My Summer Reading List by Nancy Mugele

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We made it! If you are a student or an educator, pat yourself on the back for making it through another academic year. Summer has arrived for the Kent School employee group with our 50th Graduation celebration and last day with students on June 6. Last week on Chestertown’s First Friday, the School was closed for our first Summer Friday. For the Administrative team who works throughout the summer months to prepare for the upcoming academic year, Fridays off from mid-June to the end of August are a wonderful gift to help recharge and rejuvenate. And, while this past week we were all on campus for closing meetings, today truly marks the official start of summer for us.

Last week’s First Friday was the first one in a long time where there was no rain! I admit I am a fair weather First Friday reveler, so I was really happy to see the sun last week. Jim and I started our outing at Dunkin’ where it just so happened to be National Donut Day. I truly enjoyed my complimentary chocolate glazed donut. I did, however, regret my 5:00 p.m. coffee choice much later in the night, but that is another story.

A leisurely stroll down High Street brought us into RiverArts exhibits, the beautiful 100-year-old Chesapeake Bank and Trust building, and the Garfield to name a few. We got sidetracked talking with lots of friends and never made it down Cross Street to visit several of our favorite shops. As a result, I also missed out on Lockbriar Farms ice cream – next time!

For me, the best part of the summer is not the fresh produce at the Farmer’s Market, Chester River crabs, or the grilled dinners outside on the porch, although all of those make summer so much fun! For me, the best part of the summer is so much time for reading – in fact, one whole extra day! Those of you who know me, know that I always say “Books are your Friends” – a mantra from my mother, a First Grade teacher. But, also a belief I have internalized for myself and my loved ones. Like it or not, I always give my children one meaningful book for Christmas. I also share my love of reading with students at Kent School where I read aloud weekly in Little School, Kindergarten and First Grade.

Reading boosts your intelligence, makes you a more empathetic human and can help you relax. Reading is magical – for yourself or for those listening to you read aloud. Reading takes you places that life cannot. Author Anne Lamott wrote in Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life:

For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.

This pretty much sums it up for me. If you are looking for me on a summer Friday, check the porch. There is a stack of books there waiting. My summer reading list to-date includes, in no particular order:

Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee by Casey Cep, an Eastern Shore author.

A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II by Sonia Purnell, soon to be a film about Roland Park Country School alumna Virginia Hall.

The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff

WOLFPACK: How to Come Together, Unleash Our Power, and Change the Game by Abby Wambach

Hacking School Discipline: 9 Ways to Create a Culture of Empathy and Responsibility Using Restorative Justice by Nathan Maynard

Middle School Matters: The 10 Key Skills Kids Need to Thrive in Middle School and Beyond–and How Parents Can Help by Phyllis L. Fagell who will join us at the Garfield on October 16, so please mark the date.

And, of course, Mary Oliver’s Devotions, which never leaves my stack.

Happy Summer Friday!

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