The Name of the Wind

the name of the wind book cover

Patrick Rothfuss transports the reader into a fantastical realm filled with passion, magic, friendship, and intrigue. There are few stories so eloquently told and mesmerizing to behold as the Kingkiller Chronicles. Kvoethe’s tale is one of those stories that will resound against the passing of time.


Submitted by Elizabeth Stephens, teacher at Goochland Middle School

The Grapes of Wrath

The Grapes of Wrath Book Cover

This book profiles the life of a family who lost their farm during the dustbowl. They journey to California, hoping for the opportunity to start a new life. The struggles, prejudice and workplace abuse they face is tremendous. I wasn’t aware of the level of hardship so many experienced during this time and the story provided new insights into the struggles that were the direct result of ignoring environmental issues. The novel is very relevant today and should serve as a cautionary tale for those who don’t believe we should pay attention to science.


Submitted by Carolyn Elliott, teacher Goochland Middle School

A Higher Call: An Incredible True Story of Combat and Chivalry in the War-Torn Skies of World War II

A Higher Call Book Cover

This book reminded me that there are good and honorable people everywhere, even those who fought on the wrong side of history. It challenged me to look deeper into the motives that drive individuals and to do my own research before crafting my own opinion. As a war book, it’s not a genre I tend to be drawn to read, but the message of this true story is inspiring to me both as a person and as an educator.

Lindsay Dewey, Social Studies Teacher, GHS


Mindset Book Cover

This book simply and brilliantly transformed my perspective of how my language and Mindset can impact the future of my children and self. We all have the capacity to be brilliant if we maximize our “Learning Opportunities” and transform “Adversity” into “Growth Opportunities.”


Submitted by Elizabeth Bearer-Pittarelli, teacher at Goochland Elementary School

Molder of Dreams

Moulder of Dreams bookcover

This touching book written by the 1986 Teacher of the Year, Guy Doud, was about relationships. It tells how we, as teachers send encouraging and discouraging messages all the time. We mold each others’ dreams. We hold each others’ fragile dreams in our hands. We all touch others’ hearts. It relates to my mantra,” to reach the head, we must first reach the heart.”


Submitted by Holly Swift, Byrd Elementary School

Cannery Row

Cannery Row, Book Cover

It is just a great story about the human condition, the struggles we all have and how we cope. It’s hard to pick among all of John Steinbeck’s novels-he has been among my favorite authors since middle school.


Submitted by Andy Armstrong Executive Director of Operations


Night Book Cover

I first read this book in 12th grade. I had never read or encountered a story of such real pain and horror yet such resilience. It changed my life and made me look at human life in a more fragile and precious way. I was in awe at how a person could experience such atrocities yet go on to survive his ordeal and even more so, share those ordeals with others to educate and prevent such events from possibly happening again in the future.

Submitted by Amy Wood, English Teacher, GHS

The Elegance of the Hedgehog

Elegance of the Hedgehog book cover

It was appealing to follow the two main narrators through eloquently worded, often surprisingly bright perspectives in was was initially posed as a gloomy context. One of the narrators begins the book by declaring that she will be committing suicide at the end. With that particular shock out of the way, the reader is free to follow that narrator’s trajectory during the final year of her life. Though it treats darker content, the prose is flitting and musical, the descriptions vivid and clear. A pleasure to read, and nice to be prompted to examine/participate in perspective shifts from time to time.


Submitted by Olivia Exum, Spanish Teacher, GHS