A Blog of Seattle Arts & Lectures

A High School Senior Takes on Summer Book Bingo

This week, our Writers in the Schools program has been delighted to work with high school student and Summer Book Bingo hopeful Tula Hanson, who is job-shadowing with us. Below, Tula gives her recommendations for three reads, including one about a fox who eavesdrops on children’s bedtime stories. As a bonus, if you’re still looking for a “suggested by a young person” square, any one of these could fit the bill!

By Tula Hanson, a student at Northwest School

Hey, I’m Tula. I’m a rising senior at The Northwest School, who has been reading avidly this summer. My literary taste is widespread, spanning short stories, novels, poetry, and plays. If you’re at a loss for books to fill up your Summer Book Bingo squares, here are a few suggestions, read and approved by me.

You couldn’t put it down:

Fox 8 by George Saunders

This summer, I did not expect to read a book like this. In fact, I didn’t even know writing like this existed—but then Fox 8 by George Saunders, bestselling author of Lincoln in the Bardo, was put on my radar. The book may only be 49 pages long, but it’s painstakingly full of relevant, developed themes. It’s also hilarious.

When she recommended it to me, Alicia Craven, Education Director of WITS, said, “Read it out loud for maximum enjoyment.” Why, you might ask? This book is written from the perspective of a fox. That alone causes an immediate gut reaction, I know—but whatever that reaction happens to be for you, give this book a read. The narrator, Fox 8, has learned to speak (and phonetically write) “Yuman” by eavesdropping on a family reading bedtime stories. Paired with beautiful illustrations, you’ll find yourself enthralled as the story takes a dark turn.

Suggested by an elder:

How to Lie with Statistics by Darrell Huff

I was given this book through the Financial Interest Group, a club I’m part of at my school. We are focused on simulating investing in the stock market, and recently had the opportunity to talk with the founder of a successful hedge fund. At the end of the meeting, he gave all club members a copy of his favorite book, How to Lie with Statistics.

Not only is this book informative to aspiring investors, it gives stellar advice on interpreting everyday statistics. Huff makes you question information that’s given to you and challenges you to think beyond the assumptions you’re expected, as a consumer, to make. Statistics is so relevant, you almost forget it was written in the 1950s, until you’re given an example and wonder why the cost of living is so low.

Side note: this book has the potential to make you think differently about all the advertisements you see—it definitely fits in the “changes your world view” category as well.

Published when author was under 35:

Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

If you, like me, were born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, you probably don’t know much about Appalachian/Rust Belt history, nor, more specifically, the culture of white working-class residents of this region. This haunting memoir is author J.D. Vance’s first and only book—Vance is a former marine turned Yale Law School graduate who decided to write about his childhood experiences.

Raw and emotional, Hillbilly Elegy gives voice to a culture and lifestyle that is often overlooked. He explains the cycle of poverty that rooted itself in his family and community, and the mindset it produced in him and others growing up similarly. Most importantly, this memoir transcends political views, providing common discussion ground for Democrats and Republicans. Though Vance was published before the 2016 election, many have cited Elegy as a “reference guide” to Trump’s victory. Whether or not you take it as such, Hillbilly Elegy is an eye-opening testament to, as Vance puts it, “a family and culture in crisis.”

Posted in Summer Book BingoWriters in the Schools