The best books about teachers

5 authors have picked their favorite books about teachers and why they recommend each book.

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They Call Me Mom

By Pete Springer,

Book cover of They Call Me Mom: Making a Difference as an Elementary School Teacher

This book is based on fact and is more of a memoir. Pete Springer takes us, sometimes with humor, through the ups and downs of his 30-year teaching career.  In doing so he gives much advice suitable for new recruits to the teaching profession.  My son Leon, once labelled by teachers as ‘distracted and distracting’, would have benefited from Pete’s superior teaching skills I’m sure.  

Who am I?

I am, have always been, and always will be a realist. Therefore I find ‘Faction’ books, biographies, and memoirs more interesting, as I can learn from them and know that some or all of the events are true. They say ‘write what you know’ and so when it came to writing A Rather Unusual Romance I did just that. I was diagnosed with Stage 4 thyroid cancer back in 2005, and decided to weave the 15-year journey back to health I undertook into the pages of a fictional romance, with Alan and Erin similarly affected by thyroid cancer. Every procedure they had to endure was true because I had to go through it as well (without the romance)!

I wrote...

A Rather Unusual Romance

By Stevie Turner,

Book cover of A Rather Unusual Romance

What is my book about?

Erin Mason, divorced and with two teenage sons, finds her world begins to fall apart when she undergoes what is termed a "life event", and is diagnosed with cancer. Not too far away somebody else, Alan Beaumont, is also suffering a similar fate. Their paths slowly come together in this inspiring and humorous ‘Faction’ tale (fiction based on fact) which loosely features events during my own journey through thyroid cancer, and shows how love can flourish in the most unlikely of circumstances.


By Robert Specht,

Book cover of Tisha: The Wonderful True Love Story of a Young Teacher in the Alaskan Wilderness

This book is about Anne Hobbs, a nineteen-year-old girl, who in 1927 travels to Alaska to run a ramshackle, one-room schoolhouse. Along the way, she is exposed to more than just the elements. Against the local’s advice, she allows Native American children into her class and falls in love with a half-Inuit man. In this fascinating and charming story, Anne learns the meaning of prejudice and perseverance, irrational hatred, and unconditional love. 

This story taught me that we, as girls, can do important things and change the world around us. Anne was sweet and shy, but through showing compassion and concern, she made a change in her community. It wasn’t easy and she faced hardship, but she was successful and content within herself. Why do I love this book? First of all, the book is an adventure about survival in the wilderness. Anne had people watching out for her and…

Who am I?

I have always been fascinated with stories about women who step outside the norm and accomplish their goals. Books that tell of girls who are shy or insecure, but find inner strength in the face of adversity, inspire me. My mother wasn’t afraid to guide me toward these stories when I was young, and I gave books with this theme to my daughters as well. It doesn’t matter where you start from, it only matters where you think you can go, and I love books that share this idea; especially stories of women who do amazing and unexpected things.  

I wrote...

Love on the Line

By Kirsten Fullmer,

Book cover of Love on the Line

What is my book about?

Andrea leaves the stress and tedium of grad school behind and sets off with her estranged grandpa, Buck, to build a pipeline through the mountains of West Virginia. She hopes to prove herself to Buck and the all-male crew, as well as learn what drove Buck away from the family. 

Most of the guys on the crew aren’t willing to accept Andrea, and Rooster, the handsome and cocky, tie-in foreman, thinks she’s nothing but a distraction. Yet, he is impressed by her work ethic and is drawn to her on many levels. He’s also determined to prove himself to Buck, a pipeline legend, and he knows that messing with Buck’s granddaughter is a bad idea. Will Rooster and Andy take a chance on ruining their credibility in order to be together? 

Devil's Chew Toy

By Rob Osler,

Book cover of Devil's Chew Toy

This lighthearted mystery stars a young gay man who is a teacher and part-time blogger in Seattle. Hayden finds himself caught up in a bizarre mystery when a one-night stand (cuddling only) leads to a disappearance, and Hayden takes responsibility for the missing man’s dog. I loved the quirky characters, who had me grinning throughout the story. Despite how unique they are, they remained realistic, and they were people I would love to know. The book appreciated their weirdness rather than laughing at them, treating the characters with warmth and respect. Added to that, the mystery was tricky with fast-paced action and plenty of twists. I highly recommend you check out this new author’s debut.

Who am I?

