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August 17, 2018

18 Teacher-Approved Fiction Books to Recharge Your Love of Teaching

By Scholastic Editors
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8, 9–12

    Looking for a lighter read to complement your nonfiction professional development stack? We’ve scoured Reddit and sourced teachers' favorite fiction book recommendations to start you off! Here are the 18 books many teachers credit for changing their perspective on teaching and providing the inspiration they need to grow as educators.  

    Books Featuring Teachers to Emulate

    Wonder by R.J. Palacio

    Mr. Browne’s determination to encourage kindness and empathy among his fifth-graders is a source of inspiration for many teachers who’ve read this story of a boy with facial differences entering mainstream school for the first time.

    Matilda by Roald Dahl

    In this classic, Matilda is in dire need of a teacher who recognizes her talents—someone like Miss Honey. And in many classrooms today, there are students just like Matilda who are yearning for attention, and teachers just like you who are willing to give it them.

    Frindle by Andrew Clements

    Teachers easily relate to Mrs. Granger’s sly teaching methods in this book about the power of words and evolving language.

     

    Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

    We’re stretching a bit with an entire series, but “The Boy Who Lived” had many amazing teachers during his eventful years at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. And we know most teachers relish in the exploits of those standout professors and their star pupil.

     

     

    Books to Promote Empathy and Tolerance

    El Deafo by Cece Bell

    A funny and poignant way to relate better to your students with hearing impairments, this graphic novel shows that, despite the challenges of her very powerful and very awkward hearing aid, Cece just wants to fit in and find true friends.

    Ungifted by Gordon Korman

    Teachers recommend this book as a humorous reminder to look for, and encourage, the creativity and other strengths of students with disabilities.

    The Circuit by Franciso Jimenez

    This moving collection of short stories explores issues of race, discrimination, and the importance of education. For many teachers, it’s been instrumental in helping them better understand the experiences of their Latinx students.

    Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai

    A lyrical story of Vietnamese refugees’ experiences leaving home, coming to America, and growing as a family as they learn to adapt to a foreign place, this book also gives teachers a window into the anger and frustration immigrant kids experience when they’re unable to effectively express themselves in a new language.

    To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

    A classic that’s introduced countless teachers to important themes of race and privilege, this book helps educators navigate the strong emotions that naturally arise when discussing such important topics.

     

    Books to Inspire Patience

    There’s a Boy in the Girls’ Bathroom by Louis Sachar

    This book is the perfect reminder that children typically don’t intend to drive their teachers crazy. It may even help you become more patient and forgiving with the Bradley Chalkers you encounter!

    Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key by Jack Gantos

    Even when Joey Pigza gets into sticky situations that frustrate his teacher and the other adults around him, he doesn’t mean to cause problems. Many teachers see Joey’s story as a window into the mind of a student with ADHD, and they credit this book as one that helps them better understand the world their students live in.

     

    Books and Authors to Get You Back in the Mindset of Being a Kid

    Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

    This popular tale of teen misfits and young love has inspired several teachers to reflect on their own trials and successes as teenagers.

    Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

    Even today, Holden Caulfield is still the epitome of an angsty teen.

    The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

    Exploring the gritty realities of the challenges and pressures many teens face, this book helps teachers connect with students battling struggles in life they didn’t personally experience themselves.

    Judy Blume

    It’s so easy to relate to the explorations of uncertainty and self-discovery in Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great. And anything by Judy Blume helps any teacher reconnect with their 11-year-old self.

    David Levithan

    The ever-changing sense of self, the love and heartbreak, the high school experience: David Levithan’s stories capture a range of teenage emotions and experiences.

    John Green

    John Green shows off his understanding of the complex world of teenage emotions in his award-winning book Looking for Alaska, and continues to do so with subsequent smash hits.

    Carl Hiaasen

    Forgotten what it’s like to be young, hopeful, and passionate about a cause, yet summarily dismissed by many adults in your life? Carl Hiaasen’s Hoot, and other novels, are here to remind you just what kids can achieve when the right teacher is there to support them.

