What’s Your Teacher’s Favorite Book?


Abiagael Mc Nelis, Assistant Editor

Arguably, someone’s favorite book, or any form of media, can give an abundance of insight about an individual’s character. Is the book fiction or nonfiction? Does this person like the excitement of indulging in fantasy or are they fascinated by the world around them? In an attempt to get a deeper understanding of how some of our staff spend their free time, they were asked, “what is your favorite book?” Within this question, I was able to learn a lot more than just their favorite book. 


A self proclaimed avid reader at Sultana High School is professor and teacher, Tynelle Olivas-Davis. Olivas currently teaches Creative Writing, English III, Advanced Placement (AP) English Language and Composition, English 101, and English 104. Olivas indulges in about “…50 novels and biographies [every] year”. Genre wise, Olivas leans towards fantasy and dystopia, noting books like Lord of The Rings by Jennifer Hutchinson and The Handmaid’s Tale by Margrat Atwood. With reluctance to claim a single piece of literature as her favorite, Olivas says it would be Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare. Olivas says that the play’s greatness comes from, “…the themes, literary devices, and characters reflect a rich tapestry of complex emotions and ideas that showcase the nuances of human experience.” Olivas says that the book is the reason she became an English teacher. 

Coach and teacher, Kent Baker, considers himself as more of a listener of books. Baker currently teaches AP Psychology, AP Government, and Government. Baker started at Sultana as a French teacher, and slowly made his way through Social Sciences. Baker says he indulges in mostly non-fiction literature, books that are “relative to things I teach”. Baker noted he particularly enjoyed reading books about human psychology and, “why people do the things they do”. Baker says his favorite book is Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. Baker notes the storyline that includes social injustices and “moral dilemmas.” Baker’s profession reflects his insight on the human condition, while reflecting on the story’s richness he states, “do we try to become a better person or stay the person that we are.”


Spanish and French teacher Mrs Crews, also known as Senora Crews, considers herself a “book dragon.” Senora Crews has been a world languages teacher for twenty two years here at SHS. Crews reads about 100 books a year. Crews has a particular interest in dystopian literature, she has trouble narrowing down her favorite to one novel, but if she had to decide she would choose, Gregor The Overlander by Suzanna Collins. The plot depicts a I came, I saw, I conquered, story revolved around a teenage boy. Crews notes that she found, “reading Jane Eyre was much easier as [she] started learning French.” 


Current AP Statistics and Statistics teacher on campus, Kristi Sedlak describes herself as a “reader”, especially when she discovers a read she “can’t put down.” Sedlak has been teaching at SHS for seventeen years. Sedlak says her preferred novel is fiction, nothing books like, 1984 by George Orwell, Fried Green Tomatoes by Fannie Flagg blank, the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, the Twilight series by Stephie Meyer, and the Bridgerton series by Julia Quinn. Sedlak says that her favorite book is The Handmaid Tale by Margaret Atwood. Sedlak says that although it is fiction, the book “…shows how quickly a country can devolve.” Sedlak says the novel “underscores how people can use religion to justify mistreatment of those who are different [from] themselves or who hold different beliefs.” Sedlak finds it crucial that students read this novel, “the next generation of young adults, future leaders, understand how dangerous people in power can be and how precarious our government is,” Sedlak said. 

Within each response to a simple question, was an emotionally and intellectually complex response. This question allowed me to uncover aspects of these individuals’ lives that would have otherwise gone unnoticed.