A Summer Reading List

I’ve been an avid reader since I was a little kid. Growing up in a coastal town north of Barcelona, I have wonderful memories of spending hours reading during the warm summer days and nights. Fiction, poetry, mystery, short stories… you name it! With every book, there was a new experience, a new world waiting to be discovered. 

As an adult, summer continues to be a time when I am able to recreate those joyful moments and step away from the daily routines to get lost in a book. How about you? Is reading part of your summer bliss?

In addition to the positive emotions that reading generates, recent research studies have found that becoming engrossed in a novel enhances connectivity in the brain and improves brain function. Reading fiction has been found to improve the readers’ ability to put themselves in another person’s shoes, developing empathy, and flexing the imagination muscle. So, this summer you can enjoy reading your favorite author while increasing your empathy!

Do you need suggestions? If you haven’t finalized your summer reading list, here are some recommendations for great SEL related books, both fiction and non-fiction.


  • Once I Was You by Maria Hinojosa. Hinojosa is an Emmy Award-winning journalist and anchor of NPR’s Latino USA. In this memoir, she examines how decades of US immigration policy have enabled a human rights crisis of monumental proportions. 
  • Fierce Self-Compassion by Kristin Neff, Ph.D. Neff is a pioneer in the field of self-compassion research, and I have used her work in my own book. In her latest publication, she explores how women can use fierce and tender self-compassion to become their best selves. 
  • All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson. This one is on my summer list! Prominent writer and LGTBQIA+ activist, George Johnson shares both glorious and gut-wrenching memories of growing up Black and queer in America. 


  • What’s Mine and Yours by Naima Coster. After a community in Piedmont, North Carolina, decides to draw students from the largely Black side of town into the white high schools on the west, students Gee and Noelle find themselves at the center of a complicated debate around integration.
  • My Year Abroad by Chang-Rae Lee. From the award-winning author of Native Speaker and On Such a Full Sea, an exuberant, provocative story about a young American life transformed by an unusual Asian adventure – and about the human capacities for pleasure, pain, and connection.
  • The Inhabited Woman by Gioconda Belli. I read this book when I was in Nicaragua doing an internship for my teaching credential, and it had a great impact on me. It tells the story of a young woman who leaves her parents’ house to join a revolutionary movement against a violent dictator in Nicaragua. It is a story about injustice, passion and love.

Need more suggestions? If none of these books entice your curiosity, check out Goodreads. It offers suggestions for novels and non-fiction books you might enjoy based on your own ratings of books. There is a book for everybody! What SEL related books are you reading this summer?

Happy summer reading!

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