Professional Learning

Winter-Worthy Reads for Teachers

Check out these six book suggestions for refueling your mind, body, and heart. 

November 12, 2015
Photo credit: Mo Riza via flickr (CC BY 2.0)

This winter's recommended reads come from different genres and are intended to address the multitude of literary needs that you may have. Happy reading!

The one education-related book you must read: Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates:

Coates' poetic memoir and reflection on what it means to be a black man in the United States, written in the form of a letter to his 15-year-old son, is my top read for the decade. Read it because it's a message you won't hear anywhere else. Read it because it offers a provocative suggestion for how to live with the racial reality of our country. Read it because the questions raised are the questions we must grapple with. This is a book to read multiple times and to be discussed with others, and one that educators, especially, must take the time to read.

Provocative essays that engender courage and empowerment: The Unspeakable, by Meghan Daum:

Ten perfectly written, brilliantly crafted personal essays about the things we don't talk about: about our blind spots, our identities, about the need to find our voices and tell our own stories. There is little that I love more than people speaking their truths without blame or fear, with unsentimental compassion. Read and digest these slowly.

On finding meaning in suffering: Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair, by Anne Lamott:

How do we make sense of suffering? How can we manage the sometimes-excruciating curveballs that life throws at us? In this short book, Anne Lamott offers her humble wisdom and sharp humor again. Personally, I need annual doses of Anne Lamott and am grateful that she's a prolific writer. This one is a powerful reminder of how we cultivate resilience in ourselves individually and in communities.

For reflection, inspiration, and self-examination: The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion, by Elle Luna:

This is the kind of book that I need to read during a break from work when I'm reflecting on whether I'm doing the right thing. This is a book I'll reread every six or twelve months because in not-too-many words, the author makes me think.

Also know: The paper feels really good to touch. There are beautiful painted watercolor images; this is a perfect gift for so many of us.

To be reminded of the power of art to transform our hearts: Humans of New York: Stories, by Brandon Stanton:

Brandon Stanton is a story collector who has photographed and interviewed tens of thousands of people in New York -- as well as abroad -- for his blog, which has some 15 million followers. Brandon uses Facebook to share these stories in a way that is truly revolutionary, and now, his stories have been compiled into a beautiful book. Brandon has found a way to take a few lines of text and an image and produce in his followers a quantity of empathy that might just transform the world. Also know: My 11-year-old read this entire book in a couple sittings. It's a page-turner even for kids.

Fiction that makes you forget everything: The Passage, by Justin Cronin:

This is well-written horror, adventure, and science-gone-bad novel -- with characters that you care about in a crafted plot. Warning: Don't start this book unless you're okay with checking out of all your worldly duties for a week or so. It's that kind of book. And also, beware: This is the first in a trilogy. The second book is out, and the third, not yet.

What will you be reading this winter? Please share in the comments section below.

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