100 Books Every Teacher Should Read

100 books every teacher should read

I am by habit a bibliophile. I read at least 25 pages of a book per day which usually turns in to 40-60 books per year. I’ve written a few books myself, and plan to write more.

But this list is not about me, it’s really about us as an education community. What are we reading? Are we slowly shifting to reading only blogs and short pieces online? I love blogs (case in point of what you are currently reading) but there is something special about the thought, effort, and depth of a book. I hope that we can continue to read books that push our thinking, and share them widely.

This list is a start. If you are wondering what book to read next, this may or may not help you decide! I’m going to leave the comments open for book recommendations with a short synopsis, and rationale. This list will not be limited by number, and at this point in time is only limited by the number of books I’ve read (and would recommend), so any recommendations are appreciated!

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Table of Contents: Each section is hyperlinked to a list below.

 

I. Start Here

II. Non-Fiction Books for Teachers

    1. Books on Learning
    2. Books on Teaching
    3. Books on Curriculum
    4. Books on Leadership
    5. Books on Creativity
    6. Books on Writing and Craft
    7. Books on Psychology and Behavior
    8. Books on Philosophy and General Wisdom
    9. Books on Self-Help and Personal Development

III. Fiction Books for Teachers (coming soon)

    1. Children’s Books
    2. Young Adult Books
    3. Fantasy and Science Fiction
    4. Classic Fiction Books for Teachers

IV. Recommendations from Readers (Comments)  

I. Start Here

I plan on maintaining this list as much as possible throughout this year and the years to come. If you have any tips on organization, please let me know…as it is a lot to cover and will grow with time. There is also no “rankings” involved in this list. I’m not even beginning to try and rate books or list titles in some type of order. This list is only to recommend great books that will benefit teachers and leaders. I’m stating this several times because I know the intent can be skewed in discussions where everyone is not on the same page. If you have a book you’d like me to add to the list, share it below in the comments and I will try to read it as soon as possible!

All of the hyperlinks are from the Amazon Associates program, and if you choose to buy the book through the links below I’ll get a small commission in most cases. If you want to buy the book, but don’t want to use the link, feel free to search for it on Amazon.

If you’d like to join my newsletter, sign up up below and you’ll get my free guide, “21 Free eBooks for Teachers”, as well as a new book recommendation each month!

Click Here to Get the FREE Guide

II. Non-Fiction Books for Teachers

    1. Books on Learning

      Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation is Changing Your World by Don Tapscott
      Paperback

      Invent To Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom by Sylvia Libow Martinez and Gary Stager
      Kindle Book

      Crash Course: The Life Lessons My Students Taught Me by Kim Bearden
      Paperback

      How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character by Paul Tough
      Paperback

      Why School?: How Education Must Change When Learning and Information Are Everywhere by Will Richardson
      Kindle Book

      The Education of a Coach by David Halberstam
      Paperback

      Falling in Love with Close Reading: Lessons for Analyzing Texts–and Life by Christopher Lehman and Kate Roberts
      Paperback

      This Is Not A Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education by Jose Vilson
      Paperback

      The Monsters of Education Technology by Audrey Watters
      Paperback

      Getting Smart: How Digital Learning is Changing the World by Tom Vander Ark
      Kindle Book

      Who Owns the Learning?: Preparing Students for Success in the Digital Age by Alan November
      Paperback

      Pure Genius: Building a Culture of Innovation and Taking 20% Time to the Next Level by Don Wettrick
      Kindle Book

      The 20Time Project: How educators can launch Google’s formula for future-ready innovation by Kevin Brookhouser
      Paperback

      Teaching With Poverty in Mind: What Being Poor Does to Kids’ Brains and What Schools Can Do About It by Eric Jensen
      Paperback

      It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens by Danah Boyd
      Kindle Book

      The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind by Daniel J. Siegel
      Paperback

      Autism Breakthrough: The Groundbreaking Method That Has Helped Families All Over the World by Raun K. Kaufman
      Paperback

      BACK TO THE TOP

    2. Books on Teaching

      The Third Teacher: 79 Ways You Can Use Design to Transform Teaching & Learning by O’Donnell, Wicklund, Pigozzi, and Peterson
      Paperback

      Passion-Driven Classroom, The: A Framework for Teaching and Learning by Angela Maiers and Amy Sandvold
      Kindle Book

