I cried when my family listened to FRINDLE on CD last Thanksgiving. Yes, that’s the mid-grade novel about a ball-point pen. But bigger than that, it’s the story of a teacher allowing her student to make discoveries and learn well beyond the classroom.
Last month I read LOVE THAT DOG, another lovely teacher book. Today I finished a book that was hopeful and beautiful.
THE YEAR OF MISS AGNES, by Kirkpatrick Hill
Hill has created more than just an appealing cast of characters; she introduces readers to a whole community and makes a long-ago and faraway place seem real and very much alive. This is an inspirational story about Alaska, the old and new ways, a very special teacher, and the influence that she has over everyone she meets. A wonderful read-aloud to start off the school year.Kit Vaughan, Midlothian Middle School, VA
Here are some other favorites:
UP THE DOWN STAIRCASE, by Bel Kaufman
Never before has a novel so compellingly laid bare the inner workings of a metropolitan high school. Up the Down Staircase is the funny and touching story of a committed, idealistic teacher whose dash with school bureaucracy is a timeless lesson for students, teachers, parents–anyone concerned about public education. Bel Kaufman lets her characters speak for themselves through memos, letters, directives from the principal, comments by students, notes between teachers, and papers from desk drawers and wastebaskets, evoking a vivid picture of teachers fighting the good fight against all that stands in the way of good teaching.
CHRISTY, by Catherine Marshall
“An inspiring story. With skill, Catherine Marshall has described human qualities common to all people everywhere.” — Boston Globe
Years ago, while visiting my sister, I ran out of books to read. I found a copy of Christy in her guest-room closet. She had found it — an autographed copy — at a garage sale. And because my sister is one wonderful person, she sent me home with the book.
TISHA, by Robert Specht
Anne Hobbs is a prim and proper 19-year-old schoolteacher who yearns for adventure. She finds this and much more in a town with the unlikely name of Chicken, located deep in the Alaskan interior. It is 1927 and Chicken is a wild mining community flaming with gold fever. Anne quickly makes friends with many of the townspeople, but is soon ostracized when she not only befriends the local Indians but also falls in love with one. A heartwarming story in the tradition of Benedict Freedman’s classic, Mrs. Mike, Tisha is one of those rare books that stays with the reader for years, beckoning to be read again and again. –MaudeenWachsmith
I found an old copy of TISHA at my grandparents’ house and remember sitting up with it late into the night.
TO SIR, WITH LOVE, by E.R. Braithwaite
This book follows E.R. Braithwaite’s teaching experiences in the slums of London. I read this as an exchange student, when my Australian teacher gave it to me. I’d already read the assigned book, A PATCH OF BLUE. Both books deal with racism and both movie versions star Sidney Poitier. I suppose these were reason enough for my teacher to give me this second story. Thanks, Ms. Kronitis! Reading this book encouraged me to teach.
In honor of the new school year (my sons started class today) and to all of those who work so hard to make a difference in children’s lives, thank you.
Are there any teacher books you can think of to round out my list?