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What We’re Reading

Compiled by the team at IHE

In honor of Book Lovers Day on August 9, we’re sharing the books that are currently inspiring members of our team at IHE. In the list below, you’ll find books that take an in-depth look at where we are as a society and as a planet and then show us where we can aspire to go; books that ask us to face our pasts so we can learn from them to build a better future; and books that remind us of both the terrible and beautiful power of humanity. We hope the following titles might bring you some inspiration in your own solutionary journey.

The Ends of the World: Volcanic Apocalypses, Lethal Oceans, and Our Quest to Understand Earth’s Past Mass Extinctions

By Peter Brannen

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Recommended by: Zoe Weil, President and Co-founder

Why she recommends it: Earth’s biosphere has “ended” five times: it has been broiled by heat, frozen by cold, gassed with poisons, smothered in lava, and smashed by an asteroid. By exploring deep time through these five mass extinctions, Peter Brannen gives us a glimpse into our potential future, which we should heed.

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From Reopen to Reinvent: (Re)creating School for Every Child

By Michael B. Horn

Recommended by: Steve Cochrane, Executive Director

Why he recommends it: Beginning with the lessons of disengagement, inequity, and also innovation that emerged from the pandemic, this book provides a vision of what engaged and meaningful learning can be for all students as well as practical pathways for making that vision a reality. It is a call to action and one that I truly believe IHE is answering.

Buried in the Bitter Waters: The Hidden History of Racial Cleansing in America

By Elliot Jaspin

Book on counter

Recommended by: Kacey Dewing, Facilitator of Solutionary Teaching & Learning

Why she recommends it: I have recently been fascinated by the concept of “archival silences” and how they impact interpretations of social justice. This carefully researched book is a dark and disturbing account of the pervasive, but previously hidden history of racial cleansing in the United States.

The Girl with the Louding Voice

By Abi Daré

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Recommended by: Lisa Burnell, Social Media Specialist

Why she recommends it: One of my new favorite pieces of African literature, this book broke my heart in every way. As the young protagonist dreams of a life as a teacher, her unforgettable journey in search of an education is a reminder of the urgency with which we need to act to make quality education accessible and equal for all across the globe.

Sacred Economics

By Charles Eisenstein

Recommended by: Sinclaire Dickinson, Communications & Marketing Manager

Why she recommends it: This book — somehow dense with both economic concepts and a sense of spirituality — pulls apart our economic models and examines how they contribute to the commodification of our earth, our time, and our relationships. I’ve been reading this book with a pen in hand, and it’s leading me to rethink systems I didn’t even realize were “re-thinkable.”

An Immense World

By Ed Young

Book with bird

Recommended by: Betsy Farrell-Messenger, Solutionary Micro-credential Program Lead Facilitator

Why she recommends it: I’ve been listening to this book while walking. There is a lot to digest, as it invites readers to consider animals beyond those we consider pets. I love this book because it dives deep into the senses of each animal species’ umwelt or ‘sensory bubble.’ It’s so detailed and scientific; hopefully, those who read it will go outside and hear/see observe the world with a new lens.

The Future We Choose: Surviving the Climate Crisis

By Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac

The future we choose

Recommended by: Julie Meltzer, Director of K-12 & Teacher Education

Why she recommends it: I appreciate this straightforward, cautionary and, yet, hopeful book about the world’s changing climate and its impact on humanity which advocates that we take on the challenge of the climate crisis with determination and optimism.

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Worldwise Learning: A Teacher′s Guide to Shaping a Just, Sustainable Future

By Carla Marschall and Elizabeth O. Crawford

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Recommended by: Angela Whittaker, Facilitator of Solutionary Teaching & Learning

Why she recommends it: I currently work with 3rd and 4th graders in the Full Circle Micro-school / Homeschool CoOp, where we are transforming our instructional methods to reflect a diverse and global perspective for the students. As we work with the solutionary model for younger students and consider the varied foundational skills needed in solutionary thinking, this book inspires us to think about local and global systems.

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How Not to Die – Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease

By Michael Greger, M.D., FACLM with Gene Stone

Recommended by: Kim Childs, Operations Manager

Why she recommends it: The book highlights one of the least technical and empowering approaches to caring for our whole selves — mind, body, and soul — while also protecting animals and the environment and potentially extending the quality and duration of our years. The book inspires and motivates healthy, incremental changes to our diets and lifestyles in ways that bolster the confidence to bring them forth into our daily lives. The book is inviting and easy to read.

Watch Us Dance

By Leila Slimani

Watch Us Dance

Recommended by: Mary Pat Champeau, Director of Graduate Programs

Why she recommends it: I love Leila Slimani’s work as a writer. This story is set in Morocco in the 1960s where upheaval is happening on all fronts. I’m inspired (constantly) by the role of teenagers and young people as leaders in cultural transformation.