There's no denying that by Teacher Appreciation Week (which starts May 6 this year) — or at any point during the school year — our children's teachers deserve something special as a reminder of how inspiring they are.
Often, the things educators want and need most are books that they can use to stock their classroom libraries. Your child's teacher likely pulls from her own pockets to fill bookshelves for students, in an attempt to maintain a variety of reading and comprehension levels, different genres, and appealing topics for even the most reluctant readers.
"I have collected books over the last 20 years for my class, and I am always looking for good deals," says Kimberly S., a 4th-grade teacher in Texas. "I have spent thousands of dollars over the years. Any book that a kid can relate to is key."
Unfortunately, on top of everyday supplies, supplemental books fail to be included in the annual budget of most classrooms, leaving teachers to their own devices when it comes to providing high-interest reads to their students that will last the year. "I think series are great to have in a K-12 class because kids stick with it, but I spend so much money on books, I don’t even know [the number]," says Caroline F., a teacher in Wyoming.
Your child's teacher is dedicated to incorporating these themes and reading habits into everyday life, even if it means spending personal funds. So for this year's Teacher Appreciation Week, consider scrapping the Starbucks gift card, and send along these hand-selected titles, recommended by teachers and Scholastic staff.
Best Preschool Book Gifts for Teachers
Scholastic Early Learners: Lift the Flap: Look Who's Mooing! is part of an interactive series that can help curious preschoolers learn about animals. From understanding the sound a cow makes to associating the word 'chicken' with its picture, this easy-to-hold board book is the perfect tool for any early learner classroom.
Bob Books Happy Hats Beginning Reading Game incorporates your toddler's favorite Bob Books characters into a silly reading game highlighting letters, sight words, and a whole lot of fun. With a focus on understanding the alphabet, this set is ideal for a classroom with budding readers and adds a creative spin to letter recognition.
We've Got the Whole World in Our Hands is a colorful picture book that highlights diversity, inclusivity, and the beauty in our differences. With an award-winning illustrator behind the book, children can take a look at young people from around the world and find themselves among the pages. The text is set to a familiar rhythm and expresses unity and friendship — a wonderful theme to promote in any classroom.
Groovy Joe: If You're Groovy and You Know It will get any little one up and moving while practicing important literacy skills. Sung to the beat of "If You're Happy and You Know It," this groovy picture book emphasizes rhyming, repetition, music, and all-around silliness for group learning and a lot of laughs!
No, David! is a title any teacher will instantly recognize. Share this well-loved character with your little one's teacher to bring laughter, learning, and fun to the classroom. With an emphasis on humor and manners, it will bring a mischievous smile to any child's face while honing in on the importance of deciphering between right and wrong.
Best Early Elementary Book Gifts for Teachers
There Was an Old Mermaid Who Swallowed a Shark! is another page-turner from the silly series starring a sillier old lady. This time, the old lady has turned into an old mermaid and, by the looks of it, she's swallowing up the whole ocean! Incorporating repetition alongside hilarious text, this awesome read-aloud will get a room full of kids wanting more of this goofy gal.
The Sun is Kind of a Big Deal takes the solar system to new heights for kids. Turning each planet into its own cool persona, this nonfiction-inspired picture book makes orbiting around our planets a fun adventure, and is a great pairing for early astronomy lessons.
Should I Share My Ice Cream? (An Elephant & Piggie Book) touches on friendship, thoughtfulness, and social skills as Gerald waffles over sharing his yummy ice cream with best friend Piggie. Not only does it help kids better understand important concepts like sharing, but the simple text supports beginner readers as they move toward independent reading, making it an attractive pick for any elementary classroom library.
Happy Dreamer teaches kids that being a little different, a little dreamy, a little messy is absolutely okay. In this magically illustrated picture book highlighting children who live with ADD, readers will be able to not only relate to the happy dreamer in the story, but also understand that when obstacles come about, it's possible to overcome them.
Best Late Elementary Book Gifts for Teachers
Wonder is a teacher favorite that lets children know it's okay to be themselves, no matter what you look like. Born with a facial deformity, Auggie Pullman has always avoided the mainstream world, but now that he's entering the 5th grade, he's finally joining a real school with all new kids and all new challenges. "As a 4th grade teacher, books like Wonder that highlight a struggle that kids can identify with are my favorite," says Kimberly S.
Awesome Facts Pack (3 Books) is an exciting assortment of all things cool — from world records to living things to tiny technology. For reluctant readers who have difficulty getting through chapter books or fictional stories, these jam-packed books will boost learning and develop important skills. Plus, these titles make for excellent group exploration during class reading time.
I Survived #18: I Survived the Battle of D-Day, 1944 is part of the popular series highlighting important moments of history. For kids who love a thrilling story, this book is perfect for digging into what happened years before they were born, and is a great supplement for social studies classes!
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, The Illustrated Edition brings the world of Hogwarts to life, combining the magical words of J.K. Rowling with beautiful illustrations sure to captivate any aspiring wizard or witch. Your child's teacher will love including this title as part of her library, as students follow Harry and the gang as they make their way through their new enchanted lives.
She Dared: Malala Yousafzai tells the true tale of perseverance, resilience, and courage in the life of a young woman who stood up for girls everywhere in the name of education. This biography not only provides a nonfiction story for your advancing reader, but also shows what one can achieve through persistence.
Best Middle School Book Gifts for Teachers
National Geographic Kids World Atlas, 5th Edition is an educational tool that gives students so much more to explore than a map. Full of facts, statistics, vivid images, and the most up-to-date research happening on our planet, this detailed book will keep kids engaged and learning for hours on end.
Amulet #8: Supernova follows Emily as she tries to escape imprisonment after losing control of her powerful amulet. The eighth in the adventurous Amulet series, this title is a thrilling take on solving problems and tackling obstacles head-on. Teachers will also love that the series showcases a strong female character as its protagonist and epitomizes girl power!
Percy Jackson and the Olympians 5 Book Paperback Boxed Set makes for a supreme gift with five times the adventure and fun. Percy Jackson struggles with learning differences, but when he finds out he's connected with Greek gods, he receives a major boost to his confidence. Share this thrilling set with your child's classroom and the students may just discover a new favorite series.
The Misfits is made for any middle schooler who feels like an outsider looking in. When a group of unpopular 7th graders bands together to run for student council, they're intent on fighting the stereotypes and name-calling thrown their way. Full of humor, uplifting plot points, and the coolest characters, this chapter book will boost any reader's spirits.
Number the Stars showcases a fictional rendition of a very real time in our world's history. Readers will walk with Annemarie Johansen as she houses her best friend during the Holocaust. Centering on themes of heroism and bravery, and filled with important factual information from the time period, this chapter book captures the true meaning of friendship during a dark time in history.
Best High School Book Gifts for Teachers
Dark Sky Rising: Reconstruction and the Dawn of Jim Crow is a piece of nonfiction that presents life during Jim Crow segregation and the pivotal moments that led the U.S. to make drastic and necessary changes. A book that can be used both for research as well as teaching young minds about America's past, this title is an incredible addition to any upper-level classroom.
The Lines We Cross tracks the parallel lives of Michael, a young man whose parents are anti-immigrant group leaders, and Mina, a young woman who is a Muslim refugee. As a relationship forms between these two unlikely teenagers, readers will experience the true meaning of tolerance, acceptance, and understanding. Poignant for this day and age, this radical tale will inspire teenagers to look at life with a new perspective.