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.
The Dot - -
Mrs. Gorski I Think I Have the Wiggle Fidgets - The Adventures of Everyday Geniuses is meant to demonstrate various forms of learning, creativity, and intelligence. Each book introduces a realistic example of triumph over difficulty in a positive, humorous way that readers of all ages will enjoy! David gets scolded a lot by his teacher, Mrs. Gorski, for not paying attention in class. He wants to pay attention but it is just so hard when an exciting idea pops into his head. And he usually can’t tell that he’s making a mistake until after he makes them. But after a particularly big mistake, David comes up with his own plan to tone down his wiggle fidgets. This award-winning story is a simple introduction to ADHD and the creative ways of finding solutions to the challenges that ADHD can create. Mrs. Gorski, I Think I Have the Wiggle Fidgetsis the recipient of: the Academics’ Choice Gold Seal Mom’s Choice Award Gold Parents’ Choice Award “A masterful tale of empowering children…Esham artfully describes the gifts and challenges of children with ADHD.” -Dr. Susan Baum, professor emeritus, the College of New Rochelle Praise for the series: “This is a wonderful book series. Each story shows children that success is about effort and determination, that problems need not derail them, and that adults can understand their worries and struggles. My research demonstrates that these lessons are essential for children.” —Dr. Carol S. Dweck
Chrysanthemum - 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….
The Junkyard Wonders - Inspired by a teacher who believes each of them is a genius, a class of special-needs students invents something that could convince the whole school they are justifiably proud to be “Junkyard Wonders.”
Want to see books about self-esteem?
How to Grow a Friend - 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 - 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.
One Time - Imaginative, eleven-year-old Gina, her mysterious new neighbor, Antonio, and their classmates are inspired by an unusual young teacher to see who they are and envision who they are meant to become.
Sadiq and the Green Thumbs - Even though it is summer Sadiq goes to religious school four days a week to study the Quran; he and his friends find their teacher, Mr. Kassim, strict and intimidating, but when Sadiq finds out that Mr. Kassim has a injured shoulder he decides to volunteer to help with the gardening—and he convinces his friends to volunteer as well.
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The View from Saturday - HOW HAD MRS. OLINSKI CHOSEN her sixth-grade Academic Bowl team? She had a number of answers. But were any of them true? How had she really chosen Noah and Nadia and Ethan and Julian? And why did they make such a good team? It was a surprise to a lot of people when Mrs. Olinski’s team won the sixth-grade Academic Bowl contest at Epiphany Middle School. It was an even bigger surprise when they beat the seventh grade and the eighth grade, too. And when they went on to even greater victories, everyone began to ask: How did it happen? It happened at least partly because Noah had been the best man (quite by accident) at the wedding of Ethan’s grandmother and Nadia’s grandfather. It happened because Nadia discovered that she could not let a lot of baby turtles die. It happened when Ethan could not let Julian face disaster alone. And it happened because Julian valued something important in himself and saw in the other three something he also valued. Mrs. Olinski, returning to teaching after having been injured in an automobile accident, found that her Academic Bowl team became her answer to finding confidence and success. What she did not know, at least at first, was that her team knew more than she did the answer to why they had been chosen. This is a tale about a team, a class, a school, a series of contests and, set in the midst of this, four jewel-like short stories — one for each of the team members — that ask questions and demonstrate surprising answers.
My Weird School Special: Oh, Valentine, We've Lost Our Minds! - A.J. and the gang from My Weird School star in this series of after-school, holiday-themed chapter books featuring all-new hilarious stories and thirty-two pages of games, puzzles, and more. It’s the week of Valentine’s Day, and A.J.’s class is getting a foreign exchange student! His name is Pierre, and he’s from France. But what happens when Pierre challenges A.J. to a duel (or at least a thumb war) over Andrea? One thing’s for sure: when L-O-V-E comes to Ella Mentry, it spells the weirdest Valentine’s Day story in the history of the world! Bestselling author Dan Gutman brings his kid-friendly sense of humor to this all-new series of holiday adventures. With My Weird School checklists and trivia plus tons of Valentine-themed facts and puzzles, this is one weird Valentine special you don’t want to miss!
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.
Treasure of the Golden Skull - Mildew and Sponge don’t think much of Maudlin Towers, the blackened, gloom-laden, gargoyle-infested monstrosity that is their school. But when they are told the school might close, our heroes realize being apart and somewhere else could be even worse! What starts out as a secret hunt for buried treasure quickly becomes weirder than Mildew and Sponge could ever have imagined. Who is that new boy who can get people to do whatever he wants just by looking them intently in the eye? (A hypnotist!) Why does that strange teacher have tattoos and a beard? (He’s really a pirate also looking for the treasure!) Could their heartbroken English teacher hold the key to this riddle of riddles? (Just maybe…) Most importantly, can Mildew and Sponge save the day – and the school – once more?
