What to read this summer – Hapara’s 2017 summer reading list for educators

May 10, 2017 | For the Classroom, Leadership


Erin Harding

Head of Content | Hapara

The end of the school year can bring on a lot of challenges for educators – testing, grading, learners who just want to be anywhere else… But it also means that summer is that much closer, and with it, some time for educators to relax, reflect and focus on themselves for a bit.

One of our favorite summer pastimes is tackling our summer reading lists (they’re not just for kids!), so we put together a list of some of the titles we’ll be tackling this summer and that we think the educators in our lives will enjoy as well.

We’ve broken the list into three categories. The biggest is Professional Growth and is full of titles that will help you reflect on your past year of work and offer some interesting ideas to consider as you plan for next fall. We’ve also included some titles for Personal Growth and Beach Reading, because honestly, your summer is all about focusing on you, and who doesn’t love a good beach read?

Professional Growth

Screen Shot 2017-05-10 at 11.44.16 AM.pngLead Like a Pirate: Make School Amazing for Your Students and Staff by Shelley Burgess and Beth Houf

First we learned to Teach Like a Pirate, then we learned to Learn Like a Pirate, now Shelley Burgess and Beth Houf are showing us how to Lead Like a Pirate. As experienced educators and school leaders, Burgess and Houf explain what it takes to be a PIRATE leader (have Passion, Immerse yourself in your work, have a good Rapport with your staff, students and community, Ask questions and Analyze what is and isn’t working, seek positive Transformation, and have Enthusiasm). Pair this book with some time following and participating in the #LeadLAP twitter chat to connect with other PIRATE school leaders and to uncover some great additional resources.


Screen Shot 2017-05-10 at 11.44.07 AM.pngTeaching in the Fast Lane: How to Create Active Learning Experiences by Suzy Pepper Rollins

If you’re looking to create a more learner-centered classroom where learners take responsibility for their own learning, but struggling to find the delicate balance between providing autonomy and structure, this new title from Suzy Pepper Rollins offers practical tips and strategies to help educators “let go” and create more active learning experiences.


Screen Shot 2017-05-10 at 11.43.53 AM.pngPeer Feedback in the Classroom: Empowering Learners to be the Experts by Starr Sackstein

We often talk about the importance of giving learners control over their own education and honoring their voices in the classroom. One way to do that is by giving learners the opportunity to be the experts and provide feedback to their peers. In her new book, Sackstein provides insight into why this practice is so important, what meaningful feedback looks like, and how to implement peer feedback in your own teaching practice.


Screen Shot 2017-05-10 at 11.43.39 AM.pngBuilding Equity: Policies and Practices to Empower All Learners by Dominique Smith, Nancy E Frey, Ian Pumpian, Douglas B Fisher

Our ultimate goal is to make sure all learners feel valued, cared for and empowered at school. In this book, Smith, Frey, Pumpian and Fisher lay out their Equity Taxonomy and Equity Audit – two tools that will help you develop the policies and initiatives needed to ensure all of your learners receive equitable education experiences.


Screen Shot 2017-05-10 at 11.39.57 AM.png10 Mindful Minutes: Giving Our Children the Social and Emotional Skills to Lead Smarter, Healthier, and Happier Lives by Goldie Hawn and Wendy Holden

Helping learners grow as people goes beyond making sure they know how to write a cohesive essay or problem solve their way through a complex math equation. In this book, Hawn and Holden talk about how mindfulness can help children learn better and become happier. They provide 10 minute exercises learners can practice to reduce their stress, increase concentration, and manage their emotions better in day to day life.


Screen Shot 2017-05-10 at 11.39.43 AM.pngVisible Learners: Promoting Reggio-Inspired Approaches in All Schools by Mara Krechevsky

If you don’t know about Reggio Emilia yet, you should. Read to learn more about how visible classrooms focus around learning that is purposeful, social, emotional, empowering, and representational. Key practices and classroom examples are shared.


Screen Shot 2017-05-10 at 11.39.30 AM.pngA New Culture of Learning by Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown

Thomas and Brown look at the challenges that our education and learning environments face in a fresh, positive way. Need to remember why you are in education? Need a fresh perspective? Read this book.


