Remember that time that one of your students was having a really bad day and you pulled him aside and gave him a pep talk and then recommended a really great book? And remember how the next day he showed up to school talking about the story and clearly in a much better mood? A great story can do that.
Now it’s time to take a big dose of your own advice: Whether the school year has you feeling stressed, frantic or exhausted, a good book really can be the best medicine. And even if you don’t have time to stop and read, you can load up an audiobook and listen in while you’re driving to work, cleaning the house or running one of the bazillion errands you have to do this week.
The following recommendations contain affiliate links, but all opinions are our own. Plus, you can get two free audiobooks when you sign up for Audible, which is pretty cool.
Audiobooks for When You Need to Regain Your Faith in Humanity
You love your kids. They are sweet and precious, but … they are also, occasionally, a bit tempestuous. And on those days when angst overtakes the adorableness, you’ll need a little something to help you regain your faith in humanity and remember the many reasons that you teach.
1. A Man Called Ove
Speaking of tempestuous, Ove could out-angst even your middle schoolers. Yet even on his most bitter days, he’s no match for the hilariously kind kids next door and their gotta-love-them parents.
This sometimes heart-wrenching, sometimes tear-jerking and often thought-provoking book will not only end up on your favorites list, it will also likely become one of those audiobooks that you let your students listen to again and again and again.
3. Gathering Blue
Nothing like a dystopian novel to help you feel like we have it pretty darn good even in modern-day America. And in this one, they find color and hope in the end.
4. Counting by 7s
Willow Chance is different. But sometimes (OK, oftentimes), different is a good thing. And this book will have you crying, laughing and then cheering her on as she figures out how “different” really means awesome.
5. Because of Winn-Dixie
OK, so technically this book will help you regain your faith in mankind and animal-kind, but either way, there is nothing better than a great story about dogs, kids and the friendships they have.
Audiobooks to Get You Pumped Up for the School Day
Sure, you have your triple Americano to get that blood pumping, but pair that with an inspirational audiobook during your morning commute and you’ll walk into the building ready to teach.
6. Moonwalking With Einstein
You know those crazy people who can memorize pi to the zillionth numeral? Turns out they are just normal people who have figured out how to focus their brains in extraordinary ways. In this story, a normal reporter with average intelligence trains his brain to do amazing things and demonstrates that anyone—yes, anyone—can accomplish incredible feats with focus, drive and some helpful brain-training tricks.
7. The End of Molasses Classes
This book boasts that it has 101 extraordinary solutions to getting our kids unstuck. And if even one of the 101 solutions works, imagine how much it would change your classroom for the better.
8. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
Wouldn’t it be nice to get some insight into what gets your kids excited to learn and grow? That’s what this surprisingly provocative and interesting book is all about. (And you’ll learn a bit about your own motivation as well.)
9. Britt-Marie Was Here
As you well know, it’s all about the kids. It’s the reason you get up every day and do what you do. And this hilarious story—we dare you to get through the first chapter without laughing out loud—will remind you of exactly why you teach.
Audiobooks to Listen to as You Clean Your House
You have about three and a half hours of free time a week, and the last thing you want to do is spend them cleaning. Well, except that it would be nice to have something to wear on Monday morning. The solution: audiobooks. These books are such page turners that you’ll want to carefully scrub your baseboards with a Q-tip just so you can listen to the next chapter.
10. What Alice Forgot
Picture this: You forgot the last 10 years of your life. Your husband is hardly recognizable, your kids are grow up and … the person in the mirror has gained a few pounds and quite a few wrinkles. Now what? Well, you’ll have to clean your house to find out.
11. Ready Player One
If you were a kid during the ’80s or ’90s, you’ll find yourself singing old songs, remembering old movies and reminiscing about old video games as you follow Wade Watts on his epic quest to win the biggest prize in the world.
