Books · Pat Asch Fellowship

Reading for Resilience

I hope your summer reading is off to an invigorating, relaxing, mysterious, romantic, adventurous, historical, fantastical start! We had a great turnout for Girls of Summer 2017; perhaps some of those amazing books for amazing girls have found a spot in your beach bag!

As I’m preparing to to journey up to Massachusetts, where I’ll spend the rest of July at Kripalu in a professional development immersion experience (so generously made possible by the YWCA’s Pat Asch Social Justice Fellowship), I’m thinking about which books to take with me.

So far I’ve packed Narrative Medicine by Rita Charon, The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk, Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond (Thank you, Kelly King Horne!), Tilly by Monique Gray Smith, and Iron Hearted Violet by Kelly Barnhill.

You never know what you’ll feel like reading, right? (I’m driving, so plenty of room for even more books, if necessary.)

All this thinking about books and list-making, prompted me to share a list of diverse and inspiring books that speak to resiliency. My colleague and dear friend Rebekah Holbrook and I developed this at United Way as a handout for the Richmond Adverse Childhood Experiences and Resiliency Summit last August.

Check out these 10 middle grade stories:


And, on the flipside 10 beautiful and inclusive picture books that incorporate aspects of resilience:


The courses I’ll be taking at Kripalu  – Narrative Medicine, Beyond Diversity 101, and the Body, the Brain, and Trauma – examine specific frameworks and theories to help transcend trauma and become our best, most whole selves: story, inclusive relationships, and honoring the body’s wisdom. I would also add nature and writing to my list of restorative practices, and I hope to find space for forest walking, birdwatching, and book revising while I’m away from my family.

What books would you add to the lists above? What titles are traveling with you this summer? Please share!



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