We are all nourished and transformed, for good or ill, by what we read. The words and sentences we read, and the ideas, experiences, and images they convey are a food for the soul and help determine who we are, what we think and feel, and how we will act in the world. High school students are especially affected by what they read.
The world today is awash with books in print, almost two million different titles, and more being published every day. We need to find our way amidst this abundance and guide our high school students to those books that will foster their healthy development as human beings. We need to find books that will truly, inform, educate, instruct, guide and inspire.
Books for the Journey: A Guide to the World of Reading is a valuable tool in this daunting task. It is a comprehensive reading guide meant especially for high school adolescents. According to Billy Collins, former poet laureate of the United States, it is “the only reading guide you will ever need.”
Compiled and edited by three Waldorf educators who solicited suggestions from a number of Waldorf schools in the United States and Canada, Books for the Journey is a treasure trove of advice useful for the adult as well as the high school student. The books recommended are divided into categories. The first includes works of Drama, Mythology, Poetry, and Sacred Writing.” The other categories are “Fiction,” “Biography and History,” and “Nonfiction.” A final chapter entitled “Seniors Look Back” lists books recommended by Waldorf high school seniors as especially helpful in their growing up. A two- or three-sentence comment accompanies each of the roughly 1500 works listed.
Books for the Journey is itself a book worth reading. It provides an inspiring overview of the cultural wealth the human mind has created and preserved in print. It is a volume that would enrich every school and home library.
Reviewed by Ronald E. Koetzsch