      Classroom Habitudes (Revised edition): Teaching Habits and Attitudes for 21st Century Learning by Angela Maiers
      Kindle Book

      Teach Like a Pirate: Increase Student Engagement, Boost Your Creativity, and Transform Your Life as an Educator by Dave Burgess
      Kindle Book

      The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way by Amanda Ripley
      Paperback

      Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World by Tony Wagner
      Paperback

      World Class Learners: Educating Creative and Entrepreneurial Students by Yong Zhao
      Paperback

      Self-Driven Learning: Teaching Strategies for Student Motivation byLarry Ferlazzo
      Paperback

      A Sustainable Start: A Realistic Look at the First Year of Teaching by John T. Spencer
      Kindle Book

      The Highly Engaged Classroom (The Classroom Strategies Series) by Robert J. Marzano
      Paperback

      High-Impact Instruction: A Framework for Great Teaching by Jim Knight
      Paperback

      Awakened: Change Your Mindset to Transform Your Teaching by Angela Watson
      Kindle Book

      Teach Like a Champion: 49 Techniques that Put Students on the Path to College (K-12) by Doug Lemov
      Paperback

      Flip Your Classroom: Reach Every Student in Every Class Every Day by Jonathan Bergmann
      Paperback

      Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds: Move to Global Collaboration One Step at a Time (Pearson Resources for 21st Century Learning) by Vicki Davis & Julie Lindsay
      Paperback

      Reinventing Writing: The 9 Tools That Are Changing Writing, Teaching, and Learning Forever by Vicki Davis
      Paperback

      Empowered Schools, Empowered Students: Creating Connected and Invested Learners (Corwin Connected Educators Series) by Pernille S. (Schmidt) Ripp
      Paperback

      Personal Learning Networks: Using the Power of Connections to Transform Education by Will Richardson and Rob Mancabelli
      Paperback

      Unleashing Student Superpowers: Practical Teaching Strategies for 21st Century Students by Kristen Swanson and Hadley Ferguson
      Paperback

      Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A’s, Praise, and Other Bribes by Alfie Kohn
      Paperback

      Differentiation: From Planning to Practice, Grades 6-12 by Rick Wormeli
      Paperback

      Make Just One Change: Teach Students to Ask Their Own Questions by Dan Rothstein
      Paperback

      BACK TO THE TOP

    3. Books on Curriculum

      Making Thinking Visible: How to Promote Engagement, Understanding, and Independence for All Learners by Ron Ritchhart
      Paperback

      Understanding by Design, Expanded 2nd Edition by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe
      Paperback

      Schooling By Design by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe
      Paperback

      Curriculum 21: Essential Education for a Changing World by Heidi Hayes Jacobs
      Kindle Book

      Visible Learning for Teachers: Maximizing Impact on Learning by John Hattie
      Paperback

      BACK TO THE TOP

    4. Books on Leadership

      The SPEED of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything by Stephen M.R. Covey
      Paperback

      Digital Leadership: Changing Paradigms for Changing Times by Eric C. Sheninger
      Paperback

      The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries
      Kindle Book

      Getting Real by Jason Fried
      Kindle Book

      Wooden On Leadership: How to Create a Winning Organization by John Wooden
      Paperback

      The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni
      Paperback

      Leading in a Culture of Change by Michael Fullan
      Paperback

      The Ten-Minute Inservice: 40 Quick Training Sessions that Build Teacher Effectiveness by Todd Whitaker
      Kindle Book

      What School Leaders Need to Know About Digital Technologies and Social Media by Scott McLeod, Chris Lehmann, and David F. Warlick
      Paperback

      Leading Professional Learning: Tools to Connect and Empower Teachers (Corwin Connected Educators Series) by Thomas C. Murray and Jeff Zoul
      Paperback

      The Student Leadership Challenge: Five Practices for Becoming an Exemplary Leader by James M. Kouzes
      Paperback

      The Power of Branding: Telling Your School’s Story (Corwin Connected Educators Series) by Tony Sinanis and Joe Sanfelippo
      Paperback

      #EdJourney: A Roadmap to the Future of Education by Grant Lichtman
      Paperback

    5. Books on Creativity

      Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered by Austin Kleon
      Kindle Book

      Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon
      Kindle Book

      The War of Art: Break Through Your Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield
      Paperback

      The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It For Life by Twyla Tharp
      Paperback

      Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey
      Paperback

    6. Books on Reading, Writing, and Craft

      Story Engingeering by Larry Brooks
      Kindle Book

      This book will teach you how to write better by Neville Medhora
      Kindle Book

      Your First 1000 Copies: The Step-by-Step Guide to Marketing Your Book by Tim Grahl
      Paperback

      Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss
      Paperback

      The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child by Donalyn Miller
      Paperback

      Readicide: How Schools Are Killing Reading and What You Can Do About It by Kelly Gallagher
      Paperback

      The Collins Writing Program Improving Student Performance Through Writing and Thinking Across the Curriculum by John J. Collins
      Paperback

    7. Books on Psychology and Behavior

      Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini
      Paperback

      Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell
      Paperback

      Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
      Kindle Book

      David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell
      Paperback

      Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
      Paperback

      The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg
      Kindle Book

      Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
      Paperback

      Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
      Paperback

      Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger
      Paperback

      Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck
      Paperback

      To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others by Daniel H. Pink
      Paperback

      Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink
      Paperback

      Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven Johnson
      Paperback

      Five Minds for the Future by Howard Gardner
      Paperback

    8. Books on Philosophy, History, and General Wisdom

      The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life by Benjamin and Rosamund Stone Zander
      Paperback

      The World Is Flat 3.0: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century by Thomas L. Friedman
      Paperback

      Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared M. Diamond
      Paperback

      The Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change by Adam Braun
      Kindle Book

      The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
      Paperback

      How Music Works by David Byrne
      Kindle Book

      This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life by David Foster Wallace
      Paperback

      A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas by Warren Berger
      Paperback

      The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller
      Paperback

      365 Days of Wonder: Mr. Browne’s Book of Precepts by R. J. Palacio
      Paperback

      The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything by Ken Robinson
      Kindle Book

      Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools by Diane Ravitch
      Paperback

    9. Books on Self-Help, Productivity and Personal Development

      The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work by Shawn Achor
      Paperback

      The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich (Expanded and Updated) by Timothy Ferriss
      Kindle Book

      Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average and Do Work that Matters by Jon Acuff
      Paperback

      Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek
      Paperback

      Habit Stacking: 97 Small Life Changes That Take Five Minutes or Less by S.J. Scott
      Kindle Book

      Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff and It’s All Small Stuff: Simple Ways to Keep the Little Things From Taking Over Your Life by Richard Carlson
      Paperback

      Nine Things Successful People Do Differently by Heidi Grant Halvorson
      Kindle Book

III. Fiction Books for Teachers (coming soon)

  1. Children’s Books

  2. Young Adult Books

  3. Fantasy and Science Fiction

  4. Classic Fiction Books for Teachers

IV. Recommendations from Readers (in the comments)

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43 comments… add one

  • AJ,

    Wonderful listicle – would you mind if I re-blogged this (with full credit to you, of course)?

    Take care,

    T..

    Reply
    • Two of my favorites are Choice Words, by Peter H. Johnston, and Why Students Don’t Like School, by Daniel Willingham.

      Reply
    • Sure! I’m using these CC Licenses: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/

      Reply
    • I recommend Quiet by Susan Cain. It is a must-read for approaching children in the classroom, considering colleagues in the profession and for basic interaction in our world. It’s very eye opening with a lot to chew on. Thanks for a great list!

      Reply
  • This is an awesome list! Thank you so much!

    Reply
    • Thanks! Any books to recommend?

      Reply
  • Thank you for this wonderful post! I thought I was fairly well-read both personally and professionally, but I can see I have some work to do! Looking forward to the fiction suggestions!

    Reply
    • Thanks Debbie, as a former English teacher…fiction was more difficult than non-fiction :)

      Reply
  • Soemthing to do in your spare time – 12:00 a.m. to 4:30 a.m.