When I make a snarky remark during a party, chances are one person will catch my eye with the amused look that says, “I saw what you did there.” Everyone else will keep right on talking. But in a book, the reader is right there in the character’s head, which lets your audience catch those subtle humorous comments. In my mystery series, The Accidental Detective, Kate shares witty observations about life with the reader – making Kate funnier than I am. I don’t do as much slapstick and joking (in life or in fiction), but I enjoy writers who pull off those forms of humor well. Humor makes life’s challenges bearable

I wrote...

Something Shady at Sunshine Haven

By Kris Bock,

Book cover of Something Shady at Sunshine Haven

What is my book about?

In the humorous Accidental Detective series, a witty journalist solves mysteries in Arizona and tackles the challenges of turning fifty. When patients are dying at an Alzheimer's unit, a former war correspondent must use her journalism skills to uncover the killer and save her mother. Kate has followed the most dangerous news stories around the world, but can she survive going home? 

Shirley Chisholm Dared

By Alicia Williams, April Harrison (illustrator),

Book cover of Shirley Chisholm Dared: The Story of the First Black Woman in Congress

I can still remember when Shirley Chisholm became the first African American woman elected to Congress. Unabashedly, “unbought and unbossed,” she also threw her hat in the ring in the race for president—the first woman to run. I dare anyone to read her biography and not be inspired.

Who am I?

Carole Boston Weatherford, author of Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre, has over 60 books, including the Newbery Honor winner, BOX: Henry Brown Mails Himself to Freedom, and three Caldecott Honor winners: Freedom in Congo Square, Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, and Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom. Recent titles include Beauty Mark: A Verse Novel of Marilyn Monroe, R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Aretha Franklin, The Queen of Soul, and The Roots of Rap: 16 Bars on the 4 Pillars of Hip Hop. A two-time NAACP Image Award winner, she teaches at Fayetteville State University in North Carolina.

I wrote...

Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: The Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement

By Carole Boston Weatherford, Ekua Holmes (illustrator),

Book cover of Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: The Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement

What is my book about?

Stirring poems and stunning collage illustrations combine to celebrate the life of Fannie Lou Hamer, a champion of equal voting rights.

Despite fierce prejudice and abuse, even being beaten to within an inch of her life, Fannie Lou Hamer was a champion of civil rights from the 1950s until her death in 1977. Integral to the Freedom Summer of 1964, Ms. Hamer gave a speech at the Democratic National Convention that, despite President Johnson’s interference, aired on national TV news and spurred the nation to support the Freedom Democrats. Featuring vibrant mixed-media art full of intricate detail, Voice of Freedom celebrates Fannie Lou Hamer’s life and legacy with a message of hope, determination, and strength.

The Penguin Lessons

By Tom Michell,

Book cover of The Penguin Lessons: What I Learned from a Remarkable Bird

For lighter penguin reading, The Penguin Lessons is a charming true story, told by a man who rescued an oiled Magellanic penguin from a beach in Uruguay. After cleaning the penguin and attempting to release it, the bird stubbornly refused to return to the sea - and the author found himself with an unusual new roommate, leading to many entertaining adventures. I’m sure I’m biased due to my experience rehabilitating oiled penguins, but I found this to be a very engaging and heartwarming story. (Side note: one should never attempt to rehabilitate or keep a penguin - or other wild animals. Always call a wildlife professional. At the time of this event 47 years ago, there wasn’t a rescue center for the author to bring this bird to.) 

Who am I?

I’m a penguin expert, TED speaker, and life-long animal lover. I was a Senior Penguin Aquarist at Boston’s New England Aquarium, where I worked for 9 years. In 2000, I helped manage the rescue of 40,000 penguins from the Treasure oil spill in South Africa. I founded my educational company The Penguin Lady in 2005, and give presentations at schools, universities, libraries, conferences (including the International Penguin Conference), and on National Geographic’s ships in Antarctica. I’ve given 4 TEDx talks, wrote and narrated a TED-Ed video about penguin conservation, and am a frequent guest expert on radio, podcasts, and TV in the US and abroad whenever penguins hit the news.

I wrote...

The Great Penguin Rescue: 40,000 Penguins, a Devastating Oil Spill, and the Inspiring Story of the World's Largest Animal Rescue

By Dyan deNapoli,

Book cover of The Great Penguin Rescue: 40,000 Penguins, a Devastating Oil Spill, and the Inspiring Story of the World's Largest Animal Rescue

What is my book about?

