Summer reading 2017: eight book recommendations for teachers

In an older post, Teacher workload: why less is moreI offered ten reasons why teachers’ workload should be lessened in places such as the England (still my most popular post to date). One of these reasons was to allow time for professional reading. I love it! Along with blogging, reading is something else that I do that benefits my teaching practice without feeling like additional workload. Now that summer is coming up, we can all enjoy some handheld PD. I’ll be travelling and relaxing (rightly so), but I’ll also be working through my summer reading list. I can’t wait! How about you? Reading in the summer will motivate and inspire you as you prepare to go back to work.

I have read the first five books on this list and personally recommend them. The bottom three are on my summer reading list. Even though I can’t personally recommend them (because I haven’t read them yet), they are highly recommended by others in my PLN. Many of these books were read and studied as part of #pypbookstudy (a bi-weekly Twitter chat that I facilitate). If you’re a PYP teacher (or even if you’re not), join us! Click here for details.

Click the links to be directed to Amazon. Consider your own reading list and start ordering in time for summer. Happy reading!

My five recommendations:


Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain, 2013

After watching Susan Cain’s TED Talk, The Power of Introverts, I was very keen to read this book. I consider myself to be very introverted so I could relate to everything that is written. Generally speaking, the world has been designed for extroverts (our schools especially). This is a very important book to help teachers to understand and appreciate their introverted students (a third to a half of all children). I love the way that Susan Cain not only normalises introverts but celebrates their unique and important qualities.

On my blog: Our introverts and the Extrovert Ideal

“There’s zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas.”

Susan Cain


Mathematical Mindsets by Jo Boaler, 2016

Simply a must-read for anyone who teaches mathematics at any age. In fact, I’d recommend it even if you don’t! Jo Boaler applies Carol Dweck’s growth mindset work to a maths context (the foreword is written by Dweck). I call it a must-read because Jo highlights prevalent bad practices that are too common in mathematics classrooms. Traditional lessons instil a fixed mindset in all students. The book outlines how we can promote growth mindsets in this subject area and ensure that all students enjoy mathematics through inquiry, deep thinking, curiosity and open-ended tasks.

On my blog: Five maths practices to scrap in 2017

“The reason so many people think that math is the most difficult subject is the inaccessible way it is often taught.”

Jo Boaler


Learn like a PIRATE by Paul Solarz, 2015

Summer is an ideal time to read this book! Paul shares ideas for a student-led classroom that you’ll want to implement from day one, so use the summer to learn about them. Your classroom will never be the same again! Empower your students to lead, collaborate and bring out the best in each other.

Join the very active #LearnLAP discussions on Twitter.

“From the first day of school on, I want my students to know we’re not just a class; we’re a crew! We’re in this together!”

Paul Solarz


Lead Like A PIRATE by Shelley Burgess and Beth Houf, 2017

Following all of the hype on Twitter (#LeadLAP), I thought that I should read this book for myself. I have been entrusted with a leadership position in the next academic year so this book was exactly what I needed. I finished it this week. Amazing! I can’t praise it enough! Whilst offering some fantastic advice, honest reflections and important questions, it has given me something even more valuable – confidence. I’m not exaggerating. I can’t wait until next year. I’m going to be a PIRATE leader!

“Culture first, culture next, culture always.”

Shelley Burgess and Beth Houf


Kids Deserve It! by Todd Nesloney and Adam Welcome, 2016

If ever there was a book title worth remembering, this is it. Forget all the challenges, problems and stresses of teaching and refer back to these three words. This book is fantastic for reminding us what’s important – the kids – and offering ideas for continually building those relationships. There are many quotable books on this list, but I reckon Kids Deserve It! is the most quotable. Every sentence could be a staff room poster and every chapter ends with the three words. Order this book because your #KidsDeserveIt.

“Knowing every child in your class or school is someone else’s ‘everything’, how would you want your own ‘everything’ to be treated?”

Todd Nesloney and Adam Welcome

My summer reading list 2017:


Teach Like A PIRATE by Dave Burgess, 2012

You’ll notice that this is the third PIRATE book on this list. This one, however, is where it all began. It is now a worldwide phenomenon. I can’t believe that I still haven’t read it! It’s an upcoming book in #pypbookstudy, so keep an eye on our Twitter conversations over the next few weeks. Buy your own copy and join us!


The Innovator’s Mindset by George Couros, 2015

George’s blog, The Principle of Change, is one of my favourite education blogs to follow. This has been on my reading list for too long! If it’s as good as his blog (and I’m sure it is), then I’m in for a treat.

Math Googl

Teaching Math with Google Apps by Alice Keeler and Diana Herrington, 2017

What Alice doesn’t know about Google isn’t worth knowing. She’s the guru of all things G Suite. She is also passionate about teaching 21st-century skills and making learning relevant and transformational for her students. I can’t wait to dive into her new book when it arrives. Follow her blog for regular tech updates.

What else is on your reading list? What have I missed? Leave a comment below. Also, let me know where you’ll be conducting your professional reading this summer. I have Peru and Tanzania to look forward to. I can’t wait!

Of course, if nothing else, you could always just follow my blog for professional reading. Find the ‘follow’ icon on my site or like my Facebook page.


  1. I absolutely loved Teach like a Pirate! The list of lesson planning questions are incredibly useful to inspire you to create innovative and effective lessons. I will definitely be adding these books to my reading list! Thanks for the recommendations.

    1. Hi Karin,

      You’re very welcome. Let me know if you want to borrow my copies (although I’m sure you’ll want your own after reading them).



    1. Hi Angela,

      You definitely should! I can’t recommend them enough! I particularly love ‘Learn Like a PIRATE’ for empowering students and creating a student-led environment.



    1. Hi Jennifer,

      You’re very welcome.Thanks for the comment. Let me know what you think of KDI (and any of the others) once you have finished.



    1. Hi Tima,

      Watch the TED Talk and let me know what you think. It’s about appreciating introverts. You don’t need to be an introvert to benefit from the video or book. On the contrary! Perhaps extroverted teachers will benefit the most from learning about their introverted students.



  2. Thanks for the recommendations. As a fellow introvert, I’ll have to read the Cain book (I just finished requesting it through my local library) and your blog post on the topic. Congratulations on the leadership position for next year!

    1. Hi Gregory,

      Thanks for the comment. You should definitely read the Susan Cain book. I think you’ll really like it. If you like the TED Talk, you’ll definitely love the book. She also released a similar book aimed at young people.



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