    Reply
  • Great list, AJ. A couple of others off the top of my head that I would add:

    1. The Reading Zone, by Nancie Atwell
    I’ve been using Atwell’s wonderful “Lessons That Change Writers” with students for years, but just discovered this short, powerful manifesto a year and a half ago, and it has changed my approach to teaching reading. I had previously abandoned textbooks and anthologies in favor of class novels, yet Atwell goes further, advocating that if our long-term goal is to shape our students into lifelong passionate readers, then we need to give them the same tools and reading experiences we give ourselves – namely, huge libraries of high-interest books in a range of reading levels, combined with a lot of time to “just read”. (The title refers to that pleasurable place we go when we are reading and completely lose track of where we are.) Teachers feel compelled to attach all sorts of ‘proof’ that kids are reading (to prove that we are legitimate teachers?), but the more comprehension sheets and vocab lists and post-its and journalling, and whatever the next fad in reading instruction comes along – the more that we pile on top of the reading experience, the less enjoyable the experience becomes. (Imagine if we were required to do all of that stuff every time we read a book. We’d stick to TV and video games too.) The transformation has been incredible for my students. So many kids who were not readers are finding the books they love, are recommending them passionately to others…all of those things that I hope for them. This should be required for every reading teacher, especially everyone in a teaching/education program.

    2. Better Than College, by Blake Boles
    The title is a bit of hyperbole. Boles is careful not to dismiss the value of a college education wholesale. However, he is challenging it as the automatic straight-out-of-highschool pathway that so many of us assume is correct. And he makes many very strong points. The work world is different than it used to be; a college education is not the ‘guarantee’ we used to imagine it was. And the stakes are so much higher, with the massively high costs and potential debt (with no automatic high-paying job to pay it off anytime soon). So Boles promotes self-directed learning, structured gap years – which we are currently helping our daughter craft right now – and real-life experience integrated with book-learning (again, self-directed). All of this documented with a blog-website. Imagine a student applying for a job or college being able to showcase a list of books that they have read (like this list, or something else specific to another field) – on their own initiative, not for a grade or mandated by a teacher, combined with narratives of internships and travel experience and whatever else might connect them to their field of interest? This kind of person would be hugely desirable as a prospective student or employee.

    I did a study of this book with a bunch of other parents and our teens. Really fascinating discussions followed, and continue to be generated by this thought-provoking and imminently sensible book. College is such a sacred cow that it can feel very threatening to suggest to many parents that their child should, perhaps, not go directly to college. People are afraid that they will get off the path and work at a skateboard shop the rest of their life. But I agree with Boles: what we need to be doing is helping our students (and children) become the sort of self-directed, curious, motivated people that will succeed no matter their path.

    Steven Slaughter
    Rosslyn Academy
    Nairobi, Kenya

    Reply
    • Thanks for the recs Steven – will have to pick both of those titles up!

      Reply
  • Children’s book teachers should read – the Joey Pigza series by Jack Gantos
    Young adult – Center of Everything
    Adult – Casual Vacancy by JK Rowlng

    Reply
    • Big fan of the book, Center of Everything! Thanks for sharing your recommendations.

      Reply
  • AJ-
    I love how you organized the page and the books you listed. My book list would fall into similar categories. Great idea!

    Wooden on Leadership is one of my favorites.

    I recently read Creativity, Inc by Ed Catmull and loved it for leadership strategies. Many of his messages align to the growth mindset.

    Reply
    • Creativity, Inc is on the reading list now! I actually just listened to a podcast with Ed Catmull and Tim Ferris that was fantastic.

      Reply
  • Awesome list – I have read a lot, and have some to add to my list.

    I agree with previous commenters suggestion of Creativity Inc, by Ed Catmull. Fascinating look at leadership and developing a culture of leaders within an organization.

    Also, I noticed two Daniel Pink books, I haven’t read To Sell is Human, but didn’t see A whole New Mind on your list. That is another great one that I highly recommend.

    Reply
    • Ok, Creativity, Inc has to be one of my next reads – thanks for sharing! I guess I almost forgot about A Whole New Mind since Pink’s last two books radically changed the way I view teaching/learning -thanks for the reminder!

      Reply
      • All three Daniel Pink books are excellent. I think your list is also excellent!

        Reply
  • My recommendation is “The Trust Edge” by David Horsager – book on leadership pillars. Excellent!

    Reply
  • Thanks for helping to motivate me to get organized and start reading more!

    Reply
  • Fantastic post!
    I would also recommend Donalyn Miller’s 2nd book- Reading in the Wild (2014),
    Teaching Literacy in the Digital Age edited by Mark Gura (2014),
    Teaching With Digital Video Edited by Glen L. Bull and Lynn Bell (2010),
    Teaching With Author Web Sites K-8 by Rose Cherie Reissman and Mark Gura (2010)
    And I can help with lots of YA titles- Fiction, Nonfiction and Reference/Professional, just let me know.

