28 book recommendations

From a post last year for Getting Smart that I had done.

Here are some books (in alphabetical order) that I recommend for educators. Some of these I have come across over the years on my own and some of them have made their way to my pile of books after joining in Twitter chats.

  1. A Passion for Kindness by Tamara Letter. A book focused on bringing more kindness into the world. Tamara shares personal experiences and highlights the ideas of other educators and offers kindness cultivators and reflective questions to guide educators along the way to more kindness.
  2. Balance Like a  Pirate by Jessica Cabeen, Jessica Johnson and Sarah Johnson. In this book, the authors share the importance of finding balance in our lives as educators and share their personal strategies for doing so. Finding balance is a challenge and this book can definitely help.
  3. Better Together by Tom Vander Ark and Lydia Dobyns explores how we can bring about change in our schools to promote more personalized learning for students. With a focus on the power of collaboration and networks, the authors explore what is working in schools throughout the United States and how we can prepare for the future. Coming soon is Tom’s newest book, Power of Place by Tom Vander Ark, Emily Liebtag, and Nate McClennen.
  4. Bold School by Weston Kieschnick is the book to read for getting started with blended learning by mixing old school teaching methods with technology. Bold School is full of strategies and motivations, personal anecdotes, and humorous references to help educators get started.
  5. Culturize by Jimmy Casas is a book that will inspire educators to focus on “every student every day whatever it takes” in order to bring about amazing changes for student learning. In Culturize, Casas shares the four core principles for school success: Be a champion for students, expect excellence, carry the banner for the school, and be a merchant of hope.
  6. Daring Greatly by Brené Brown is a book for every educator to learn how to be comfortable with vulnerability. Inspiring to read, this book offers stories that will lead you to reflect on your personal and professional life and it does so in a way that inspires, supports, pushes and even entertains.
  7. Divergent EDU by Mandy Froehlich explores the hierarchy of needs for innovation and divergent thinking that she developed. Through the hierarchy, schools can work to bring about needed change and have the right support to do do. One of the best features of the book is the way that Mandy narrates and shows vulnerability and models that power of being reflective in our practice.
  8. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink explores the puzzle of motivation. Through his research, Pink uncovers the key elements of autonomy, mastery, and purpose and how they connect with motivation.
  9. Education Write Now Volume 3: Solutions to Common Challenges in Your School or Classroom is a collaborative book written by ten educator authors. The book is focused on different challenges faced in education such as sustaining joy, teaching in isolation, developing perseverance, connecting with students and more. Proceeds from this book go to the Will to Live Foundation which is dedicated to preventing teen suicide
  10. For White Folks Who Teach In The Hood: Reality Pedagogy And Urban Education by Christopher Emdin explores “reality pedagogy” and how to implement culturally responsive practices in our classrooms. Emdin shares his personal experiences with teaching in urban schools and the effects of inequality on students of color.
  11. It’s OK to Say They: Tips for Educators by Christy Whittlesey is full of resources for educators to support transgender and nonbinary students. The book includes first-person narratives and offers strategies for educators and even a dictionary of relevant terms.
  12. The Innovator’s Mindset by George Couros is focused on empowering educators to bring about change in their classrooms by taking some risks, experiencing failures, and providing students with more opportunities to lead and create.
  13. Kids These Days: A Game Plan for (Re)Connecting with Those We Teach, Lead, & Love by Dr. Jody Carrington is a book that shares Dr. Carrington’s research and personal experiences working with students and families. The book emphasizes the importance of connections and building relationships so we can best serve our students.
  14. LAUNCH by A.J. Juliani and John Spencer is about empowering students through design thinking. The authors take you through the steps of the LAUNCH cycle, which is very helpful for educators interested in trying design thinking or genius hour projects. Full of visuals, templates, lesson plans, and a LAUNCH notebook.
  15. Learner-Centered Innovation by Katie Martin explores how to bring about change to schools, to promote more authentic learning experiences for students, and what we can do to place students in the lead more. Learn more about Katie’s book in the Smart Review.
  16. Learning Transformed by Eric Sheninger Thomas C. Murray identifies 8 keys to transform schools and learning to best prepare our students for the future. Read more about Learning Transformed in the Smart Review.
  17. Lost at School by Ross W. Greene will help educators to better understand and work with students and challenging behaviors in the classroom. Through Greene’s Collaborative and Proactive Solutions (CPS) Model and from the narrative and stories shared in the book, the importance of building relationships resonates throughout.
  18. Personal and Authentic by Tom Murray provides personal stories from Tom as well as more than 50 educator vignettes shared in “Make it Stick” and “In Practice” sections. Murray shares his “Personal & Authentic Framework” to empower educators to create more authentic learning experiences in our classrooms.
  19. Snapshot in Education 2019 from Sarah-Jane Thomas and EduMatch Publishing is a collaborative book with 27 chapters written by educators from around the world. Topics include SEL, PBL, preparing for the future, self-care, teaching practices and more.
  20. Start with Why by Simon Sinek profiles innovative companies that start by asking the question of why and how that leads to success. For anyone looking to become more of a leader, it will push your thinking and is applicable to any area, especially education.
  21. Stillness is the Key by Ryan Holiday focuses on the importance of taking moments away for ourselves. Holiday shares stories of many historical figures and how they incorporated stillness into their busy lives and why it matters.
  22. Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess is a book full of personal experiences, inspirational quotes, reflection questions, and ideas for how to create more engaging lessons, promote student curiosity and build rapport in our classrooms. Teach Like a Pirate was the first book about education that I had read in years and the one that pushed me to start taking some risks in my classroom.
  23. Teaching AI by Michelle Zimmerman is for any educator looking to better understand artificial intelligence, how it will impact the future, and what it means for education. The book includes scenarios, tools, activities, reflection questions and ideas to get started.
  24. The Essential 55 by Ron Clark shares what he has determined to be essential guidelines or rules for maintaining an effective classroom and for helping students to be good citizens. The rules are shared through humorous anecdotes and while you might not implement all 55 in your classroom, the book will make you think and consider how to apply some of them to daily life too.
  25. What School Could Be by Ted Dintersmith shares what Ted learned after spending 2016 visiting schools in all 50 states. Dintersmith took what he observed, his own research, the authentic stories from educators he met during his travels and has shared what he believes to be the changes needed for education in this book. Listen to the Ted Dintersmith Podcast Interview.

