5 Back to School Books Every Student Should Read

The weather is cooling, syllabi are being distributed, and classrooms are filling up. It’s that time of year… back to school. If you are a student in high school, college, or beyond – check out this list of books that will benefit you both in life and in your studies.

The Cine Lens Manual by Jay Holben and Christopher Probst

(Photography / Cinematography & Videography)

If you are a student of cinematography or filmmaking, The Cine Lens Manual is a must-read masterpiece. In fact, it should be a reference used in every film school and camera rental company. Abundant with valuable information, it shares all you need to know about the camera that made cinema its own entity. The cinema lens means everything to filmmaking, so this book should be on your shelf whether you are a student or a current cinematographer, camera operator, or a technical journalist in the industry.

The book is also useful for directors, visual effects artists, camera assistants, animators, historians, rental house technicians, or anyone who is looking to learn more about cinema optics. With over 800 pages filled with essential information and extensive images, its content explores: lessons on cinema lenses, optical design, optomechanical design, the evolution of motion picture formats, history of cinema lenses, and so much more.

Unlike any book that has been published on the subject, this book creates a visual story that is easy to understand and digest. Authors Jay Holben and Christopher Probst are subject matter experts with impressive experience that rivals anyone in the filmmaking industry. Their book is an absolute triumph and will do wonders for any student – or person – interested in filmmaking.

Markham Street by Ronnie Williams

(Social Science / Discrimination & Race Relations)

Markham Street is a captivating book that will make you think more critically about society at large. If you’re a student, one of your goals should be to grow – in mind and in spirit. With this book, you will read about themes like systemic racism, police violence, and more of the social issues that burden society. But beyond that, you’ll read a powerful story about one man’s enduring love for his lost brother, and his devotion to his grieving parents.

This is an essential read for students studying social science and race relations. Author Ronnie Williams uses stunning details to describe the misery and debasement of his black community, and memories of the night his brother, Marvin, died. Marvin was a prodigy who graduated from high school when he was just 15 years old. He desperately attempted to escape the poverty of field labor. He joined the United States Navy, and later the Army. He eventually became a well-respected US Paratrooper.

When he was just 20 years old, he was unlawfully arrested on Markham Street and beaten to death by police. His death is a horrific reminder of the racism that still plagues our world – and reminds us how important it is to acknowledge its presence and abolish it in the present and future. This book is influential on many levels – and should be on every student’s reading list. I highly recommend it to all who are interested in looking deep into our past to address the social issues we face today.

Words and Wonder: A Guide to Becoming a Creative Writer by Dana De Greff

(Language Arts & Disciplines / Composition & Creative Writing)

Are you studying English and creative writing? Are you an aspiring writer with a story to tell? If this is the case, you absolutely must read Dana De Greff’s new book. Words and Wonder is a refreshing book for aspiring writers that shares some of the most important tools to foster a more creative life.

I recommend this practical guide to every emerging writer. De Greff is open, honest, and relatable. In the book, she shares compelling advice so you can enter and live a writerly life. She uses her own varied experiences as an editor, journalist, instructor, and published author to teach you how to gain a better understanding of your own writing practices.

This book offers insight into a profession that requires thought, patience, and a whole lot of creativity. It covers topics like – finding the time to write, discovering inspiration, getting published, and more. In addition, the book shares fun hacks to help you enter that “flow state”.

De Greff reminds all of her readers that, “No matter how or when or why you write, the words can only come from you, and only you can get them out of your head and onto the page.”

As a writer myself, these words really hit home. You should always learn from the best, and this book provides a wonderful opportunity for aspiring writers to gain insight from an established and disciplined writer. Get your copy and learn how to best produce material for publication and become the writer you are meant to be!

You can follow the author on Instagram and learn more on her website.

Broken Spirit: Let It Go So You Can Grow by Maryam Bey

(Biography / Education)

Broken Spirit is a breathtaking book that I recommend for anyone studying Education Policy. Initially, Maryam Bey’s book compares the association between miseducation and lack of education with mass incarceration. She then discusses how education inequality in urban schools is directly correlated with the mass incarceration of Black and Hispanic youth.

Seeking action, this book shares how an educational environment must be conducive to students and their specific stages of development. Beyond that, Bey also emphasizes the importance of mental health. Our country is facing numerous epidemics, but few are as frightening as the mental health epidemic that is affecting people of all ages – especially our youth. Bey highlights how mental health awareness and treatment is essential for holistic healing, and I couldn’t agree more.

Many students, especially those of color, struggle with anxiety, depression, and even Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The book seeks to address these fundamental issues and spark change within our educational system.

I thought this book was beautifully written. It was as elegant as it was empowering. If you are a student seeking to discover your greatness and purpose in life, I highly recommend this book.  

The Film Mechanic Screenwriting Workbook by Deri Tyton

(Performing Arts / Screenwriting)

Are you a creative writing student looking to learn more about screenwriting? Start with this book. The Film Mechanic offers an engaging and entertaining approach to teach those who are at the beginning or middle levels of their screenwriting journeys.

Author Deri Tyton is an award-winning filmmaker and screenwriter, and his book will help you learn the ins and outs of screenwriting. His workbook will educate and empower you to thrive throughout the entire process of screenwriting. It can be easy to feel trapped and stuck during the writing process. Our creative juices can only take us so far. At the end of the day, it’s important to have expert advice and guidance that will help you take your writing to the next level.

So, if you are a student or at the early phases of your career, this insightful book will help you develop your story with expertise and attract investors, directors, and actors to your screenplay. The development process can be one of the hardest parts about writing, and this book will help you navigate through it.

If you’d like to learn more about Deri Tyton and his work, you can visit his website here.

Interested in more back-to-school reads? Leave a comment below with the genre and age range and we will follow up with additional titles for you to read! Thank you for being a part of our reading community.

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