A bushel of book recommendations

Whenever I speak at an author event, I make a point of recommending books to the audience. The following are the books that I am recommending on my current book tour:

I loved this book, and I think it is excellent for adults as well kids. It would be a challenging book for even my strongest fifth grade readers, but I wouldn’t hesitate to put it in their hands. The protagonist, Flavia de Luce, is a female detective and chemist of sorts, which adds to its appeal for me. There are never enough female protagonists in the hands of my students.

I’m not normally a fan of graphic novels, but this autobiography of David Small, who experienced a horrific childhood, is amazing. So full of hope despite the bleak landscape of his life. A great choice for book clubs who are looking for a quick read and a conversation starter.


As the father of a three year old, this book has been a blessing. It teaches strategies for converting your baby into the weight required for strength training. Genius!

Every teacher, regardless of grade level or experience, must read this book. There is no better instructive text for teachers.

Peter Benchley’s JAWS was based upon the Jersey Shore shark attacks of 1916. Michael Capuzzo’s book is the terrifying account of these attacks.

This book is the first gift that my wife ever gave me. It is the story of Despereaux, a mouse who refuses to conform to mouse society and is forced to pay a steep price for his noncompliance. It is a brilliant story, perfect for adult and children, and it contains one of my favorite quotes of all time:

“Reader, you must know that an interesting fate (sometimes involving rats, sometimes not) awaits almost everyone, mouse or man, who does not conform.”

Reading a Billy Collins poem is often like reading an essay and a story blended into one through the use of perfect language. His poetry is accessible, amusing, enlightening and pitch perfect. I strongly recommend you listen to Collins read his poetry rather than reading it yourself.

Or better yet, do both.

Nora Ephron may be remember best for films like When Harry Met Sally and You’ve Got Mail, but her essays are her finest work. This book is no exception.