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39 Touching Kids Books About Teachers

Updated Feb. 12, 2019

Some of our most formative years are spent in classrooms, giving teachers ample opportunity to influence young minds. While certainly not all teachers are created equal, there are so many truly amazing teachers out there who care about their students—their minds, their goals, their failures, and their successes. I still remember many of my teachers and the impact they had on me. My first grade teacher who loved to read, my third grade reading teacher who had us start off each lesson with a jingle, my fourth grade teacher who used a soft orange ball to quiz us on math, a fifth grade teacher who motivated us to learn even more in our free time rather than goof off, a seventh grade teacher who genuinely apologized to me after I brought something he'd said I found offensive to his attention and a gym teacher who offered me an opportunity to work at a sports camp for underprivileged children barely younger than me ... the list goes on. In appreciation of the amazing teachers who help shape young minds, here are a few of our favorite books with some fabulous fictional (and not so fictional) teachers.

Top 10 Teachers Books

Wonder book
#1
Wonder
Written by R. J. Palacio
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Born with a facial deformity that initially prevented his attendance at public school, Auggie Pullman enters the fifth grade at Beecher Prep and struggles with the dynamics of being both new and different, in a sparsely written tale about acceptance and self-esteem.

Thank You, Mr. Falker book
#2
Thank You, Mr. Falker
Written and illustrated by Patricia Polacco
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

The real-life, classic story of a dyslexic girl and the teacher who would not let her fail. A perfect gift for teachers and for reading students of any age. Patricia Polacco is now one of America's most loved children's book creators, but once upon a time, she was a little girl named Trisha starting school. Trisha could paint and draw beautifully, but when she looked at words on a page, all she could see was jumble. It took a very special teacher to recognize little Trisha's dyslexia: Mr. Falker, who encouraged her to overcome her reading disability. Patricia Polacco will never forget him, and neither will we. This inspiring story is available in a deluxe slipcased edition, complete with a personal letter to readers from Patricia Polacco herself. Thank You, Mr. Falker will make a beautiful gift for the special child who needs encouragement or any special teacher who has made a difference in the child's life.

Miss Nelson is Missing! book
#3
Miss Nelson is Missing!
Written by Harry G Allard Jr and illustrated by James Marshall
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

This is a delightfully fun book about one very clever teacher who uses a little bit of subterfuge to help her classroom of misbehaving students appreciate how lucky they actually are and learn to behave a lot better. The contrast between Miss Nelson and her "evil" substitute counterpart is humorous (particularly as the reader may suspect the truth long before the big reveal!)

The kids in Room 207 were misbehaving again. Spitballs stuck to the ceiling. Paper planes whizzing through the air. They were the worst-behaved class in the whole school. So begins this quirky classic, first published in 1977 and still relevant today as a lighthearted reminder to show our appreciation to those we value. The students don’t proffer a shred of respect for their good-natured teacher Miss Nelson, but when the witchy substitute Miss Viola Swamp appears on the scene, they start to regret their own wicked ways. James Marshall’s scritchy, cartoonish full-color ink and wash illustrations are hilarious. A back-to-school perennial!

The Art of Miss Chew book
#4
The Art of Miss Chew
Written and illustrated by Patricia Polacco
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

This is a beautiful portrayal of several phenomenal teachers (contrasted with one not so amazing substitute) and the powerful impact they made in one little girl's life. Patricia Polacco's signature illustration style vividly tells this emotional story based on her own childhood and her own start as an artist. I love the personal attention and care both Mr. Donovan and Miss Chew give her in helping her overcome her struggles with reading and also excel at her passion—art.

After spending the summer with her artist grandmother, Trisha knows she wants to be an artist, too. She’s thrilled when her sketches get her into Miss Chew’s special art class at the high school. A substitute teacher tells her she’s wasting time on art when she should be studying – but fortunately, this is one battle that Miss Chew and Trisha are up for! This true story shows just how important a teacher can be in a child’s life – and celebrates the power of art itself.