There are many books out there and I could definitely add more to the list but wanted to create a resource for educators to explore a variety of topics from different perspectives. If I could add one more to this list, I would add one of my books because the inspiration for it came from all of the books that I have read. My first published book, In Other Words: Quotes that Push Our Thinking, gave me a space to share stories from educators and students as well as my own story. Quotes are used as a focal point to push thinking about the importance of growing ourselves as educators, knowing our why, as well as learning from and embracing failures and taking risks. A book for anyone, not just for educators.

Now available for a fantastic price! 200 pages, 38 educators shared stories in True Story. Grab a copy for yourself and for friends or your school at bit.ly/truestorypoth or in bulk orders from EduMatch Books.

Rachelle Dene is a Spanish and STEAM: What’s nExT in Emerging Technology Teacher at Riverview High School in Oakmont, PA. Rachelle is also an attorney with a Juris Doctor degree from Duquesne University School of Law and a Master’s in Instructional Technology. Rachelle is an ISTE Certified Educator and serves as the past president of the ISTE Teacher Education Network. She was recently named one of 30 K-12 IT Influencers to follow in 2021.

She is the author of five books including ‘In Other Words: Quotes That Push Our Thinking,” “Unconventional Ways to Thrive in EDU” “The Future is Now: Looking Back to Move Ahead,” “Chart A New Course: A Guide to Teaching Essential Skills for Tomorrow’s World and her newest book “True Story: Lessons That One Kid Taught Us” is now available. All books available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, or directly from Rachelle.

Follow Rachelle on Twitter @Rdene915 and on Instagram @Rdene915. Rachelle has a podcast, ThriveinEDU available at https://anchor.fm/rdene915

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