For Teacher Appreciation Week, we’re featuring three books that celebrate teachers and the hard work you do. Share them with your class—and with your colleagues. They’ll be sure to make you smile.
1. My Teacher
Written and illustrated by James Ransome
Grades pre-K – 2
There are so few books that accurately and lovingly depict urban classrooms. That’s why we love this sweet ode to a teacher who embraces and engages her school and its community. “It’s a story to honor all the teachers who come in early, leave late and collect artifacts, do research and read during their summer break,” Ransome writes on his website. “I hope you enjoy it.” Trust us—you will!
Activity to try: Invite students to write their own letters of appreciation to a librarian, art teacher, or another important figure at your school. Have students illustrate the letters and present them at a ceremony during Teacher Appreciation Week.
Written and illustrated by Patricia Polacco
Raise your hand if you’re a Patricia Polacco fan. Is that everyone? Yeah, we thought so. One of our favorite picture book authors has done it again with this story about a struggling reader who is accepted to a high school art class, where she learns from a special teacher that self-expression and learning come in many different forms. You’ll be reaching for the Kleenex with this one.
Activity to try: Ask students why they think the substitute in the story says that art is a waste of time. What do students think about the role of art in our lives? Challenge them to write a short essay about what art means to them.
By Taylor Mali
For teachers everywhere!
First: If you haven’t seen Mali’s moving video about a teacher’s true compensation, watch it here. Then pick up this inspirational book based on his much-loved and shared words. Without a doubt, we need more people like Mali standing up and talking about the importance of teachers and their value to society. Maybe it will be you?
Dumbledore? Viola Swamp? Who are your favorite teachers from literature? Here are a few other fictional teachers we love.