Ron Wooden, principal, Havre de Grace Elementary School
“Balcony People” by Joyce Heatherley
An inspirational memoir, it speaks of the people in your life who have impacted you and looked out for you along the way. I’ve had many moments of silence lately, time to reflect on what’s happening in our society because of COVID-19 and to count my blessings and be reminded of those balcony people who have taught, pushed and challenged me along the way while providing me with the wisdom and insight that I may not necessarily have had.
Dr. Austin Hill, director for strategic partnerships, Harford Community College
“Letters to a Young Brother” by Hill Harper
I’ve just transitioned to an executive-level job, and, being a young African American male, I need to remember how to stay focused while moving forward in uncharted waters. It’s those constant words of affirmation, to help build a foundation for life, that the book provides. I read it in 2006 before going off to college, and I just re-read the book because, as a college administrator and someone who wants to start a family, I have a new level of responsibility to provide for others and stay grounded so they can benefit from my vision.
Mary Hastler, CEO, Harford County Public Library
“Island of Sea Women” by Lisa See
It’s a terrific read about these incredibly strong women who are deep sea divers on the island of Jeju [in South Korea] during the 1930s and 1940s. Essentially, they dive for food, without any equipment; their bodies take a terrible beating, but it’s critical to their culture that they do it. It’s an amazing and empowering story [of historical fiction] about the relationships between the women working to support their village and how, in times of crisis, they look for friendships that are sustainable and learn just who steps forward and who disappears. That’s very relatable right now. It deals with the leadership skills the women need to survive, just like we’re looking for leadership. Boy, are we looking for leadership.