The Great Penguin Rescue is the gripping and unforgettable true story of the world’s largest and most successful animal rescue. When an oil spill threatened to kill tens of thousands of African penguins near Cape Town, 110 penguin experts (including the author) flew to South Africa to help manage the care of the oiled birds. With the help of 12,500 dedicated - yet completely inexperienced - volunteers, 95% of the 40,000 affected penguins were saved. Hailed as “a real-life eco-thriller with a happy ending” and “a powerful story that needs to be told”, this award-winning book is a moving testament to what can be achieved when we come together and work as one. 

The Right Story

By Bernadette Jiwa,

Book cover of The Right Story

Most online teachers I’ve worked with detest the idea of marketing, and yet this is something we cannot avoid especially when running our own business. Bernadette Jiwa defines marketing as a story you tell that has the capacity to change the world. In the book she shares multiple purposeful stories of people who shared their message in the most authentic way and how their courage moved others to action and brought about change. This is a guide into marketing that will make you excited about the change you seek to make and how your small online teaching business can transform the world. 

Who am I?

The start of my own online teaching business in 2010 felt both liberating and frustrating. I enjoyed working for myself but struggled to make my offers unique, attractive, sustainable, and successful. I had no idea how to make my voice heard in the highly-saturated and fast-growing online teaching industry. Following the advice of famous online business gurus, I lost track of what I wanted my business to accomplish and burned out following every online teaching trend there was. The books I’ve selected helped me align with my own vision and values, inspired me to overcome my limitations and succeed on my own terms.

I wrote...

Grounded Growth: Sustainable and Profitable Online Teaching Business On Your Own Terms

By Elena Mutonono,

Book cover of Grounded Growth: Sustainable and Profitable Online Teaching Business On Your Own Terms

What is my book about?

Grounded Growth is a book for online language teachers and coaches who struggle to make their businesses profitable and their 1:1 client work sustainable. When most of your income comes from client work, you find yourself exhausted and anxious about the future of your business, as client numbers may fluctuate.

Grounded Growth shows to you, in detail, how sustainability and profitability work in an online language teaching business, what stifles growth, how money shame can sabotage your success, and what action steps you need to take in order to make your business healthy on your own terms. Find detailed examples, budget templates, and new teaching formats that work for any small and budget-conscious online teaching business.

The Girl Who Died

By Ragnar Jonasson,

Book cover of The Girl Who Died: A Thriller

If small-town creepy mystery is your thing, then the setting of this book´s setting is the mother of all such premises. The book takes place in a small, remote fishing village with only a handful of inhabitants. None of which are exactly warm or welcoming to newcomers. We witness odd goings-on through the eyes of a young teacher, hired to teach the two children residing in the minuscule community. To add to the claustrophobic atmosphere of the situation, the attic room the protagonist is provided is haunted by the ghost of a young girl. This book is atmospheric and best enjoyed in a solitary environment, read by candlelight. Highly recommended for those in need of a creepy, ghostly fix.    

Who am I?

I am an Icelandic writer, best known for crime fiction although I have also written horror and children’s books. From a young age I have been a fan of creepiness and horror. My threshold for the macabre is thus high, maybe best witnessed by me noting that my first crime series featuring lawyer Thora was a cosy crime series, only to be reminded that in the first installment the eyes of a dead body were removed with a teaspoon, in the second a child was killed and the third featured decapitation. Whenever I need a reprise from writing crime I revert to horror, the best received of these being I Remember You

I wrote...

I Remember You: A Ghost Story

By Yrsa Sigurðardóttir,

Book cover of I Remember You: A Ghost Story

What is my book about?

I Remember You was written as an experiment in running a crime novel and a thriller side by side. In my opinion the difference between the two lies in the propelling event, which in crime fiction traditionally happens at the onset while in a thriller it has not taken place – will it/will it not happen? For the thriller part I chose to write a ghost story as I wanted it to involve fear and there is nothing like fear stemming from something you have no control over. The two seemingly unrelated stories involve a doctor whose son went out to play hide and seek, hid and was never seen again and three friends that go to an abandoned town in the dead of winter and realise they are not alone, a bummer for them as they have no possible way of contacting civilization. The best review I received for this book was from a reader that kept it in his car overnight as he found it so uncomfortable and malevolent.

