Must Read Books

This list of must read books is in development. Suggestions are always appreciated.

Reading, of course, is about personal choice. Much of my professional ethos was shaped by the books I was either forced by academic requirement to read or ones I voluntarily chose. Not to be too metaphysical but some actually fell off the shelves to get me to notice them. One transformational volume was handed to me by an older female customer as I checked out of a college bookstore. She just walked up to me as I was waiting in line, thrust the book into my hand she said simply, “Read this! Really YOU need to read this!” and then she walked out the door. I try to pay attention to the lessons the cosmos thinks I need to hear, and this instance it was scream loud and clear. Perhaps read is not the right verb for some of these choices below. Some of them have resonated so deeply and I was often affected so profoundly that it is more like I ingested them at a cellular level.

For other more generic biblio recommendations they appear throughout this site in topic specific areas — like on creativity, or multiple intelligence. Unless asked, I will not bore you with listing my many personal choices in those areas. Rather the books listed here contain important ideas that ALL educators and/or parents need to know — at least in my opinion. I have tried to select books that offer current ideas or ones which have applications for today’s children. I have also tried to recommend books that can be used for easily encouraging lively small group discussions. Many of these books are older, and in my view classics. Time has not diminished their importance to understanding the nature of children, learning, schools, the broader universe, or what will come.

On Educational Neuroscience (AKA Brainbased Education)  As far as I am concerned this is a rudimentary knowledge for each and every educator K-16. Parents need to know something about how their kids’ brains work too! 

  • Teaching the male brain  –  Corwin Press – Abigail James has written a book on the male brain. The title is deceptive as the book is chocked full of information on the importance of experiential learning, not only to males but to those females who respond better to hands-on learning. This is a must have book for today’s teachers, and also ones suitable for parents.
  • How the brain learns (4th edition)  –  Corwin Press. David A. Sousa is one of the more credible authors who writes about brainbased learning. His work is also very readable and he offers lots of information and numerous helpful hints about brain compatible learning and  illustrations on brain functions. One of the reasons I am recommending him over others is that this particular book is quite readable but he doesn’t shy away from offering readers technical information on the brain and learning. The two things I especially like about Sousa’s work is that he updates his books frequently and he includes ideas for bringing materials into the classroom.
  • A whole new mind – Riverside Books – Daniel Pink gives readers a “heads up” on what kind of thinkers/learners will be needed in the future. Much of the world is stuck with the image of the classic, traditional scholar. In his pivotal work Pink warns that tasks for the future will require a whole new way of thinking. We need to listen to what he says!

Embodied and experiential learning:

Books that have the potential to change the world.

  • The partnership way: New tools for living and learning. Eisler, Riane and Loye, David Loye. Holistic Education Press.  If you are interested in a thought provoking read about the differences in societies, I would also recommend Eisler’s seminal work The chalice and the blade: Our history; our future. (HarperOne) and her book Tomorrow’s Children: A Blueprint For Partnership Education In The 21st Century (Basic Books).
  • The soul of education: Helping students find connection, compassion, and character at School. Kessler, Rachael (2000) Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development. Kessler’s legacy leads to thinking about educating children in a more holistic and gentle way.
  • The universal schoolhouse: Spiritual awakening through education. Moffett, James. Jossey-Bass, Inc. Publishers.

Books that inspire and reassure.