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  • Writer's pictureRaine Paul

Dare to Care Summer Reading List


summer reading

Ah, summertime. As you prepare for road trips, relaxing by the lake, stay-cations, and whatever else summer has in store for you, don’t forget to stock-up on your reading materials. The Dare to Care team has compiled a list with some of our favourite books that helped us grow as coaches, sports leaders, and people. This summer we encourage you not only to dive into the water for a refreshing swim, but also to dive into a great book. So, kick-back, relax and enjoy these amazing recommendations!


Author: Michael Phelps

Recommended by: Lisa Dixon-Wells (Executive Director & Facilitator, Dare to Care)

“I have been a swimmer my whole life and in love with the sport for as long as I can remember. This book gave me a glimpse into the life of a key figure not only in the sport of swimming, but sport period. As the most decorated Olympian of all time (28 medals, including 23 Gold), it is no secret that Michael Phelps had his personal demons. In this candid memoir, Phelps talks openly about his battle with Attention Deficit Disorder, family turmoil, and the challenges that come from being thrust into the limelight. This book reminded me that we never know what is going on "below the surface" in someone's life and the importance to ALWAYS treat others with kindness, respect and empathy.”

Author: Dr. Alan Downs

Recommended by: Mathieu Constantin (Sports Program Director & Facilitator, Dare to Care)

“I read this book six years ago, around the time I came out, and it truly changed/saved my life. The Velvet Rage delves into the psychological struggles of gay men; exploring the impact of societal expectations and internalized shame. This book helped me understand so many things about growing up gay in a culture where heterosexuality is normalized, if not encouraged. Even though “The Velvet Rage" was written to support gay men, I think everyone should read it as it sheds light on the struggles gay men face and helps create a better understanding of a more inclusive world for everyone.”

Author: Christine Yu

Recommended by: Raine Paul (Marketing and Community Engagement Lead & Facilitator, Dare to Care)

“I believe this book is a MUST READ for all coaches working with female athletes and teams; whether that be at a grassroots, rec or high performance level. As a coach who has worked with female teams for more than 10 years (in addition to more than 25 years of personal experience as a female athlete), this book reframed the way I approach coaching female teams. Through various scientifically backed chapters, Christine Yu highlights the gender data gap in sports science, explores key issues facing female athletes today, and prompts readers to consider how we can better support and uplift female athletes in every stage of life.”

Author: Dr. Edward Hallowell & Dr. Dr. John Ratey

Recommended By: Jessica Coomber (Marketing Coordinator, Dare to Care)

“This book offers a fresh perspective of hope and optimism for children and adults facing the challenges of ADHD. It redefines the narrative, showing that these struggles don't have to be painful obstacles but rather opportunities for positive growth and a brighter future.”

Author: Paulo Coelho

Recommended by: Freya Schmidt (Facilitator, Dare to Care)

“I recommend this book because it encapsulates the pursuit of a dream alongside many trials, tribulations, and learnings. It inspires resilience and getting to know ourselves within the world around us to strive towards greatness! It is also a book that can be picked up multiple times throughout life with learnings/messages resonating more or differently than the last time.”

Author: Dr. Bruce D. Perry

Recommended by: Hollen Wells (Facilitator, Dare to Care)

“This book shares the harrowing tales of clients that Dr. Bruce Perry has worked with; helping to shape the practice he has today which recognizes each person as having unique experiences that must be treated uniquely. This book emphasizes the effects of childhood trauma and the implications it has on brain development and subsequent life outcomes. I read this book when I first started my psychology degree and have since read it a handful of times. During my most recent reading of the book I was amazed at how much I continued to learn from it. This book continues to help me better understand the effects of trauma, the importance of promoting resilience, and that we must practice compassion to understand that others may have a story/perspective we are not aware of.”

Author: Fredrik Backman

Recommended by: Dr. Julie Booke (Facilitator, Dare to Care)

“A gripping story that made me sad, scared, and surprised by the actions of various characters. The book is set in a small town and focuses on a hockey team, the decisions people make, how people treat each other, and the impact of these behaviours. This book bravely examines sport culture and reminds readers that doing the right thing, especially when it goes against the majority, takes a great deal of courage.”

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