The Spelling Bee Before Recess book
#5
The Spelling Bee Before Recess
Written by Deborah Lee Rose and illustrated by Carey F. Armstrong-Ellis
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

I love this book. The rhyme and vocabulary use are fantastic, and the lessons in this book are wonderful without being overly obvious or literal. I think it's great that the main character *SPOILER* didn't win the spelling bee, and that was ok. I also appreciated the encouragement the school librarian gives at the end of the book, adding a reminder on the importance of reading and that we can always keep trying. :) This book shows that winning isn't everything, and that reading is one of the best things we can do. Plus, there's a list of spelling words used throughout the book in the very back so that you can try spelling them yourself!

The students were squirming but none made a sound, as the spelling bee entered its championship round. It’s right before recess, and the annual school spelling bee is down to just three spellers: Cornelius the Genius, Smart Ruby, and The Slugger, who never strikes out. Round after round, the words whizz at them, but with one minute left until recess, there’s still no winner. Who will triumph? It all comes down to one final word, and a curveball that no one sees coming! Deborah Lee Rose’s clever rhyming text packs a laugh-out-loud wallop with words that young readers will enjoy spelling and reading aloud again and again. Fun and whimsical illustrations by Carey F. Armstrong-Ellis provide the perfect balance of humor and suspense as readers find out whether The Slugger will hit a grand slam or finally strike out. The book includes three spelling lists that can be used for spelling bees at home, in school, at the library, or for community events. An author’s note describes why and how words were chosen.

The Dot book
#6
The Dot
Written and illustrated by Peter H Reynolds
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-10
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

All about a little girl's journey to discover her artistic talent but more especially her self-confidence! I love that after a little encouragement from her very wise and positive teacher, she takes it upon herself to pass along the lesson she learned to a little boy in her same predicament.

Vashti believes that she cannot draw, but her art teacher's encouragement leads her to change her mind.

Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse book
#7
Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse
Written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Lilly loves everything about school, especially her cool teacher, Mr. Slinger. But when Lilly brings her purple plastic purse and its treasures to school and can't wait until sharing time, Mr. Slinger confiscates her prized possessions. Lilly's fury leads to revenge and then to remorse and she sets out to make amends. Lilly, the star of Chester's Way and Julius, the Baby of the World, is back. And this time she has her name in the title - something she's wanted all along. If you thought Lilly was funny before, you are in for a treat. So hurry up and start reading. Lilly can't wait for you to find out more about her.

Willow book
#8
Willow
Written by Rosemarie Brennan, Denise Brennan-Nelson and illustrated by Cyd Moore
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

This book is a reminder that sometimes it's not the teachers who always have a profound impact on the students... sometimes it's the other way around. Willow's positivity, kindness and resilience despite continuous criticism from her art teacher allow her to break down barriers and touch her teacher's heart, changing her for the better. The illustrations are bright and just the right amount messy... just like Willow herself.

In Miss Hawthorn's art class, neatness, conformity, and imitation are encouraged, but when Willow brings imagination and creativity to her projects, even straight-laced Miss Hawthorn is influenced.

Mister Lincoln's Way book
#9
Mister Lincoln's Way
Written and illustrated by Patricia Polacco
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

When Mr. Lincoln, "the coolest principal in the whole world," discovers that Eugene, the school bully, knows a lot about birds, he uses this interest to help Eugene overcome his intolerance.

Yoko book
#10
Yoko
Written and illustrated by Rosemary Wells
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Mmm, Yoko's mom has packed her favorite for lunch today—sushi! But her classmates don't think it looks quite so yummy. "Ick!" says one of the Franks. "It's seaweed!" They're not even impressed by her red bean ice cream dessert. Of course, Mrs. Jenkins has a plan that might solve Yoko's problem. But will it work with the other children in class? Now in paperback for the first time, this tender story from Rosemary Wells demonstrates the author's uncanny understanding of the pleasures and pains of an ordinary school day.

Books About Starting School & Teachers

Wonder book
#1
Wonder
Written by R. J. Palacio
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Born with a facial deformity that initially prevented his attendance at public school, Auggie Pullman enters the fifth grade at Beecher Prep and struggles with the dynamics of being both new and different, in a sparsely written tale about acceptance and self-esteem.