12. The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio
Have you ever wondered who writes all of those commercial jingles that get stuck in your head? Well, now you’ll know. (And as an added bonus, this feel-good memoir will inspire you to dream big, even if your dream involves contests, $25 prizes and a closet full of free televisions.)
Audiobooks That You’ll Binge On All Weekend and Then Bring to School to Share With Your Students
Sometimes you just need to spend the weekend lounging in your pajamas with a hot cup of coffee in hand. But if you’re listening to an audiobook—one that, say, you can then work into your curriculum next week—then you’re technically working while lounging. Look at you, you Weekend Warrior, you.
13. Every Soul a Star
Sometimes the best friendships are the ones that are the least expected … and in the case of Ally, Bree and Jack, the best friendships were forged in the light of a magical solar eclipse that will change them forever.
14. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
We know you’ve heard this story at least a dozen times, but have you heard the audio version that’s read by Roald Dahl himself? Something about his voice reading his quintessential story makes it feel like you’re hearing it for the first time.
15. The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place
The children at Ashton Place were literally raised by wolves, which means that after hearing this story, your own students will seem perfectly well-behaved. (Bonus: The children’s governess, Miss Lumley, has all sorts of cool tricks up her sleeve that may, in fact, translate to awesome management tricks for your classroom.)
16. The Girl Who Drank the Moon
If you think drinking the moon sounds hard, imagine teaming up with swamp monsters and a tiny dragon to save your hometown. Go on an epic adventure and share with your kids a modern fairy tale that will have them holding their breath.
Important Stories About Important Topics That Will Get You Thinking About Anything but Standardized Testing
We get it: You have a lot on your mind right now. And to be honest, these books will likely make it so you have more on your mind. But sometimes a big, weighty book about a big, weighty topic is exactly what you need to learn, to grow and to expand your mind. (And hey, if you need something to think about when you’re administering testing, these will definitely do the trick.)
17. Hillbilly Elegy
We admit that this memoir about poverty, culture and growing up in blue-collar America is a bit disturbing when you consider the many ramifications for our culture. But what better story to equip you to teach kids who come from all walks of life?
18. All the Light We Cannot See
This is not a light story, but it’s certainly one you won’t be able to stop listening to. So grab a pair of headphones and listen in to a life-changing story about a blind girl caught in the horrors of World War II.
19. The Nightingale
We warned you that the books in this category would make you think, and this one definitely will do that. It’s a hard story but one that we all should know so that history’s mistakes don’t repeat themselves.
20. Little Bee
This incredible story about a strong, smart and world-changing refugee woman will help you see the plight of immigrants in a whole new light.
21. When Breath Becomes Air
A young neurosurgeon reflects on his own terminal cancer diagnosis and asks what makes life worth living. (Spoiler: It’s definitely not loads of money or a high-profile job.)
Audiobooks That Will Make You Feel Like You’re on Vacation
So what if you aren’t getting whisked off to the island of Capri. You can pretend you are on vacation with one of these super-indulgent, super-fun audiobooks. Mai tai optional. OK, mai tai strongly recommended.
22. Primates of Park Avenue
Travel to New York City with the richest of the rich and take a tiny peek into their exotic, glamorous and, yes, often stressful lives. (Best of all, you’ll end up feeling grateful that you don’t have to worry about spilling coffee on a purse that costs more than your mortgage payment. Oh, the stress!)
23. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Toulane
There is no one like Kate DiCamillo when it comes to going on an adventure. And Edward Toulane’s journey is no exception as you travel with him through oceans, camps and cities until he finds exactly what he’s looking for.
24. The Paris Wife
Love. Passion. Intrigue. And an amazing glimpse into 1920s Paris that will have you wishing you could travel back in time.
25. The Art of Travel
Nothing can get you into a vacation mood like talking about how to make the most of a vacation. Full of fun tips, amazing advice and inspiration, this book will definitely get you thinking about a place far, far away.
What do you say, teachers? Do any of the above titles catch your eye? Please share your recommendations in the comments. And remember that you can get two free audiobooks when you sign up for Audible.