Summer’s on the way, and that means the only books you have to read are ones you choose for yourself! So, after you pack up your classroom, grab a glass of lemonade and kick back with one of our recommended books.

Laugh out loud at the strange tidbits Tim Clancy gleaned from student writing or read Bel Kaufman’s classic portrayal of a first-year teacher. Curl up with some fiction or find your inner artist. And, when you’re ready to hone your craft, check out Mascott and McDonald’s book about growing young readers, or try Julie Wright and Barry Hoonan’s guide to meaningful and productive small-group instruction.


Best in Class: Essential Wisdom From Real Student Writing

By Tim Clancy, illustrated by Johnny Sampson

You will, quite literally, laugh out loud at this collection of hilarious moments teacher Tim Clancy culled from his students’ essays over a 25-year career. You may even be inspired to start collecting your own!


Things to Do Before a Monday

By Sid Veverka

Suffering from the Sunday blues? Grab Veverka’s book of 52 activities to jumpstart the week. Ranging from the silly (text with your toes) to the meditative (stare at the stars until you see your face in them), there is something for everyone.


ACE Short-Response Writing: 15 Mini-Lessons, Strategies, and Scaffolds to Help Students Craft Meaningful Short Responses

By Grace Long

Too often kids have something to say but can’t find the words to articulately express their thoughts. Long’s book of practical strategies and tools aims to solve this problem by breaking short responses into pieces that make it easier for students to explain and elaborate on their thinking.


Draw and Be Happy: Art Exercises to Bring You Joy

By Tim Shaw, illustrated by Cachetejack

This handbook, inspired by real art-therapy techniques, is designed to help you achieve happiness through drawing. Whether you already consider yourself an artist or haven’t picked up a sketchpad since you were a child, there is something for you in these bright and colorful pages.


What Are You Grouping For? Grades 3–8: How to Guide Small Groups Based on Readers—Not the Book

By Julie T. Wright and Barry Hoonan

Think small-group instruction is only for the littlest of learners? This book will have intermediate-grade teachers reimagining instruction. Filled with practical tools and lessons, it will help you plan for purposeful small-group instruction from the first through the last day of school.


Up the Down Staircase

By Bel Kaufman

Originally published in 1964 and reissued to great acclaim, Kaufman’s portrait of a first-year teacher in an urban high school is still relevant today. Told through memos, student notes, teacher letters, and papers saved from school wastebaskets, this is required reading.



By Madeline Miller

If you or your students love Percy Jackson, this is a must-read tale based on the story of Circe. The goddess has been characterized in many ways. She is an exile, cast away by Zeus and her father, Helios. She is also a powerful witch who can perform complex spells with the simplest ingredients. But in this grand and stunning story, Circe is granted agency to be seen as something new—a hero in her own right.


Photo (books): Adam Chinitz