What's on your to-read list this summer? If you're a teacher, you probably have a stack of books you can't wait to start reading.
Still, there's always room for more--right? Here are our top picks for your 2017 summer book nook.
Books on creativity and innovation
Right now, online lists overflow with book titles about creativity, genius, and innovation.
Get ready to inspire your life in and out of the classroom with these titles:
- Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative (Ken Robinson) - In this book, Sir Ken talks about the fact that everyone likes the idea of creativity and innovation, but few people want to risk failure. Societal change requires new methods of education--methods that involve innovation and freedom. (By the same author: Creative Schools)
- Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World (Tony Wagner) - Always provocative and thoughtful, Wagner offers an intriguing look at innovation as a today's most essential real-world skill for young adults.
- Learn like a PIRATE: Empower Your Students to Collaborate, Lead, and Succeed (Paul Solarz) - What do the buzz words "empowerment, collaboration, and student leadership" really mean in the classroom? They can mean freedom to teachers who use this book to help students take charge of their learning.
- Teach Like a Pirate (Dave Burgess) - Sensing a theme here? Check out this engaging read by the popular author of "Outrageous Teaching."
- Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom (Sylvia Libow Martinez, Gary S. Stager) - All children like to make things. This book helps tap into that innate curiosity, empowering both educators and students to learn by doing.
- How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci: Seven Steps to Genius Every Day (Michael J. Gelb) - Awake your untapped inner resources and expand your capacity with a little inspiration from the renaissance artist and inventor himself, Leonardo da Vinci (accompanying workbook sold separately).
Books to recharge your curriculum
Of course, creative thought is a part of all academic fields, as these books show:
- 100 Essential Things You Didn't Know About Math and the Arts (John D. Barrow) - Math and the arts are closer neighbors than you might think, as author John Barrow shows. Witty and relatable intersections for math and art lovers alike.
- Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science--and the World (Rachel Swaby) - These inspiring profiles on both major and less-known female scientists will fascinate readers and encourage a new generation of female students to pursue their passion.
- Bird by Bird: Instructions on Writing and Life (Anne Lamott) - Need motivation and advice on writing? Look no further. More a humorous memoir than a writing manual, this classic will inspire you as it makes you laugh.
- 12 Fabulously Funny Fairy Tale Plays (Justin Mccory Martin, Terry Sirrell) - The subtitle to this book says it all: "Humorous takes on favorite tales that boost reading skills, build fluency & keep your class chuckling." Even reluctant readers can't resist.
- Geology Crafts for Kids: 50 Nifty Projects to Explore the Marvels of Planet Earth (Alan Anderson, Gwen Diehn, Terry Krautwurst) - Add some fun to your unit on earthquakes or rocks by getting crafty in the classroom and promoting dexterity.
- National Geographic Little Kids' First Big Book of Space (Catherine D. Hughes, David A. Aguilar) - Kids and adults will both enjoy the whimsical dialogue and artwork in this guide to outer space. Includes a helpful glossary and a bibliography.
Books for your inner kid and outer adult
If you're just in the mood for some escapist fare, we've got you covered.
Take a look at our eclectic list of kids' literature, author-recommended titles, and other favorite reads teachers are sure to enjoy:
- Auntie Yang's Great Soybean Picnic (Ginnie Lo, Beth Lo) - Auntie Yang is from China. When she relocates to Illinois and finds soybeans there, the whole family starts a new family tradition that grows into a community favorite!
- Homegoing (Yaa Gyasi) - This work of contemporary fiction covers 300 years of tradition in Ghana, yet manages to become an extraordinary American novel. A story of slavery, despair, hope, and history--and one of 2016's most anticipated novels.
- Thunder Boy Jr. (Sherman Alexie, Yuyi Morales) - This new tale of a father and son's relationship, a current best seller by Caldecott-Honor and National Book Award winners, will touch your heart and delight your eye.
- The Wild Robot (Peter Brown) - A robot called Roz is 'born' on a remote island filled with hostile animals--but when she attempts to help a young gosling, the other animals gradually come to her aid. Engaging and thought-provoking.
- Pax (Sara Pennypacker/Jon Klassen) - Award-winning author Sara Pennypacker creates a tender and compelling story of Pax, a young fox rescued by a boy whose father makes his son return the fox to the wild. The boy, Peter, later travels a vast distance to reunite with his beloved Pax--who has had adventures of his own.
- My Headteacher is a Vampire Rat (Pamela Butchart, Thomas Flintham) - Enter the kooky world of Izzy , whose head teacher is really a vampire rat (because he bans garlic bread and keeps his office blinds shut all day). Good fun from Nosy Crow publishers.
- The Assistants (Camille Perri) - Called the "9 to 5 for the student-loan generation," this hilarious and sharp novel tells the tale of Tina Fontana, 30-year old executive assistant whose scruples are challenged by a convenient expense report error in her favor.
- The Fifth Wave (Rick Yancey) - If War of the Worlds mixed with Hunger Games and Starship Troopers, this story would result. Filled with dystopian themes of paranoia, heroics, and--yes, violence--this is one wave that will crash into your psyche.
- 32 Third Graders and One Class Bunny (Phillip Done) - Teachers will relate to Done's adventures fixing zippers, facing down a crazy Halloween parade, and rising above the daily adventures and occasional disasters. Good humor with real heart.
- Girl at War (Sara Nović) - In 1991 Zagreb, Croatia, Ana's childhood is forever altered by war throughout Yugoslavia. As her sense of safety is shattered, Ana must carve a new path in increasingly dangerous surroundings.
- The Martian (Andy Weir) - Maybe you've seen the movie, but until you've read the book, you have an incomplete picture of this epic story. Also available in a classroom edition through Broadway Books.
We salute all the teachers who work so hard to make the world better for children everywhere. Have a relaxing summer break--and happy reading!