I’d like to think that, if you looked up the word “nourish” in the dictionary, you would find that the definition is “reading.”

This has been on my mind recently, since Colorado Academy Third Graders are currently learning about how to use a dictionary in their library classes. Inspired by their enthusiasm for looking up word definitions, I tested my aspiration about the word nourish and discovered that I was not exactly right or exactly wrong about its relationship to reading.

According to the American Heritage Student Dictionary (Houghton Mifflin, 2003), nourish is defined as:

  1. To provide (a living thing) with the food or other substances necessary for life and growth
  2. To promote the growth or development of; sustain
  3. To keep alive, harbor

Studying the three-part definition, it becomes impossible not to see the connection between the words nourish and reading. The things we learn, through fiction and nonfiction, are necessary for life and growth. With every sentence, page, and chapter we read, we contribute to our own personal growth and development. Also, while the act of reading can be a safe harbor or shelter, the places we go and people we meet while reading send us out into the world and enhance our own humanity.

Following are titles that have been nourishing students at Colorado Academy during the first trimester of the school year:

Lower School titles

  • Change Sings: a children’s anthem, by Amanda Gorman and Loren Long
  • Kid Legends biography series, by David Stabler and various authors
  • When You Trap a Tiger, by Tae Keller
  • Stand Up, Yumi Chung! by Jessica Kim
  • Chez Bob, by Bob Shea
  • Kid Chef Junior Bakes: my first kids’ baking book, by Charity Mathews
  • Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise, by Dan Gemeinhart

Middle School titles

  • Lety Out Loud, by Angela Cervantes
  • The Brave, by James Bird
  • Notable Native People: 50 Indigenous Leaders, Dreamers, and Changemakers from Past and Present, by Adrienne Keene
  • Tweet Cute, by Emma Lord
  • Candidly Cline, by Kathryn Ormsbee
  • The Best At It, by Maulik Pancholy

Upper School titles

  • We are Inevitable, by Gayle Forman
  • Call Us What We Carry, by Amanda Gorman
  • You Should See Me in a Crown, by Leah Johnson
  • I Love You So Mochi, by Sarah Kuhn
  • When We Make It, by Elisabet Velasquez