Books to Read While School is Closed


Paxton Coley, Managing Editor

VBCPS has moved to virtual learning days until at least March 27 in order to slow the spreading of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Social gatherings have also been limited in regards to public health and safety, with Governor Ralph Northam limiting gatherings of 10 people or more. While coming up with things to do during this time of social distancing may be difficult, hopefully, you can stay entertained with this list of books, recommended by the librarians and English teachers of Kempsville High School.

The Virginia Beach Public Library, while closed until further notice, has opened up its digital catalog to VBCPS students. To access this library, go to, browse for something to read, listen to, or watch, and when prompted for a library card or account number, enter: “S” and then, without spaces, your VBCPS Student ID number (ex: S123456). Use this for the login, and then insert your date of birth in MMDD format (ex: 0101 = Jan. 1) for the password or PIN. The number of virtual check-outs have also been increased from 6 items a month to 8 from Hoopla and 10, rather than 5, from Overdrive. The digital library is accessible here.

Here are some of the favorite picks of Mrs. Lori Todd, KHS librarian and webmaster.

“‘The Ten Thousand Doors of January’ by Alix Harrow: This new release blew me away; the writing was perfect and the story was unique and extremely interesting. This book travels all around the globe, so it would be perfect for being stuck at home. I highly recommend this novel and hope they turn it into a Netflix series or movie.”

“‘The Folk of the Air’ series by Holly Black: It is unusual when every book in a series is fantastic,

but each of these three books were ones that I could not put down. The characters were so vivid, and the plot is action-packed. Each of these three books are so entertaining that they will distract you from being stuck at home!”

“‘The Fountains of Silence’ by Ruta Sepetys: Right now, we are all being faced with a scary situation that we really have no control of; I am hopeful that this will all be over in a few months. What is eye-opening to think about though is that the hardships we are facing now are nothing compared to what people have gone through in the past. In ‘The Fountains of Silence,’ you will be transported to Spain under Franco’s rule. Life was beyond tough and every day brought new hurdles to jump over. This novel will give you an appreciation for life as we know it.”

“‘In Other Lands’ by Sarah Rees Brennan: If you love rooting for the underdog, this book is the one for you. It’s rare that a book makes me laugh out loud, but ‘In Other Lands’ did just that. The main character, Elliott, is quirky and by the end of the novel, you will wish he was one of your real friends.”

“‘Sadie’ by Courtney Summers: When I read this book, I was not expecting to be blown away, but I was. Sadie is a sit on the edge of your seat, page-turner of a book! Explore an unsolved mystery of the disappearance of a girl who grew up in foster care. What is different about this book is that it is told in podcast form. This is a quick read that is highly interesting.”

Ms. Claudia Ockert, Honors English 10 and AP Research teacher, recommended some of the books on her to-read list:

“Half of a Yellow Sun” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
“The Library Book” by Susan Orlean
“Black Mamba Boy” by Nadifa Mohamed
“Little Fires Everywhere” by Celeste Ng
“Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens.

“I’m currently reading ‘The Water Dancer’ by Ta-Nehisi Coates,” Ockert said.

“I’m actually really glad I’m finally getting some time to sit down and just read.”


Some of the favorites of Mrs. Mary “Bou Bou” Boubouheropoulos, who teaches public speaking and

Intercultural Communications, include “How Not to Die” and “How Not to Diet,” by Dr. Michael Greger.

“It is no secret among those who know me that I am a nutrition-science junkie,” said Bou Bou. “I don’t believe in fad science, and when it comes to nutrition, I pride myself on only reading information published by the top physicians and researchers in the world. I am all about the credibility of the work I read — a self-proclaimed food science snob! My daughter is a clinical dietitian for Sentara, so I am continually inspired to eat well and make good choices for my long-term health.”

1 & 2. “How Not to Die” and “How Not to Diet”
by Dr. Michael Greger, MD, FACLM

These books examine scientifically proven foods that help prevent and/or reverse major diseases that plague Americans: heart disease, Type 2 Diabetes, autoimmune conditions, high blood pressure, etc. It is a wealth of knowledge and carefully based on credible science. It contains over 5,000 studies.

“Undo It”
by Dr. Dean Ornish, MD
This book is a look at how people can prevent and reverse heart disease and other systemic diseases through a diet, exercise, stress reduction, and focusing on relationships. It is fascinating and even inspired the new Dean Ornish Center at Sentara Hospital in Norfolk.

“Your Body in Balance”
By Dr. Neal Barnard, MD, FACC
This book is perfect for people suffering from health issues due to hormonal imbalance. I love Dr. Barnard’s work–he leads the Physicians’ Committee for Responsible Medicine in Washington, D.C. He is one of the most prominent physicians in the world of nutrition.

She is also currently reading a book recommended to her by a student, Sara Riley Kight: “Six of Crows” by Leigh Bardugo.

“It is the antithesis of what I normally read, but I told her I would give it a try,” Bou Bou said. “It is a fantasy book made up of complex characters in a setting that resembles some European 17th-century kingdom. So far, I am enjoying its distractions from the news of the day.”

Mrs. Charlotte Jenkins, EBA Honors English 10 and AP English 12 teacher, also had some recommendations.

“I am about to finish (haven’t been able to put it down since Thursday) ‘The Round House’ by Louise Erdrich,” Jenkins said. “Carter Smith and Bianca Palmer Smith chose to read it for their independent novels, and since I have a few copies in my room and their writing was so good about it, I chose to read it too.”

The book is set in the 1980s, and about how a Native American boy living on what is left of tribal land in North Dakota deals with the aftermath of his mother’s rape. He and his father, a judge, try to seek justice for this crime.

“It is a mystery throughout, a page-turner, that opens your eyes not only to some of the ancient Native American customs and traditions but more importantly, it allows you to see a family like this try to continue an existence and a family heritage in a world where they have lost much more than just their land,” Jenkins described it. “Truly eye-opening.”

This list brings together a plethora of books that cover multiple genres and subjects. They can be enjoyed by anyone and hopefully provide something to do in the coming days of social distancing.