What We're Reading This Summer

July 25, 2018

Insights from The Opportunity Agenda

With daily outrages in the news and constant challenges to our values, it’s no wonder that we’re all looking for some escapism this summer. For some, getting lost in a good book is the perfect way to block out the noise… at least for a while. With this in mind, we recently asked staff at The Opportunity Agenda about what they’re reading this summer. Here’s what they told us:  

Graphic by Pete Railand via Just Seeds

Porshéa Patterson, Public Opinion Research Associate:

“My book recommendation is ”Children of Blood and Bone” by Tomi Adeyemi. It’s a fantastic dive into young adult fantasy that’s rooted in the cultural traditions found throughout the African diaspora without being grounded in a distant, isolated Africa or a colonized land. An enthusiast of all things magical, the world that Tomi Adeyemi built mesmerizes the reader -- from the descriptions of multiple locales to the characterization of peoples' relationships -- with power and self-identity by aligning the persecution of magical people to struggles realized in real life. It's a truly refreshing read that left me and my Black female Potterhead friends anticipating the next release of the series.”


Bridget Whelan, Training and Engagement Coordinator:

“Since having my first child in January, reading for myself has become a luxury that happens in short bursts. Rupi Kaur’s collection of poetry, “The Sun and Her Flowers” has been the perfect thing to keep on my nightstand. Her poems explore trauma, self-love and healing, and can be heartbreaking but oddly comforting at the same time. In another vein, most of the reading we’re doing in my household is to our 5-month-old son, and we’re careful to make sure we choose books featuring children of color, not just white kids. Some favorites include: “More More More, Said the Baby,” by Vera B. Williams, “Whistle for Willie” by Ezra Jack Keats, and “The Little Red Fort” by Brenda Maier.”


Alan Jenkins, President:

“Mine is “Lighting the Fires of Freedom: African American Women in the Civil Rights Movement,” by our former communications director, Janet Dewart Bell.”


Sara Stuart, Interim Director of Development:

“Make Trouble,” by Cecile Richards, is essential reading as a first-person narrative of recent history and as a story of how one grows into a strategic leader. Cecile’s courage and vision as a leader who speaks truth to power will inspire you for years to come. Don’t miss it!”


Will Coley, Communications Coordinator:

“I’m reading ”Vanishing New York: How a Great City Lost Its Soul” by Jeremiah Moss and it’s really riling me up. I’ve lived in New York City on and off for many years. But Moss is opening my eyes to how wealthy interests and city leaders have destroyed many of the things that make this city great. The book is making me value and protect what’s left. I also recently read ”Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life” by William Finnegan which would be a great summer read. Finnegan chronicles his global search for perfect waves. Even though I’m not really a surfer, he captures the thrill of surfing and the various cultures he encountered along the way.”


For more reading suggestions, check out these lists from Barack Obama, Colorlines and Social Movement Tech.