winter reading 2020

Winter Break Reading, 2020 edition

While most of the time, we’re looking forward to the winter part of our winter reading break, this year it’s really more about the break. This year, a lot of us leaned into the escape, the support, and the love that we get from books. We hope you are too.

This year we took a little different tack on our reading roundup. We asked some of your favorite professional development coordinators to take their current reads and assemble what we’re calling “bookzibits”. They’re based on Rachel Kloos & Lisa Highfill’s #BookBento assignment.

For each book, the reader assembled some items they feel are related to the story, or connect with where they are in this beautiful magical dumpster fire of a year.

Theydies and gentlethems, without further ado:

2020 UVM Tarrant Institute Winter Break Reading

Jeanie Phillips

“Tea is all about connection in this book. The Kellner family regularly gathers around pots of tea: Persian tea with hel (cardamom pods), Moroccan Mint tea, and all sorts of other brews from Rose City Teas. Darius and his friend Chip sip tea while they study. And Darius has many pleasant memories of the tea he shared with his family and friends in Iran.

I think of tea as the medium through which Darius shows his love, and as a tea lover myself, this book inspired me to drink more tea!”

Emily Hoyler

“It all started during a pandemic summer when one of my kids had an itchy bug bite and we had run out of Afterbite. I mixed together some baking soda, water, and a couple of drops of tea tree oil. Instant relief! I began to wonder what other home remedies were at my fingertips.

Around the same time, we decided to stop mowing the majority of our yard. As the summer bloomed, the now-field was covered in wildflowers: yarrow, St. John’s Wort, chicory, evening primrose, fleabane..and many more. (How did I know? I used an app called Seek by iNaturalist to identify many, many of the plant friends who live near me).”

Robin Merritt

“My son’s violin: As Langston grapples with loss, bullying, and city life, he misses the red dirt of Alabama, his grandma’s home cooking, and the slow-paced culture of the rural south. Yet with a new world at his fingertips, opportunity for knowledge awaits. His path seems like it comes with some obstacles. I’m excited to see where it leads.”

Life LeGeros

Broken Places is about how Okorafor became a writer. She has written for youth and adults, sci-fi and fantasy, books and comics. Everything I’ve read by her is pure magic.”

Rachel Mark

“I adore this book series by Louise Penny. This winter, I’m reading Book 12, A Great Reckoning.  The protagonist might like listening to my father’s old jazz collection — on vinyl, of course.”

Scott Thompson

“The author, Nic Stone, was inspired to write this book for many reasons. One being that in high school she didn’t get to read about many characters that resemble her. She didn’t want that experience for other African-American students. When we look into a mirror we see our reflection. What if that reflection was not you, and no one like you. How would you feel?”

Susan Hennessey

“The hippocampus acts as a short-term information store but fills up quickly each day: a USB drive.”

Audrey Homan

“Winter’s a great time for swapping tires, conditioning bearings, cleaning the chain (srsly: clean your chain), and generally love on yr bikes!

(Also, could someone remind me to clean the basement *before* I do a photoshoot next time?)”




Well, there you have it. That’s our winter reading 2020!

We would LOVE to see your own #BookBento or bookzhibit! And to get you started, here’s a quick guide to using Thinglink.

If we can provide any of y’all educators some of the love and support we got from books this year, please don’t hesitate to ask.

We’ll be back… after the break*.





*Seriously, we’re on hiatus Dec 16 – January 3rd.


What do you think?