30 Best Books for Professional Development


Here is a moment of honesty for you: I hate when my administration sets up book study groups on ANY topic for professional development as I am stubborn and dislike others telling me what to read. ? And, the books they always pick put me to sleep! But, I like to read professional development books to learn what other teachers and professionals recommend. And, I want to read what other teachers are reading. So I asked some teachers in our Fearless First Grade Teachers Facebook group, and like always, they came through with some good ideas. So, I’ve compiled a list of 30 of the best books for professional development. I am already reading #12 with #23 waiting patiently on my nightstand!

Teacher Recommended Books for Professional Development

1–The Innovator’s Mindset: Empower Learning, Unleash Talent, And Learn A Culture of Creativity George Couros  

This book by George Couros encourages teachers to delve into their innovator mindset. Because if we are in the right mindset we can empower the students to keep their wonder and curiosity.

2–Teach Like a Pirate: Increase Student Engagement, Boost Your Creativity, and Transform Your Life as an Educator  –Dave Burgess 

This book promises to help you “Transform your class into a life-changing experience for your students.” Dave Burgess suggests 30 hooks to captivate your class. And, he includes 170 brainstorming questions to guide your creative ideas in engagement.

3– Fostering Resilient Learners: A Trauma-Sensitive ClassroomKristin Souers and Pete Hall 

I have read this book twice and highly recommend it to other teachers. Sometimes, our students come from trauma-based experiences. Thus, we need to recognize trauma and engage with sensitivity with our students.

4What Great Teachers Do Differently: 17 Things That Matter Most – Todd Whitaker

Teachers like myself struggle to find the inspiration to stay within this field, mainly because the last two years have worn some of us down! But, Todd Whitaker writes about how meaningful relationships are in education. And he offers some insight and inspiration.

Professional Development Books on Growth Mindset

5–Mindset: The New Psychology of SuccessCarol Dweck 

First, change the mindset. Then, change the level of success. According to Carol Dweck, working with teachers and kids to have a growth mindset increases levels of accomplishment.

6–Mindsets in the Classroom: Building a Culture of Success and Student Achievement in SchoolsMary Cay Ricci

School and class culture have changed so much! But, we keep changing with them! I love the author’s step-by-step approach to building a classroom centered around a growth mindset.

7–The Way of Mindful Education: Cultivating Well-Being in Teachers and StudentsDaniel Rechtschaffen

“The Way of Mindful Education is a practical guide for cultivating attention, compassion, and well-being in these students and mindfulness in teachers themselves.”

Professional Development Books to Inspire Changes

8–Flip Your Classroom: Reach Every Student in Every Class Every DayJonathan Bergmann, Aaron Sams

This book has perked my interest! It moves toward reaching our students better when we personalize our support. And, it suggests that teaching to individuals with less teacher instruction and more 1:1 will improve engagement.

9–Teaching with Intention: Defining Beliefs, Aligning Practice, Taking Action  –Debbie Miller 

This book genuinely inspired me as I have always had an intense personal philosophy on education and classroom needs. But, I questioned whether all of my personal beliefs aligned with my mission in my classroom. Well, this book has assisted me in identifying my intentional beliefs and aligning them with my teaching.

10–The First Days of School, How to Be an Effective TeacherHarry Wong and Rosemary T. Wong

This book is considered a classic that every teacher, from a newbie to an experienced veteran, should read every year. Why? Because it helps to revisit the need for structure and consistency. The authors focus on the start of every school year. But we need it all year long!

11–Limitless MindJo Boaler

Our brains are not “fixed.” And our skills are not determined by our DNA. This book focuses on using a growth mindset to create immeasurable potential in ourselves and our students.

More Teacher Friend Recommendations

12–Balance Like a PirateJessica Cabeen, Jessica Johnson, and Sarah Johnson  

Well, work and life balance are essential but hard to obtain! But, these three authors help you achieve more balance in your life. And, it may ignite your passion again for teaching!

13–Teach Like Your Hair is on FireRafe Esquith

This book has tips, techniques, and innovations from the “most famous fifth-grade teacher in America.” His suggestions range from academic tips to personal codes of behavior.

14–Total Participation Techniques Persida Himmele & William Himmele

First, these total participation techniques offer teachers many ways to engage students in active learning. As a result, active learning allows them to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding. 

15–Help for Billy by Heather Forbes

Help for Billy: A Beyond Consequences Approach to Helping Challenging Children in the Classroom is phenomenal!  Heather Forbes gives “detailed, comprehensive, and logical strategies for teachers and parents working with challenging children experiencing trauma.” Plus, a workbook is available if your staff may consider this in a book study group.

