The Character Movement

20 Books To Jumpstart Your Spring Reading

The turning of seasons from the sleepy cold of winter to the sunshine, warmth and possibility of spring means many things to Midwesterners. For many of us, it reintroduces the season of a quick bike trip to a favorite local brewery or food truck, a Sunday afternoon drive with the windows rolled down and the soundtrack of our adolescence playing in the background and, of course,the return of the much beloved grill days!

Whether it’s spending time outside, preparing garden beds or just enjoying the extra hours of sunlight with our families, one thing that many of us around Youth Frontiers agree on is that springtime in the Midwest is also a great time to catch up on some reading. Taking time out and creating space in your life to indulge in a great book is a fantastic way to model healthy habits for our kids and also provides some much needed and deserved self-care. Whether it’s on a lazy Saturday camped outside on a blanket with some delicious snacks or holed up inside on a rainy, quiet morning, the season of spring is the perfect time to grab a new book or an old favorite and escape, for a moment, into a world unlike your own.

Here is a list of some of our tried and true favorites along with some of the new books we love to get lost in. Enjoy!

All The Light We Cannot See,” by Anthony Doerr – A New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.

Americanah,” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – A powerful, tender story of race, love and identity.

Animal Vegetable Miracle,” by Barbara Kingsolver – An enthralling narrative that will open your eyes in a hundred new ways to an old truth: You are what you eat.

The Bassoon King,” by Rainn Wilson – Actor and creator of the website and media company, SoulPancake tells his own story and explains how he developed his incredibly unique sense of humor and outlook on life.

Big Magic,” by Elizabeth Gilbert – This beloved author digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity.

The Bohemian Flats,” by Mary Relindes Ellis – From a nineteenth-century German farm to the thriving, wildly diverse immigrant village below Minneapolis on the Mississippi to the European front in World War I and returning to twentieth-century America — this is a story that takes its reader to the far reaches of human experience and the depths of the human heart.

Cleopatra: A Life,” by Stacy Schiff – Above all else, Cleopatra was a shrewd strategist and an ingenious negotiator. Famous long before she was notorious, Cleopatra has gone down in history for all the wrong reasons.

Creativity, Inc.,” by Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace – A manual for anyone who strives for originality, and the first-ever, all-access trip into the nerve center of Pixar Animation — into the meetings, postmortems and “Braintrust” sessions where some of the most successful films in history are made.

The Empire Striketh Back,” by Ian Doescher – A merry, Shakespearean reimagining of George Lucas’s enduring classic.

The Hundred-Foot Journey,” by Richard C. Morais – A charming novel about family, nationality and the mysteries of good taste.

The Invisible Thread,” by Laura Schroff and Alex Tresniowski – The true story of the life-long friendship between a busy sales executive and a disadvantaged young boy and how both of their lives were changed by what began as one small act of kindness.

Jane Eyre,” by Charlotte Brontë – A novel of intense power and intrigue, with its depiction of a woman’s quest for freedom.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” by Marie Kondo – With detailed guidance for determining which items in your house “spark joy” (and which don’t), this international bestseller featuring Tokyo’s newest lifestyle phenomenon will help you clear your clutter and enjoy the unique magic of a tidy home — and the calm, motivated mindset it can inspire.

The Marriage of True Minds,” by Stephen Evans – Set in Minneapolis, a sweet exploration of modern love, undying idealism and one cracked partnership that can’t be sundered.

Rising Strong,” by Brene’ Brown – A conversation on courage, vulnerability, shame and worthiness. Rising strong after a fall is how we cultivate wholeheartedness. “It’s the process,” Brown writes, “that teaches us the most about who we are.”

A Tale for the Time Being,” by Ruth Ozeki – A brilliantly inventive, beguiling story of our shared humanity and the search for home.

Tuesdays With Morrie,” by Mitch Albom – A contemporary classic that looks at how someone older, patient and wise, who understood the writer when he was young and searching, helped him see the world as a more profound place, gave him sound advice to help him make his way through it.

Wonder,” by R. J. Palacio – The story of August Pullman, a child born with a facial difference that, up until now, prevented him from attending mainstream school. Written from multiple perspectives, the stories converge in a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance.

The Year of Yes,” by Shonda Rhimes – This poignant, intimate and hilarious memoir from Shonda Rhimes, the creator of “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal,” and “How to Get Away With Murder,” reveals how her life shifted when she learned to explore, empower, applaud and love her truest self.

Yes Please,” by Amy Poehler – In her first book, one of our most beloved funny folk, Amy Poehler, delivers a smart, pointed, and ultimately inspirational read.


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