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Summer Reads

Book reviews and recommendations
By Margriet Ruurs
Summer Reads

Married to Bhutan by Linda Leaming. This wonderfully written book is a joy for those of us who love to travel. U.S. writer Linda Leaming shares her stories about traveling to teach, then settling and marrying in the tiny mountain kingdom of Bhutan. Spiced with a lot of humor, this is a fascinating glimpse into a unique culture and lifestyle in the Himalayas. Also by Linda Leaming is The Fieldguide to Happiness, with personal anecdotes and further information about the people of Bhutan and their lifestyle (Hay House Publishing, ISBN 9781848503755).
Let Me Tell You My Story: Refugee Stories of Hope, Courage, and Humanity. This gorgeous coffee-table photo book offers a personal glimpse into the lives of refugees. Beautiful photos are accompanied by interviews that shed light on each individual: their struggles, their journey, but also their hopes and dreams for the future. This is a book that can grace any library shelf and would have a natural place in a school’s office. It can lead to important discussions with students of all ages. Proceeds benefit refugees. Check it out online at (Familius, ISBN 978-1-64170-049-8).
Having recently visited an international school in Egypt, I read this next book with special interest. The Mistress of Nothing by Kate Pullinger won the Governor General’s Literary Award. It is the fascinating account, based on a true story, of a maid who accompanied Lady Duff Gordon to Egypt in the mid 1800s. The story, setting, and customs of the day are beautifully recounted in this page-turning novel (Touchstone Books, ISBN 9781439195055).
After Life, Ways We Think About Death by Merrie-Ellen Wilcox. An extensive guide that frankly discusses death. This brave new book includes details about cultures and customs in different countries, shares information on causes of death, burials, and all aspects of what happens when someone dies. A fabulous way to approach a difficult subject, for all ages (Orca Book Publishers, ISBN 978-1-4598-1388-5).
The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris is a fascinating, large picture book for readers of all ages. Compiled of nature-related words cut from the “updated” dictionary, this is an illustrated spell-book that encourages children and adults alike to go outside and explore. Poetry and watercolor art depict the magic of nature and wildlife (Hamish Hamilton Publishers, ISBN 0241253586).
Only in India by Jill Dobbe is the entertaining true story of two teachers at an international school in India. Some of their experiences are discouraging but colorful characters and events make up for the hardships of living and working in foreign countries. This memoir/travel book will hit home with many international educators. Available as an e-book (ISBN 9781542633529).
The trusted Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne deals with everything that fascinates kids, from dinosaurs to mummies to space travel, and a whole lot in between. Fictional novels can be accompanied by Fact Checkers titles. The website offers additional games and information.
Margriet Ruurs is a Canadian author of 40 books for children. She is available for
author presentations and writing workshops at international schools:>

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