Each summer, IMS faculty and staff dust off their local library cards and check out some of the summer’s top books. We also keep our minds sharp by reading educational, thought-provoking book selections to help inform and inspire our work. Required reading for faculty and staff is closely aligned with our strategic priorities, including teaching for relevance and purpose. Modeled after our English curriculum for students, we aim to have diversity of voices and perspectives. 

Here’s what’s on our list this summer: 

White Picket Fences: Turning Toward Love in a World Divided by Privilege
By Amy Julia Becker
Amy Julia Becker introduces us to a childhood in a Southern state still finding its footing after the tension of the civil rights movement, and an adulthood in a Northern city whose social inequities have been carefully hidden from view. We’re reminded that the white picket fences that seem so pristine and good and even virtuous can function as a wall, even a prison, that prevents us from knowing and loving our neighbors, and experiencing the world as it truly is and the God who invites us to carry a blessing into it. 

What School Could Be: Insight and Inspiration from Teachers Across America 
By Ted Dintersmith 
An inspiring account of teachers in ordinary circumstances doing extraordinary things, showing us what leads to powerful learning in classrooms, and how to empower our teachers to make it happen.

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption
By Bryan Stevenson 
A true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to fix America’s broken system of justice — from one of the most brilliant and influential lawyers of our time. Just Mercy is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted lawyer’s coming of age, a moving portrait of the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of justice.

Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity
By Katherine Boo
Our rising ninth graders are required to read this selection. Pulitzer Prize winner Katherine Boo conveys a bewildering age of global change and inequality-made-human through the dramatic story of families striving toward a better life in Annawadi, a makeshift settlement in the shadow of luxury hotels near the Mumbai airport. Based on years of uncompromising reporting, Behind the Beautiful Forevers carries the reader headlong into one of the twenty-first century’s hidden worlds—and into the hearts of families impossible to forget. 

To learn more about summer reading for students, hear from our English Department Chair and view the required and suggested selections for each grade.