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Summer 2020

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On My Bookshelf: Noah Heller

WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING? A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

WHAT DREW YOU TO IT? My mama recommended it as extremely beautiful and utterly heartbreaking. She said it was the only book she’s ever read that was too sad to finish. For some reason that compelled me to pick it up. It’s a thick book, so it’s nice to be reading it to start the year and between semesters.

WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE BOOK AS A CHILD? I loved a lot of books. Early in my independent reading, Ramona Quimby books were a favorite, and a few years later, Walter Dean Myers’ Scorpions and Fallen Angels had me rapt. However, if we’re going to go way back, one of my favorite children’s books was The Story of Ferdinand. Ferdinand’s message of nonviolence and defying stereotypes touched my four-year-old soul. It still does.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE BOOK TO READ TO YOUR SON? My son is just over a year old. We have lots of fun with Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? and Good Night, Gorilla. A dear friend and colleague gave him Counting on Community by Innosanto Nagara, which we also love because we get to see friends in all sorts of fun commu-nity activities while also having deep bedtime talks about cardinality.

WHAT BOOK WOULD PEOPLE BE SURPRISED YOU’VE NEVER READ? There are so many great books that I have yet to read. When I was a teenager, my German-speaking Czech grandfather expressed disbelief and despair that I hadn’t read Goethe’s Faust. “Vut, you haven’t read Faust? Vut are they teaching you?” So Faust it is.

IS THERE A BOOK YOU HAVE THE HTF STUDENTS READ THAT YOU THINK IS HELPFUL? A good, simple book that is useful for beginning math teachers is 5 Practices for Orchestrating Productive Math Discussions by Smith and Stein. It provides a sequence of helpful practices that teachers can enact to build a classroom culture that facilitates problem solving and collaborative learning.

WHAT’S NEXT ON YOUR READING LIST? It better be Faust! But after that, The Feast of the Goat by Mario Vargas Llosa is on deck. I’ve been wanting to read one of his books for a long time, and someone recommended I start with this one.