    Looking for a lighter read to complement your nonfiction professional development stack? We’ve scoured Reddit and sourced teachers' favorite fiction book recommendations to start you off! Here are the 18 books many teachers credit for changing their perspective on teaching and providing the inspiration they need to grow as educators.  

    Books Featuring Teachers to Emulate

    Wonder by R.J. Palacio

    Mr. Browne’s determination to encourage kindness and empathy among his fifth-graders is a source of inspiration for many teachers who’ve read this story of a boy with facial differences entering mainstream school for the first time.

    Matilda by Roald Dahl

    In this classic, Matilda is in dire need of a teacher who recognizes her talents—someone like Miss Honey. And in many classrooms today, there are students just like Matilda who are yearning for attention, and teachers just like you who are willing to give it them.

    Frindle by Andrew Clements

    Teachers easily relate to Mrs. Granger’s sly teaching methods in this book about the power of words and evolving language.

     

    Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

    We’re stretching a bit with an entire series, but “The Boy Who Lived” had many amazing teachers during his eventful years at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. And we know most teachers relish in the exploits of those standout professors and their star pupil.

     

     

    Books to Promote Empathy and Tolerance

    El Deafo by Cece Bell

    A funny and poignant way to relate better to your students with hearing impairments, this graphic novel shows that, despite the challenges of her very powerful and very awkward hearing aid, Cece just wants to fit in and find true friends.

    Ungifted by Gordon Korman

    Teachers recommend this book as a humorous reminder to look for, and encourage, the creativity and other strengths of students with disabilities.

    The Circuit by Franciso Jimenez

    This moving collection of short stories explores issues of race, discrimination, and the importance of education. For many teachers, it’s been instrumental in helping them better understand the experiences of their Latinx students.

    Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai

    A lyrical story of Vietnamese refugees’ experiences leaving home, coming to America, and growing as a family as they learn to adapt to a foreign place, this book also gives teachers a window into the anger and frustration immigrant kids experience when they’re unable to effectively express themselves in a new language.

    To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

    A classic that’s introduced countless teachers to important themes of race and privilege, this book helps educators navigate the strong emotions that naturally arise when discussing such important topics.

     

    Books to Inspire Patience

    There’s a Boy in the Girls’ Bathroom by Louis Sachar

    This book is the perfect reminder that children typically don’t intend to drive their teachers crazy. It may even help you become more patient and forgiving with the Bradley Chalkers you encounter!

    Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key by Jack Gantos

    Even when Joey Pigza gets into sticky situations that frustrate his teacher and the other adults around him, he doesn’t mean to cause problems. Many teachers see Joey’s story as a window into the mind of a student with ADHD, and they credit this book as one that helps them better understand the world their students live in.

     

    Books and Authors to Get You Back in the Mindset of Being a Kid

    Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

    This popular tale of teen misfits and young love has inspired several teachers to reflect on their own trials and successes as teenagers.

    Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

    Even today, Holden Caulfield is still the epitome of an angsty teen.

    The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

    Exploring the gritty realities of the challenges and pressures many teens face, this book helps teachers connect with students battling struggles in life they didn’t personally experience themselves.

    Judy Blume

    It’s so easy to relate to the explorations of uncertainty and self-discovery in Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great. And anything by Judy Blume helps any teacher reconnect with their 11-year-old self.

    David Levithan

    The ever-changing sense of self, the love and heartbreak, the high school experience: David Levithan’s stories capture a range of teenage emotions and experiences.

    John Green

    John Green shows off his understanding of the complex world of teenage emotions in his award-winning book Looking for Alaska, and continues to do so with subsequent smash hits.

    Carl Hiaasen

    Forgotten what it’s like to be young, hopeful, and passionate about a cause, yet summarily dismissed by many adults in your life? Carl Hiaasen’s Hoot, and other novels, are here to remind you just what kids can achieve when the right teacher is there to support them.

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