Chrysanthemum book
#2
Chrysanthemum
Written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

She was a perfect baby, and she had a perfect name. Chrysanthemum. When she was old enough to appreciate it, Chrysanthemum loved her name. And then she started school. "I'm named after my grandmother," said Victoria. "You're named after a flower." Chrysanthemum wilted. Life at school didn't improve. In fact, it got worse. Then the students were introduced to their music teacher, Mrs. Twinkle. Mrs. Delphinium Twinkle. And suddenly, Chrysanthemum blossomed....

Not This Bear book
#3
Not This Bear
Written by Alyssa Satin Capucilli and illustrated by Lorna Hussey
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

It's Bear's first day of school, and he's a bit reluctant to go. Mama says all bears love school; Bear isn't so sure. But school turns out to be full of fun--painting pictures, listening to stories, and making new friends. Maybe this bear will like school after all.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Mae's First Day of School - The first day of school can be scary for everyone--not just the students. As Mae gets ready for her very first day, she reflects on all the things she's afraid of. What if the other kids don't like her? What if she can't learn to read? What if she misses her mom? On the way to school, she decides that instead of facing all the unknowns, it would be much easier to climb up into her favorite tree and wait there until school is over. As other kids pass by, they, too, share their own fears with Mae, and she learns that everyone gets nervous about trying new things, even her teacher! Together, Mae and her new friends decide to face the day and celebrate new beginnings, hand in hand.

  2. Dotty - It’s Ida’s first day of school. She carries her new lunch box and a long, blue string with her special friend Dotty attached to it. A big, colorfully spotted pal with horns, Dotty just happens to be invisible. On that first day of school, Ida and Dotty find out there are plenty of other imaginary friends in attendance. But as the year passes and fewer and fewer imaginary friends come to class, Ida begins to wonder if Dotty is welcome at school anymore . . . Perceptive and warmly funny, with charming art from exciting illustrator Julia Denos, Dotty is a celebration of the power of friendship and imagination.

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Books About School & Teachers

The Spelling Bee Before Recess book
#1
The Spelling Bee Before Recess
Written by Deborah Lee Rose and illustrated by Carey F. Armstrong-Ellis
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

I love this book. The rhyme and vocabulary use are fantastic, and the lessons in this book are wonderful without being overly obvious or literal. I think it's great that the main character *SPOILER* didn't win the spelling bee, and that was ok. I also appreciated the encouragement the school librarian gives at the end of the book, adding a reminder on the importance of reading and that we can always keep trying. :) This book shows that winning isn't everything, and that reading is one of the best things we can do. Plus, there's a list of spelling words used throughout the book in the very back so that you can try spelling them yourself!

The students were squirming but none made a sound, as the spelling bee entered its championship round. It’s right before recess, and the annual school spelling bee is down to just three spellers: Cornelius the Genius, Smart Ruby, and The Slugger, who never strikes out. Round after round, the words whizz at them, but with one minute left until recess, there’s still no winner. Who will triumph? It all comes down to one final word, and a curveball that no one sees coming! Deborah Lee Rose’s clever rhyming text packs a laugh-out-loud wallop with words that young readers will enjoy spelling and reading aloud again and again. Fun and whimsical illustrations by Carey F. Armstrong-Ellis provide the perfect balance of humor and suspense as readers find out whether The Slugger will hit a grand slam or finally strike out. The book includes three spelling lists that can be used for spelling bees at home, in school, at the library, or for community events. An author’s note describes why and how words were chosen.

Fish in a Tree book
#2
Fish in a Tree
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-16

"Ally's greatest fear is that everyone will find out she is as dumb as they think she is because she still doesn't know how to read"--

Miles McHale, Tattletale book
#3
Miles McHale, Tattletale
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

Miles McHale is a tattletale. And everybody knows it. But he's not the only one who needs help, so his teacher decides: it's time to fight the Tattle Battle! But will Miles figure out the right time to tell a grown-up about another person's behavior, or is he doomed to be a tattletale forever?