Nothing Daunted

By Dorothy Wickenden,

Book cover of Nothing Daunted: The Unexpected Education of Two Society Girls in the West

I love learning about people who dedicate themselves to helping others, and the eagerness of these two young ladies to share knowledge is so inspiring! I really like the personal connections in this book too – the author is writing about her own grandmother.

Dorothy Woodruff and Rosamond Underwood grew up in wealthy families, graduated from college, and wanted to be helpful and useful to people outside their own circles. So, they answered an advertisement for teachers at a new school in a rural Colorado community. Though neither of them had any teaching experience or training, off they went, armed only with their intelligence, determination, and willingness to do hard work. 

Who am I?

I’ve loved learning about the Old West for as long as I can remember. Is this because I was born a few miles from the spot where Jesse James robbed his first train? Or is it because my family watched so many classic western movies and TV shows when I was a kid? Either way, writing books set in the Old West is a natural fit for me. I love researching the real history of that era just as much as I love making up stories set there. In fact, I write a column about the real history of the Wild West for a Colorado-based newspaper, The Prairie Times.

I wrote...

One Bad Apple

By Rachel Kovaciny,

Book cover of One Bad Apple

What is my book about?

When a wagon train of Black pioneers rescues the seven orphaned Dalton cousins from the side of the trail to Kansas, fourteen-year-old Levi Dalton is dazzled by the beautiful Mrs. Mallone. Her knowledge of medicines and herbs inspires Levi to want to become a doctor. Maybe then he can stop people from dying of fevers like his folks did.

Mrs. Mallone's stepdaughter, Hopeful, warns Levi not to become too attached to the healer. Levi dismisses her warnings and his own misgivings until the day he sees something dreadful. Levi knows he needs to tell someone what he’s seen before it’s too late. But will anyone believe the story of a fourteen-year-old orphan? Will anyone stand up to evil, no matter how beautifully it’s packaged?


By Alissa Nutting,

Book cover of Tampa

This is a seriocomic novel about a female eighth-grade teacher who sexually lures her male students. Extremely graphic and thought-provoking, Tampa also manages to be an incredibly entertaining dark comedy. Like a lot of sensationalistic books, this approaches a serious topic and turns it into a nearly absurd piece of entertainment. It’s also extremely well written. I loved it.

Who am I?

Ever since reading Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal in high school, I’ve always appreciated books and stories that can tackle dark subject matter in a completely deadpan way. The creator knows what they’re doing is kind of a joke and they’re inviting you along for the ride. I enjoy reading books where I think the writer had a really good time writing it, even if that means occasionally torturing the reader.

I wrote...

Sociopaths in Love

By Andersen Prunty,

Book cover of Sociopaths in Love

What is my book about?

Boy meets girl. They fall in love. They move in together and start a new life. They're beautiful and they have new things, expensive things, the best of everything, whatever they want. But that's only the surface. Beneath the surface is something much different. Something much darker. Theirs is a love like no other and only one of them will survive it.

Hekla's Children

By James Brogden,

Book cover of Hekla's Children

Back to fiction and spooky places. This weaves history, myth, and reality together until you don’t know which way is up. Beautifully written and researched, it will transport you into the world just beyond ours and it has a level of darkness a horror fan will enjoy. I’d say it’s more of a supernatural thriller, but it twists into horror at times. I love this because it once more weaves the real with the mythological, using British traditions to capture your imagination and transport you to new realities.

Who am I?

I’ve written about war for years. To be honest, it all began in school when we studied the terrible events of The Great War. Hearing the hearts shatter of men on the frontline never left me. I wanted to understand. I needed to understand. PTSD is something I’m familiar with, even if I’ve never been on the front line in battle. I’m also obsessed with myths, legends, ghost stories, and mysteries. My Lorne Turner series combines my passions and the books shine a light, in fiction, on what happens to old soldiers when they come home.

I wrote...

Counting Crows: One For Murder

By Joe Talon,

Book cover of Counting Crows: One For Murder

What is my book about?

The moor is darkening. Lorne Turner feels it in his bones. His instincts, honed by years on the battlefields of the desert, scream in warning. Or is it the monster in his head? When Detective Inspector Tony Shaw tells him the obvious occult symbols on a dead man are nothing more than faked staging, Lorne knows his instincts are right, and the police are wrong. There is darkness and it’s spreading. An ancient spirit line is awoken. Its pain seeping down from Dunkery Beacon, the highest point on Exmoor, to the ancient woodland church of Culbone on the coast. Its whispering dead are seeking justice.

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