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Summer Healthy Reading List - 2018

A summer reading list for all ages featuring books on health, food and self-care.

Dr. Rebekah Costello, DO reading Braving the Wilderness by Brene BrownThere are few things in life that I enjoy more than finding a cool, shaded spot on a warm summer day to sit back with a good book. Reading is a perfect summer activity for the whole family - keeping adult minds stimulated, providing an escape and adventure for teens, and an opportunity for quiet downtime for younger children. I have put together my family's summer reading list filled with books about health, food and self-care. I hope you find a title or two that fills your summer with relaxation, knowledge and inspiration.


Sick: A Memoir, Porochista Khakpour
Sick is a beautiful memoir on the struggles - emotional and physical - of chronic illness. Author Porochista Khakpour only ever remembers being sick and most of her life never knowing why. She shares her arduous, painful and expensive story to a diagnosis of late-stage Lyme disease and its intense impact on her mental and physical being.

Braving The Wilderness, Brene Brown
In her latest book, Brene Brown, PhD, LMSW again challenges the cultural conversation around truly belonging and what we believe about ourselves and each other. Using her signature mix of research, storytelling and her own vulnerability, Brown encourages us to create a daily personal commitment to connection, integrity and authenticity. She writes, 'The wilderness is an untamed, unpredictable place of solitude and searching. It is a place as dangerous as it is breathtaking, a place as sought after as it is feared. But it turns out to be the place of true belonging, and it's the bravest and most sacred place you will ever stand.'

The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying, Nina Riggs
Mother, wife and poet, Nina Riggs, was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer at thirty-seven. In her memoir, Nina beautifully explores how to live a meaningful life when one knows their time is limited. This book is incredibly moving, surprisingly funny and beautifully written as it looks at life and death straight on while Riggs encourages us to hold on to love, art, music and words - the things that make us human.

The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind: My Tale of Madness and Recovery, Barbara K Lipska, Ph.D
Doctors and scientists are not immune to the diseases they treat. This was the case for Barbara K Lipska, PhD - a leading expert in the neuroscience of mental illness - and her diagnosis of melanoma that spread to her brain. In this memoir, Lipska shares her incredible experience with cancer, brain injury and her treatment while explaining how mental illness, brain injury and age can change our behavior, personality, cognition and memory.

Milk!: A 10,000-Year Food Fracas, Mark Kurlansky
For 10,000 years humans have collected milk from other mammals, initially as a source of cheese, yogurt, and kefir, allowing us to digest lactose, then as genetic mutation made most humans lactose-tolerant, we cultivated it as milk itself. Mark Kurlansky explores this long history and evolution of milk as part of industry, nutrition and politics across the globe.

The Minimalist Kitchen: 100 Wholesome Recipes, Essential Tools and Efficient Techniques, Melissa Coleman
Clean, nutritious eating is the cornerstone to a healthy life but it can feel like achieving simplicity and deliciousness with food is difficult to achieve. This new cookbook and cooking guide from Melissa Coleman offers a framework for making dinnertime (and your kitchen) doable again. You will find details on kitchen essentials alongside simple but delicious vegetable forward recipes designed to fit the whole week.

Young Adult

Mustaches for Maddie, Chad Morris 
Based on a true story of a quirky, funny twelve-year-old, Mustaches for Maddie is a funny, heartwarming book for young adults. Maddie is living life, making her classmates laugh by putting on fake mustaches and being cast as Juliet in the school play. When she starts having trouble walking and her hands curl up, she visits the doctor to find out she has a brain tumor. Chad Morris shares a compelling story about a young woman coping and finding her own courage and compassion for herself.

This Is Really Happening, Erin Chack
This is Really Happening is a hysterical, heartbreaking collection of personal essays curated by BuzzFeed senior writer, Erin Chack. She is authentic in her recollection of meeting her soulmate at 14, her first chemotherapy session at 19, resilience, love and family - all conveyed in a perfectly unfiltered young voice.


Tacos!: An Interactive Recipe Book (Cook In A Book), Lotta Nieminen
When it's too hot outside or the kids need an activity to slow down, this interactive recipe book is the third in the delicious COOK IN A BOOK series. This interactive board book features pull tabs, sliders, wheels and pop-out pieces to invite even the youngest chefs to participate in a summer taco recipe.

Listening to My Body, Gabi Garcia
This beautifully illustrated children's book from a mother, former teacher and Licensed Professional Counselor helps children find the words to name the sensations and feelings they are experiencing. It is also an amazing resource for parents and teachers to help children understand how to be mindful, self-regulate and develop a sense of well-being.

50 Wacky Things Humans Do: Weird & amazing facts about the human body, Walter Foster Jr. Creative Team
What causes brain freeze? Why can't you tickle yourself? How fast does a sneeze go out of your nose?

There are so many weird and amazing things about the human body that seem too crazy to be true and this book covers 50 of them! If you're looking to be wowed, silly or totally grossed out, this book is perfect to teach everyone in your family something new about themselves.

Breathe Like a Bear: 30 Mindful Moments for Kids to Feel Calm and Focused Anytime, Kira Willey
Summer can be full of funny, crazy, active moments, especially when there isn't a school day to keep the kids mindful and focused. This is a gorgeous illustrated book of exercises perfect for teaching kids how to manage their bodies, breath and emotions. Take this book with you to swim lessons, on road trips or to bed at night as these simple breathing exercises and movements can be done anywhere.

Over and Under the Pond, Kate Messner & Christopher Silas Neal
Dive into a secret underwater world and discover the plants and animals that make up the amazing ecosystem of a mountain pond. Over the pond, the water reflects the sun and clouds, but under the pond is a quite explosion of life and wonder. After reading this book, take your kids to a nearby pond for your own local discovery over and under the pond.

All of these books can be found online but they may also be available at your local library - the perfect place to escape the summer heat. If you stop by the St. Charles Public Library, you might find me there on my lunch break searching for something new to read - don't hesitate to share a recommendation!

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