Honorable Mentions
  1. Islandborn - Every kid in Lola's school was from somewhere else. Hers was a school of faraway places. So when Lola's teacher asks the students to draw a picture of where their families immigrated from, all the kids are excited. Except Lola. She can't remember The Island—she left when she was just a baby. But with the help of her family and friends, and their memories—joyous, fantastical, heartbreaking, and frightening—Lola's imagination takes her on an extraordinary journey back to The Island. As she draws closer to the heart of her family's story, Lola comes to understand the truth of her abuela's words: “Just because you don't remember a place doesn't mean it's not in you.” Gloriously illustrated and lyrically written, Islandborn is a celebration of creativity, diversity, and our imagination's boundless ability to connect us—to our families, to our past and to ourselves

  2. The Unteachables - A hilarious new middle grade novel from beloved and bestselling author Gordan Korman about what happens when the worst class of kids in school is paired with the worst teacher—perfect for fans of Ms. Bixby’s Last Day. The Unteachables are a notorious class of misfits, delinquents, and academic train wrecks. Like Aldo, with anger management issues; Parker, who can’t read; Kiana, who doesn’t even belong in the class—or any class; and Elaine (rhymes with pain). The Unteachables have been removed from the student body and isolated in room 117. Their teacher is Mr. Zachary Kermit, the most burned-out teacher in all of Greenwich. He was once a rising star, but his career was shattered by a cheating scandal that still haunts him. After years of phoning it in, he is finally one year away from early retirement. But the superintendent has his own plans to torpedo that idea—and it involves assigning Mr. Kermit to the Unteachables. The Unteachables never thought they’d find a teacher who had a worse attitude than they did. And Mr. Kermit never thought he would actually care about teaching again. Over the course of a school year, though, room 117 will experience mayhem, destruction—and maybe even a shot at redemption.

  3. Sideways Stories from Wayside School - Lois Sachar, best-selling author of the Wayside School series, knows how to make kids laugh. And there are laughs galore in this popular book, now available again in hardcover. Meet Mrs. Gorf, the teacher who turns the students in Wayside School into apples.

  4. A Whole New Ballgame - "From the first morning with their odd new teacher, fifth grade is full of shocking surprises for best friends Rip and Red"--

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Books About Friendship & Teachers

My Friends book
#1
My Friends
Written and illustrated by Taro Gomi
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

Using simple words and bright illustrations, author-illustrator Taro Gomi shows children that sometimes knowledge can come from all kinds of friends.

How to Grow a Friend book
#2
How to Grow a Friend
Written and illustrated by Sara Gillingham
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

A lovely metaphor teaches valuable lessons in how to treat others and make friendships blossom! Making a friend takes patience, care, and room to bloom--just like growing a flower. Soon your little gardeners will have their very own green thumbs for this most important of life skills.

Andy & Sandy and the Big Talent Show book
#3
Andy & Sandy and the Big Talent Show
Written by Tomie dePaola and illustrated by Jim Lewis, Tomie dePaola
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Andy and Sandy hit the stage in this fourth book of an easy-to-read picture book series about friendship—from Caldecott and Newbery Honoree Tomie dePaola and Emmy Award–winning writer for the Muppets Jim Lewis. Outgoing Sandy convinces shy Andy to do a dance at the big talent show. The only problem? Andy doesn’t know how to dance! Luckily, Sandy is a good teacher. But when showtime finally arrives, it’s Sandy who freezes up! A true friend through and through, Andy overcomes his shyness to save the performance. Let’s give a standing ovation to friendship! Written in simple words and short, declarative sentences, this book is perfect for little ones just learning to read on their own.

Honorable Mentions
  1. A Whole New Ballgame - "From the first morning with their odd new teacher, fifth grade is full of shocking surprises for best friends Rip and Red"--

  2. Rock Star - When Jada Jones’s best friend moves away, school feels like the last place she wants to be. She’d much rather wander outside looking for cool rocks to add to her collection, since finding rocks is much easier than finding friends. So when Jada’s teacher announces a class project on rocks and minerals, Jada finally feels like she’s in her element. The only problem: one of her teammates doesn’t seem to like any of Jada’s ideas. She doesn’t seem to like Jada all that much, either. Can Jada figure out a way to make a winning science project and a new friend?

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