Top 20 Summer Books for Teachers in 2024: Professional Growth, Inspiration, and Leisure

5 Min Read  •  Professional Development

Summer is the perfect time for teachers to unwind, recharge, and find inspiration for the upcoming school year. Whether you’re looking to enhance your professional practice, dive into non-fiction to spark your curiosity and creativity, or simply escape with a good fiction read, this curated list of 20 books has something for everyone.

2024 summer reading list for teachers

Professional Development

  1. Rethinking Intelligence by Rina Bliss Rina Bliss challenges the conventional understanding of intelligence, offering fresh insights into how we measure and value cognitive abilities. This book is essential for educators looking to support diverse learners and rethink assessment strategies. Listen to our podcast interview here.
  2. The Habit Mechanic by Dr. Jon Finn Discover the science behind habit formation and learn practical strategies to foster positive habits in yourself and your students. Dr. Jon Finn provides actionable tools to enhance well-being and performance in the classroom. Listen to our podcast episode here. 
  3. The Classroom Behavior Manual by Scott Ervin Scott Ervin, known as “The Kid Whisperer,” provides a comprehensive guide to managing classroom behavior. His manual offers practical, compassionate techniques to create a positive learning environment and address challenging behaviors effectively. Listen to our podcast episode here.
  4. The Teacher’s Principal by Dr. Jen Schwanke Dr. Jen Schwanke explores the vital relationship between teachers and principals, providing insights into how collaborative leadership can enhance school culture and student outcomes. This book is a valuable resource for building strong, supportive partnerships in education. Listen to our podcast episode here.
  5. Hack Your Bureaucracy by Marina Nitze Marina Nitze offers strategies to navigate and reform bureaucratic systems within schools. This book is a must-read for educators and administrators seeking to implement meaningful changes and improve school efficiency. Listen to our podcast episode here.

Non-Fiction Inspiration

  1. Art is About Being Whole by Cindy Ingram Cindy Ingram explores the transformative power of art, advocating for its integration not just in the curriculum but as a means of fostering holistic growth as humans. This book inspires teachers to use art to nurture emotional well-being, creativity, and a sense of wholeness in themselves first. Listen to our podcast episode here. 
  2. The Song of Significance by Seth Godin Seth Godin explores what it means to do meaningful work and create a significant impact. This book will inspire educators to find purpose in their teaching and foster a sense of significance in their students’ lives. Listen to our podcast episode here.
  3. What Works: A Comprehensive Framework to Change the Way We Approach Goal Setting by Tara McMullin Tara McMullin offers a new perspective on goal setting, focusing on sustainability and personal fulfillment. Her framework helps teachers set achievable, meaningful goals that align with their values and professional aspirations.
  4. Your Brain on Art by Susan Magsamen, Ivy Ross Delve into the fascinating intersection of neuroscience and art with this book by Susan Magsamen and Ivy Ross. Learn how engaging with art can enhance brain function, creativity, and emotional health, making it a valuable addition to any educator’s toolkit. Listen to our podcast episode here.
  5. The Creative Act: A Way of Being by Rick Rubin Legendary music producer Rick Rubin shares his philosophy on creativity and the creative process. This book provides profound insights and practical advice for teachers seeking to cultivate creativity in themselves and their students.
  6. The Success Myth: Let Go of Having It All by Emma Gannon Emma Gannon dismantles the myth of having it all, encouraging readers to define success on their own terms. This book is a refreshing reminder for educators to prioritize well-being and authenticity over societal expectations.

Fiction for Leisure

  1. What You Wish For by Katherine Center Katherine Center’s heartwarming novel follows a quirky librarian who must find joy amidst life’s challenges. This uplifting story is perfect for teachers seeking a feel-good read with a touch of romance.
  2. Did You Hear About Kitty Karr? By Crystal Smith Paul A riveting tale of secrets and legacy, Crystal Smith Paul’s novel unravels the mysteries of a Hollywood icon’s life. This compelling story will captivate readers with its rich character development and intriguing plot twists. Very similar to The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, if you’re a fan of that story from Taylor Jenkins Reed.
  3. Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reed Set against the backdrop of 1980s Malibu, this novel by Taylor Jenkins Reed tells the story of a family’s annual summer party that changes everything. It’s a gripping, character-driven narrative ideal for beach reading.
  4. Funny Story by Emily Henry Emily Henry’s charming and witty novel explores love and self-discovery through the eyes of a struggling stand-up comedian. It’s a delightful and humorous read that’s perfect for a summer escape.
  5. The Humans by Matt Haig In this thought-provoking and often humorous novel, Matt Haig tells the story of an alien who learns about humanity through the life of a Cambridge professor. It’s a unique and uplifting exploration of what it means to be human.
  6. The Lost Bookshop by Evie Woods Evie Woods weaves a magical tale of a hidden bookshop and the power of stories to change lives. This enchanting novel is a must-read for book lovers and those who believe in the transformative power of literature.
  7. Where the Forest Meets the Stars by Glendy Vanderah Glendy Vanderah’s novel blends mystery, romance, and the supernatural in a story about a young girl who changes the lives of those around her. It’s an absorbing read perfect for a summer afternoon.
  8. An American Beauty by Shana Abe Set in the Gilded Age, Shana Abe’s historical novel tells the story of a woman who defies societal expectations to find love and independence. It’s a beautifully written, captivating tale of resilience and romance. If you loved the HBO series The Gilded Age, you’ll love this book.
  9. The Heaven and Earth Grocery Story by James McBride James McBride’s novel is a heartwarming and richly layered story about a small community and the grocery store that serves as its heart. It’s a beautifully crafted narrative that will leave readers feeling inspired and connected.

These 20 books offer a diverse mix of professional development, inspirational non-fiction, and engaging fiction to make your summer reading both enjoyable and enriching. And if you need a few more ideas, check our recommendation lists from 2023, 2022202120202019, and 2018.Happy reading!