BHP Team


“So many books, so little time.”

—Frank Zappa (and BHP teachers everywhere)

This is the moment you’ve been waiting for: Summer! Now you can catch up on some much-deserved rest, relaxation, and brain food. Haven’t had time to maintain your summer reading wish-list? BHP’s got your back. Dive into this teacher-curated list of BHP-oriented (or just darn good) reads.

Don’t forget to share your thoughts with the BHP Book Club on Yammer (where you can also share the books you love and recommend).


summer-reading-list-2-timefulness Timefulness: How Thinking Like a Geologist Can Help Save the World, by Marcia Bjornerud

Time and scale mean something different when you’re a geologist. If we all think like one, Bjornerud argues, we’ll make decisions that result in a more sustainable future for our Earth.

summer-reading-list-3-last-whalers The Last Whalers: Three Years in the Far Pacific with a Courageous Tribe and a Vanishing Way of Life, by Doug Bock Clark

The Lamaleran are a tribe of 1,500 and are the last subsistence whalers. Their story of a culture on the brink is told by Clark, who lived with the tribe for three years. An emotional and human piece.

summer-reading-list-4-blueprint Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society, by Nicholas A. Christakis

Our genes molded our evolutionary place as the species that acts with love and cooperation, but historically, destroys one another with violence. Despite this history, argues Christakis, we cannot escape the goodness blueprint gene inside of us.

summer-reading-list-5-eager Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter, by Ben Goldfarb

America, its landscape, rivers, and ecology have been curated by none other than… beavers, argues Goldfarb. In this humorously told story, the author digs into the history and lives of the ultimate American engineers, and proves their value while imploring us to protect them.

summer-reading-list-6-homegoing Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi

This award-winning novel tells the tale of two half-sisters who were separated: One was forced into slavery; the other married a slave owner. As their divergent stories become the stories of their descendants, we are able to clearly see the generational impacts of slavery.

summer-reading-list-7-rocket-girls Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Marsby Nathalia Holt

In the 1940s, ‘50s, and ‘60s, the secret sauce for the Jet Propulsion Lab in California was women. This book honors the work of the talented female scientists who crunched the numbers as human “computers” and made dreams of space a reality.

summer-reading-list-8-end-of-ice The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption, by Dahr Jamail

On a quest to learn about how we will deal with the changing environment of our planet, Jamail travels across the world, seeing first-hand and documenting the consequences to nature and humans, as the ice melts.

summer-reading-list-9-losing-nobel Losing the Nobel Prize, by Brian Keating

Yep, that’s BHP friend, Brian Keating! Inventor of the “most powerful telescope ever made,” Keating tells the story of his brush with the Nobel Prize, and ultimately argues the award might hamper progress more than propel it.

summer-reading-list-10-anthropocene The Human Planet: How We Created the Anthropocene, by Simon L. Lewis and Mark A. Maslin

From the editorial notes on Amazon.com: “Tracing our environmental impacts through time, scientists Simon Lewis and Mark Maslin reveal a new view of human history and a new outlook for the future of humanity in the unstable world we have created.”

summer-reading-list-11-chrysalis Chrysalis: Maria Sibylla Merian and the Secrets of Metamorphosis, by Kim Todd

This is the story of a 50-year-old Dutch woman, who 400 hundred years ago embarked on a journey across the ocean to study insects in their natural environments. Her research on metamorphosis was revolutionary for its time and is still used today.

summer-reading-list-12-dark-matter Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs: The Astounding Interconnectedness of the Universe, by Lisa Randall

Randall proposes it was dark matter that killed the dinosaurs. The story of what happened between the origins of a comet and its cataclysmic collision with Earth, which killed off the dinosaur and many other species as well, is a beautifully crafted description of life, the cosmos, and Earth.

10085_UCP_Wineburg_cover_FIN.indd Why Learn History (When It’s Already on Your Phone), by Sam Wineberg

Calling all history teachers! This one is for you. With technology to give us all the answers just a pocket away, how can we cultivate learners who reason, think critically, and escape historical ignorance? Wineberg has some ideas.

3 thoughts on “Big History 2019 Summer Reading List

  1. I know Yuval Noah Harari has been on BHP Summer list before but I must add a suggestion for his latest “21 Lessons for the 21st Century.” It is enough of a stand-alone book so it is not necessary to read Sapiens and Deus. His descriptions of the ways the future will unfold based on what technology is telling us right now are right on. I feel it would be most appropriate for later high school or college students. It is simply excellent.

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