    Reply
  • This is a great list. I would love to see a book on mindfulness in the classroom. One of my favorite titles is Vicky Savini”s Ignite the Light: Empowering Children and Adults to Be Their Absolute Best. I think it would be great to read along Carol Dweck’s Mindset, which you have included.

    Reply
  • The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses by Jesse Schell

    and

    Rules of Play by Katie Salen and Eric Zimmerman

    Reply
  • I would add Decisive by Chip and Dan Heath and Parker Palmer’s The Courage to Teach.

    Reply
  • What a list! I love it, and am feeling super inspired. I’ll be taking this post to my next trip to the library for sure.

    Reply
  • I highly recommend “Swimming to Tokyo” a YA read that was written by Brenda St. John Brown.

    Reply
  • Lessons from the Classroom by Hal Urban – Inspiring!!

    Reply
  • Nice list, AJ. I would suggest adding:
    Reading, Writing, and Craft: The Writing Thief by Ruth Culham
    Creativity: Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul by Stuart Brown.

    I also second the vote for Susan Cain’s book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.

    Reply
  • I appreciate your list as many of the books are ones I would not necessarily have chosen becuase I either have not read them, or I have (mostly the former). The list will afford me an opportunity to stretch my thinking. I do worry a bit about the curriculum choices as they situate curriculum as product, not as Complicated conversation.

    This is a link to 50 professional texts that influence my thinking, practice, theory making.
    http://maryannreilly.blogspot.com/2012/11/50-professional-texts-that-influence-my.html

    I hope you’ll take a look and again thanks for posting a thoughtful list.

    Reply
  • The book that solidified my decision to enter the teaching profession was written several decades ago by a fellow Kentuckian: “The Thread That Runs So True,” by Jesse Stuart.

    Reply
    • Thanks Jason, I’ve got to read that one. Put it on my list.

      Reply
      • Jason Davidson’s suggestion is excellent! “The Thread That Runs So True” by Jesse Stuart is a must-read.

        Reply
  • Love the list. Gives me the impetus to tackle more professional reading this month, as I’ve wandered off into fiction!
    Suggestions for curriculum: Deborah Leong, Tools of the Mind (prek-k)
    Writing: Zinsser, On Writing Well, White, Elements of Style, and Stephen King, On Writing.
    Anything by Jonathan Koziol.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    • Love Strunk and White’s Elements of Style, should of added that one before (as a former English teacher, I’m ashamed that I didn’t)!

      Reply
  • [I commented via the Twitter, but thought it might be more useful here]
    There are a few books not on the list that were very important to my development as a teacher and how I think about teaching and learning:

    – The Children’s Machine – Seymour Papert
    – Mindstorms – Seymour Papert
    – The Power of Their Ideas – Deborah Meier
    – In Schools We Trust – Deborah Meier
    – Savage Inequalities – Jonathon Kozol

    It’s a nice conversation starter to think about what books were important to me as a teacher. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Thanks for adding here as well Ben! Good additions (and some reading I need to do).

      Reply
  • A little bit different from most of the selections here, but I would add to “Philosophy/General Wisdom” category The Ignorant Schoolmaster by Jacques Ranciere as well as The Beautiful Risk of Education by Gert Biesta & Taking Care of Youth by Bernard Stiegler. These books tend to be highly theoretical, but the paradigm shifts of thinking that each author demands are idea-inspiring!

    Reply
    • Thanks Jared. I haven’t read either, but just put them on my list!

      Reply
  • Harry Wong’s First 30 Days of School. Essential to any teacher.

    Reply
    • Great add, thanks Martin!

      Reply
  • All the pedagogical readings are great but what about “A Child Called “It”” by Dave Pelzer and “Carly’s Voice: Breaking Through Autism” by Arthur Fleischmann to make us stop and consider the lives of our students. So much more important than all the teaching techniques we can put in place. If we don’t consider their lives outside of school we may never really reach them and make a difference.

    Reply
  • Anything by Dylan Wiliam
    The Hidden Life of Learners by Graham Nuthall

    Reply
  • I would like to submit for your consideration my free e-book:
    50 Ways To Have Fun With Your Bad Spanish.
    Free download at badspanish.net.
    It is short, and my purpose is to encourage real communication in any level of Spanish.

    Reply

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