16– The Daily 5, Second Edition by Gail Boushey &  Joan Moser

The Daily 5 serves as a handbook for any teacher! The authors help to structure your literacy and math groups. And, they give tips to provide impactful small group and one-on-one instruction.

And More from Our Teachers

17–Know Better, Do Better: Teaching the Foundations So Every Child Can Read by Meredith Liben & David Liben 

The goal of this book is right in the title: here is how we can have the skills necessary to have every student reading. Plus, the authors based their book on research on the poor reading skills of many students.

18–Differentiated Classroom, The: Responding to the Needs of All Learners (ASCD)  by Carol Ann Tomlinson 

We all need this book! In my special needs classroom, I differentiate ALL OF THE TIME! So, I thought I knew it ALL! But, you will learn from this book just like I did!

19–The Happy Teacher Habits: 11 Habits of the Happiest, Most Effective Teachers on Earth by Michael Linsin 

With a billing like the one below, I need this book TODAY!

“What do daffodils, baseball announcing, and Tina Fey have to do with teaching? As it turns out, a lot. In The Happy Teacher Habits, Michael Linsin guides you through 11 little-known habits of the happiest, most effective teachers on Earth.”

Additional Inspiring Professional Development Books

20–I Notice: A Step-by-Step Guide to Transform Student Potential Through Building Intentional Relationships by Claire E. Hallinan

We have all heard of how important relationship building is in the classroom. This book combines those intentional relationships with simple “I notice…” statements to change your classroom!

21–Classroom Management for Elementary Teachers: 15 Strategies to Manage Challenging Behaviors and Create a Responsive Classroom by Freya Fan 

Finally, a book that serves as a guide we want to read! It gives us different techniques to develop a positive classroom environment. And, it may boost your self-esteem as a teacher in the process!

22–Hacking Classroom Management: 10 Ideas To Help You Become the Type of Teacher They Make Movies About by Mike Roberts 

So have you seen an inspiring movie where the lead is based on a fantastic real-life teacher? With this book, the author states you can quickly learn the ten ideas you can use today to be that teacher!

23–I Wish My Teacher Knew: How One Question Can Change Everything for Our Kids by Kyle Schwartz 

One day, third-grade teacher Kyle Schwartz asked her students to fill in the blank in this sentence: “I wish my teacher knew _____.” The results made me cry!

Must Read Professional Development Books

24–Culturally Responsive Teaching & the Brain by Zaretta Hammond

Culturally Responsive Teaching and The Brain: Promoting Authentic Engagement and Rigor Among Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students is quite the title! But, this book lives up to it. As all teachers need to be culturally responsive to their students, sometimes, we need assistance meeting that goal. And this book personally helped me so much in my room!

25–50 Literacy Strategies for Culturally Responsive Teaching, K-8 by Patricia Ruggiano Schmidt, Wen Ma

This book helps teachers be more aware of diversity. And it gives practical strategies for teachers to make their literacy teaching culturally responsive.

26–What Teachers Make: In Praise of the Greatest Job in the World by Taylor Mali

Have you heard the original poem “What Teachers Make”? Taylor Mali brilliantly responded to a snide question at a dinner party! 

27–The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher’s Life by Parker J. Palmer

Well, this author promises to take “teachers on an inner journey.” And he wants to reignite every teacher’s passion for teaching! Thus, I am in!

And Some Final Teacher Recommended Books

28–What It Means to Be a Teacher: A Celebration of the Humor, Heart, and Hero in Every Classroom by Jenn Larson

Well, does any teacher need some humor and heart to rekindle their love of teaching? Well, I am reading this book to hopefully have some laughs!

29–Kids Deserve It!: Pushing Boundaries and Challenging Conventional Thinking by Todd Nesloney

“Be inspired to take risks, shake up the status quo, and be a champion for your students.” How can we not read this book!

30–Putting Teachers First: How to Inspire, Motivate, and Connect with Your Staff (Eye on Education) by Brad Johnson

Now, a book that every principal should keep on their desk! And, let’s put teachers first!

⭐️⭐️⭐️ BONUS ⭐️⭐️⭐️

If you are wondering when you will possibly ever have the time to read any of these books, don’t worry, ETTC has you covered. Join thousands of other primary teachers who are a part of our weekly email course Teaching Tiny Humans. Each week, we send out short emails that may include book lists, teaching strategies, classroom activities, freebies, and other teaching information. It’s a quick and easy way to learn some new things when you have a limited amount of time.

First off, this list was fantastic to create! Now, I am inspired to build time into my schedule to read some of these great titles! And, thank you to our Fearless Teachers for some great suggestions! Well, are you looking for some inspiration yourself? Or are you looking for a gift for a teacher friend? Please let us know if any of these books helped you or your class in any way! As we would love to hear from some of you!


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