Screen Shot 2017-05-10 at 11.39.19 AM.pngFree to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life by Peter Gray

The power of play in learning and self regulation is real, but it’s also undervalued as students progress through school. Take some time to investigate how play informs learning.


Screen Shot 2017-05-10 at 11.24.33 AM.pngCreating Cultures of Thinking by Ron Ritchhart

Creating a culture of thinking is more important to learning than any particular curriculum and Ritchhart outlines how any school or teacher can accomplish this by leveraging 8 cultural forces: expectations, language, time, modeling, opportunities, routines, interactions, and environment.


Screen Shot 2017-05-10 at 11.38.42 AM.pngFutureWise: Education Our Children for a Changing World by David Perkins There is no one answer to the question of what’s worth teaching, but with the tools in this book, you’ll be one step closer to constructing a curriculum that prepares learners for whatever situations they might face in the future.

Personal Growth

Screen Shot 2017-05-10 at 11.27.33 AM.pngYou are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living An Awesome Life by Jen Sincero

It’s like having your own personal (hilarious) success coach encapsulated in a NY Times best selling book.



Screen Shot 2017-05-10 at 11.27.20 AM.pngThe Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo

In her wildly popular book, Kondo says she can teach us to simplify and organize once so that we never have to do it again. Spark joy by reading this book instead of signing up for her 3 month client waiting list. We also hear none of her past clients have lapsed.


Screen Shot 2017-05-10 at 11.27.09 AM.pngOption B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant

After suddenly losing her husband in 2015, Sandberg feel into a deep depression. Option B tells the her story of building resilience, as well as the stories of a broad range of others who have experienced loss, hardship and trauma. With this book, we can learn how to help others in crisis, develop compassion for ourselves, raise strong children, and create resilient families, communities, and workplaces.


Screen Shot 2017-05-10 at 11.26.58 AM.png10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works–A True Story by Dan Harris

This book walks through the power of mindfulness in increasing calm, focus and happiness. It’s written by Dan Harris, a Good Morning America host who had a panic attack live on TV. He shares his journey speaking to neuroscientists, spiritualists and many others to learn how to meditate, all while giving practical tips for how to incorporate meditation into daily life.


Screen Shot 2017-05-10 at 11.26.48 AM.pngThe Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander

Rosamund Stone Zander is a family therapist and executive coach. Her husband, Benjamin Zander is the conductor of the Boston Philharmonic. In The Art of Possibility, they weave together their unique perspectives to present twelve practices for bringing creativity into all human endeavors.

Beach Reads

Screen Shot 2017-05-10 at 11.26.35 AM.pngThe Assistants by Camille Perri

Nothing is more dangerous than a well read woman they say…It’s been labeled “addictive, hilarious, and smart. It’s “9 to 5 for the student loan generation” and Publishers Weekly describes it as “if the characters from HBO’s Girls were capable of larceny and blackmail.”


Screen Shot 2017-05-10 at 11.26.22 AM.pngThirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Not your typical light-hearted beach read, this YA novel was the inspiration for Netflix’s controversial new series 13 Reasons Why. For anyone working with teens and young adults, it’s a jarring reminder to take a closer look at those students who may be struggling with much bigger problems than getting their homework done.


Screen Shot 2017-05-10 at 11.26.10 AM.pngA Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

Ove is curmudgeonly, cranky and stubborn but you can’t help but fall in love with him. This book manages to be a charming, easy read while still triggering every emotion possible. And for those rainy summer days when you can’t make it to the beach, the Swedish-language film version, which was nominated for two Academy Awards, is currently on Netflix.


Screen Shot 2017-05-10 at 11.25.45 AM.pngMilk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

Not all beach reads need to be novels. This lovely collection of poetry tackles some of our darkest pains and heartaches with a healing sweetness.


Screen Shot 2017-05-10 at 11.25.30 AM.pngNorse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman brings his unique voice and wit to the classic tales of Norse Mythology in this fantastical novel as he re-spins the tales of Odin, Thor and Loki.

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