A Monster Calls

Monster Calls

Cancer impacts everyone around you, including your students. I have taught this book the past three years, and it wasn’t until this past year, when my father was diagnosed with liver cancer, that I really felt the impact of the disease personally. I have made a huge connection with this novel, many times in tears when reading with my students. There are days I wish a monster would visit me, would tell me a story, and would help life to seem more sensible.

Submitted by Cindy Matejka, Teacher, Goochland Middle School

The Foundation Trilogy

Asmiov Book Cover

This was the first book that I bought and read for pleasure after graduating from high school. Asimov’s storytelling abilities and writing style made Foundation an absolute joy to read…and this book sparked my love for reading.

Sean Campbell, Division Data Analyst and Secondary Testing Coordinator

The Poisonwood Bible

Poisonwood Bible Cover

Kingsolver transitions fluently between points of view, as she explores the culturally embedded definitions of good and evil. The characters grapple with social injustice, and their questions became my own. At times, I found myself relating to every character and questioning my own predilections and misgivings.

—Submitted by Austen Hecker, Teacher, Randolph Elementary  School

The Poisonwood Bible is a marriage of cultural, spiritual, and political differences. It makes evident the potentially detrimental effects of the ego on one’s desire to help others. As teachers, we must always consider the upbringing of our students before imposing our own belief systems.

—Submitted by Amanda Steeley, Teacher, Goochland Elementary School

Promise Me, Dad

Biden Book Cover

In addition to providing me with details about historical events that happened during his tenure as Vice President, Mr. Biden gave me insight about surviving grief and dealing with the struggle of overcoming life’s hardships. Overall, I felt much better about myself and my trials after reading his book.


Submitted by Liz Kuhns, Teacher Goochland High School

To Kill a Mockingbird

Kill a Mockingbird Book Cover

Atticus’ response to his daughter’s youthful perspective on empathy struck me the first time I read Harper Lee’s novel, and it has influenced me throughout my life: “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view … until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”


Submitted by Stephen Geyer, Assistant Superintendent

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Harry Potter Bookcover

I have always enjoyed reading children’s literature, but the Harry Potter series has cast a spell on me. As a librarian, I am thrilled to be able to share my fondness of these enchanting stories with future generations. Not only do these books inspire a love of reading, but they also have powerful messages about the importance of friendship, family, sacrifice, and bravery.

Submitted by Susan Vaughan, School Librarian Randolph Elementary School

El Único Destino

unico destino bookcover

Reading a Young Adult book in Spanish this summer was eye-opening. Although I have a good grasp on speaking and listening in Spanish, reading to comprehend was incredibly difficult. This really helped me to better understand the comprehension challenges my students face on a daily basis.

Submitted by Jamie Sprouse, Teacher Randolph Elementary School

The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self Discovery

Road Back to You

This book challenged the way I view myself and why I do the things that I do. It helped me to understand on a deeper level my strengths and weaknesses and how to maximize my potential as a human. It also gave me a greater awareness of how and why people around me function the way that they do and allowed for me to show them more empathy and grace instead of getting frustrated or annoyed by their behavior.

Submitted by Ariel Perry, Teacher Goochland Elementary School