Teachers' Tips: Books

Which book inspires you as a teacher?

Compiled by Canada’s History

August 29, 2018

Seven Sacred Teachings

by David Bouchard

“David Bouchard is by far my favourite author. He is a man who continually inspires me. The Seven Sacred Teachings forms the foundation of my classroom. When my students can understand what the Seven Sacred Teachings mean and they can take them in and they can internalize them and make them meaningful in their own lives and they can point to things in their own learning when they see them. Huge inspiration.”

— Maxine Hildebrandt, Elementary School Teacher

Pedagogy of the Oppressed

by Paulo Freire

“Before I became a teacher, I read Pedagogy of the Oppressed and I think it opened my mind for teaching as a possibility as a real way to make change.”

— Temma Frecker, Middle School Teacher

When We Were Alone

by David Robertson

“Just beautifully-written. In the story it’s all about how life at residential school was so black and white, and unhappy versus the colourfulness and happiness when they were able to practice their culture. It’s also got beautiful similes in it. It’s just a gorgeous book. Maybe for younger children, but really good for Orange Shirt Day”

— Jean Moir, Elementary School Teacher

Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art

by Stephen Nachmanovitch

“It inspires me because it helps me access my creative and playful side.”

— Sara McFarlane, Elementary School Teacher

The Gift of Reading 

by David Bouchard

“This is a book I was first introduced to at least twenty years ago and I was inspired by the message at the time. The gift of reading is that reading is open to everyone. Literacy is not just a gift to the select. It doesn’t matter what your access track is for literacy. An audiobook version is just as useful and is going to allow you to get the information that you need, as much as if you were going over the text with your own eyeball. So I do remember those twenty years ago, making that connection. It transformed my thinking to realize that literacy is open to everyone; It doesn’t matter what your pathway is.”

— Lisl Gunderman, Elementary School Teacher

Thinking Like a Historian

by Nikki Mandel and Bobbie Malone

“This is a must-read for teachers. It is an American book and it does talk about American history, but it is so easily transferrable to a Canadian classroom. In the book, they reimagine the historical thinking skills and explain it a bit differently than I have seen previously. They will give a not-great example of a lesson and then a great example of a lesson. So it gives you an idea to think ‘maybe what I’ve been doing is not that great and I should shift it to be more like this example.’”

— Christina Iorio, High School Teacher

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night

by Mark Haddon

“The book that I have given every student-teacher who I have ever had teach for me is The Curious Case of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon, which is a story of a boy who is on the Autism-spectrum and is trying to interpret the world. I always say that for us to teach students effectively we must try to see the world through their eyes, and sometimes that doesn’t make sense to us, but its our job to try to understand it as best as we can.”

— Matthew McCutcheon, Middle School Teacher

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