Summer Reading for Grownups Edition

As is our tradition each summer the Children’s Reading Alliance Team shares our recent favorite reads. Science, history, and exotic locations dominate the list this year including two books by Walter Isaacson. Benjamin Franklin: An American Life delivers the life and adventures of colonial America’s remarkable writer, inventor, media baron, scientist, diplomat, and business strategist. In The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race Isaacson chronicles the race to develop CRISPR, the gene editing tool that led to the creation of vaccines for coronavirus and ushers in the next era of medical innovation.

In the memoir Fox and I: An Uncommon Friendship, nature writer Catherine Raven explores her multi layered experiences observing a fox that decides to let her follow him.

Fifth Sun: A New History of the Aztecs by Camilla Townsend offers a chronological history of the Mexica (Aztecs) relying principally on their own documents translated from the Nahuatl language.

Born in Blackness: Africa, Africans, and the Making of the Modern World, 1471 to the Second World War by Howard W. French examines the overlooked role of Africa in the creation of modernity.

Violeta by Isabel Allende, written in Spanish is also available in English. Violeta Del Valle, a fictional character, born in Chile in 1920, reveals through personal letters her feminist awakening amid repressive domestic and state forces.

Anne Patchett delivers difficult human dilemmas and scientific adventure in the Amazon jungle in State of Wonder.

Alexander McCall Smith’s The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series is set in Botswana and features lovable recurring characters in cozy light mysteries with charming, funny life affirming endings.

Other recommendations include books that promote personal growth. In Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone, a girl with OCD learns to accept herself. The Body Keeps Score: Brain, Mind and Body in Healing Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk M.D paves the way to recovery through a combination of neuroscience, historical analysis, the arts and personal narrative. The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book) by Don Miguel Ruiz reveals the source of self-limiting beliefs that rob us of joy and create needless suffering.

Las Cruces author Elaine Hampton has just released Seekers of a Stable Sky, timely, with mostly first-person accounts of the challenges facing poor women north and south of the El Paso/Juarez border.

To find books by other local authors drop in at MoonBow Book Nook at 225 east Idaho #12.  Alice Davenport makes it her mission to support local authors by buying and selling their books. A glance inside her shop reveals 250 locally sourced titles displayed on every vertical surface.

Suggestions for books to enjoy with a child come from Stephen age 8 and Azalea age 5. They recommend The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak, There’s a Monster in Your Book & There’s a Dragon in Your Book by Tom Fletcher, The Captain Underpants Series by Dav Pilkey, Shel Silverstein’s collections of poems and short stories, and anything by Roald Dahl.

If you would enjoy reading with a child who needs a mentor, contact Jan Reed to apply to become a Reading Buddy.


Here’s hoping you will treat yourself to a shady spot with a good book.

Rorie Measure is president emeritus of the Children’s Reading Alliance, a grassroots initiative to encourage family literacy throughout Dona Ana County, NM. She is a reader, writer, teacher, reading specialist and literacy trainer.