleground of our increasingly plugged-in world, the struggle for information that will determine much of the culture and politics of the twenty-first century.
  • Interpreter of Maladies by Jumpha Lahiri. (Terence Young) Nine short stories chart the emotional journeys of characters seeking love beyond the borders of nations and generations.
  • The Brain That Changes Itself: stories of personal triumph from the frontiers of brain science by Norman Doidge. (Jake Humphries) A collection of case histories which demonstrate the human brain’s amazing ability to change itself. Detailing how people with brain injuries and illnesses have been rejuvenated and cured.

Grades 11/12

  • Unbowed by Wangari Mathaai is a memoir from founder of Kenya’s Green Belt movement and winner of the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize, who starts a campaign to restore the indigenous forests of her country. Over the course of three decades, she accomplishes this by mobilizing women to plant over 30 million trees.
  • Keeper by Mal Peet. World Cup superstar El Gato tells an astonished interviewer the story of how he learned his soccer skills growing up in an isolated logging town in the rainforest.
  • Vanishing and Other Stories, by Deborah Willis, explores the emotional and physical absences in which people leave or are left, and whether or not it’s ever possible to move on. The characters in this collection will linger in the imagination, proving that nothing is ever truly forgotten.
  • The Dressmaker by Elizabeth Oberbeck. Claude Reynaud is an old-fashioned tailor, designing his famous gowns by hand in a cluttered studio outside of Paris. The Dressmaker is an enchanting portrait of another world and an irresistible love story.

Grades 9 and 10

  • Burma Chronicles by Guy Delisle. Guy Delisle uses a graphic novel format to reflect on the experiences he had while working in a Burma (Myanmar) where his wife’s career allowed him to explore Burma’s rural and impoverished regions.
  • A Mango-Shaped Space by Wendy Mass. Afraid that she is crazy, because she sees a special color with every letter, number, and sound, Mia keeps this a secret until she becomes overwhelmed by school, changing relationships, and the loss of something important to her.
  • Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher. Intellectually and athletically gifted, TJ, an adopted teenager, shuns organized sports until he agrees to form a swimming team and recruits some of the school’s less popular students.


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