My Teacher Is A Monster (No, I Am Not.) - A young boy named Bobby has the worst teacher. She’s loud, she yells, and if you throw paper airplanes, she won’t allow you to enjoy recess. She is a monster! Luckily, Bobby can go to his favorite spot in the park on weekends to play. Until one day… he finds his teacher there! Over the course of one day, Bobby learns that monsters are not always what they seem. Each page is filled with “monstrous” details that will have kids reading the story again and again. Peter Brown takes a universal and timeless theme, and adds his own humorous spin to create another winner of a picture book.
Open the Preschool Door - A lift-the-flap board book all about preschool from the creator of OPEN THE BARN DOOR and OPEN THE GARAGE DOOR! Little preschoolers will love lifting 11 fun flaps to find a smiling teacher, a playground, a class pet, and much, much more in this bright and engaging board book. With a simple story and colorful and inviting illustrations, this is the perfect way to introduce the youngest of students to a preschool classroom.
My Teacher Is a Robot - From the author of the New York Times bestselling Jedi Academy books comes an imaginative picture book about a kid whose creative outlook has everyone at school seeing the world through new eyes. Perfect for fans of The Adventures of Beekle and The Most Magnificent Thing. Fred does not want to go to school because it’s boring. Especially since he thinks his teacher is a robot. If only Fred could imagine a way for his day to be more exciting… An inventively funny picture book that celebrates the boundlessness of a child’s imagination and celebrates the teachers, families, and friends who get wrapped up in their fantastic worlds.
Want to see books about imagination and play?
Rescuing Mrs. Birdley - In this wildly charming and fantastically imaginative story by the New York Times bestselling author of Creepy Carrots and Creepy Pair of Underwear, a young animal expert knows just what to do when she spots her teacher in the wild. Miranda is an animal expert. Or at least, she watches a lot of Nature Joe. Nature Joe is incredible. He rescues animals, returning them to their natural habitat. Mrs. Birdley is a teacher. The natural habitat of a teacher is a classroom. So when Mrs. Birdley escapes school and ends up wild, loose, and confused at the local grocery store, Miranda knows just what to do: she must use her brain, her guts, and her extensive knowledge of Nature Joe to rescue Mrs. Birdley—at any cost! This delightfully over-the-top picture book by newcomer Emma Reynolds explores the weirdness of seeing a teacher outside of school and will have young readers laughing out loud every time they read.
Maisy's Preschool - Make up your own stories! Two clever (and wonderfully portable) books with pop-up play scenes and press-out pieces spark little ones’ imaginations. It’s time for school! Maisy and her friends play with building blocks, practice their counting, and sit down for storytime. A pop-up classroom scene waits at the end of the book with paper press-outs of Maisy and her pals. Kids will relish the chance to play teacher and decide the lessons, all the while putting their imaginations to the test and learning about the routines that make up a day at school.
Mary Had a Little Lizard - A modern take on “Mary Had a Little Lamb” featuring hilarious antics as Lizard sneaks into Mary’s backpack and causes nothing but mayhem in her Kindergarten class. He eats someone’s lunch, makes a mess in the painting corner, and scares the teacher silly during story time before being sent to the principal’s office to wait for Mary’s mom to pick him up. It’s no fun being alone. But when Mary finally comes home from school, Lizard knows he’ll always have his very best friend. Rendered in a combination of traditional and digital color, Mary Had a Little Lizard is a silly, satisfying celebration of new experiences and friendships that can never be broken.
No More Pencils, No More Books, No More Teacher's Dirty Looks! - It’s the last day of school! Gilbert is excited about summer vacation, but first there’s the class party, and Mrs. Byrd will give out the end-of-the-year awards. But will Gilbert even get one? Patty’s the best speller. Philip’s the best reader. What is Gilbert best at? Humorous and reassuring, this story by Diane deGroat perfectly captures the bittersweet emotions of the last day of school. As Gilbert’s class says good-bye to Mrs. Byrd, she reminds each of them how special they really are. And that she will miss them very, very much!
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A Piece of Home - “When Hee Jun’s family moves from Korea to West Virginia, he struggles to adjust to his new home. His eyes are not big and round like his classmates, and he can’t understand anything the teacher says, even when she speaks s-l-o-w-l-y and loudly at him. As he lies in bed at night, the sky seems smaller and darker. But little by little Hee Jun begins to learn English words and make friends on the playground. And one day he is invited to a classmate’s house, where he sees a flower he knows from his garden in Korea, “mugunghwa,” or Rose of Sharon, as his friend tells him and Hee Jun is happy to bring a shoot to his grandmother to plant a “piece of home” in their new garden.”—Provided by publisher.
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
Mrs. Master Is a Disaster! - With more than 11 million books sold, the My Weird School series really gets kids reading! In this eighth book in the new My Weirdest School series, it’s Grandparents Day at Ella Mentry School! Alexia’s grandmother Mrs. Master makes weird inventions for a living, but A.J. and the gang come up with the weirdest invention of all. And they’re going to make a bazillion dollars from it! Will they succeed? Or will their great big idea be flushed down the drain? Perfect for reluctant readers and word lovers alike, Dan Gutman’s hugely popular My Weird School chapter book series has something for everyone. Don’t miss the hilarious adventures of A.J. and the gang!
Our Teacher's Having a Baby - As the months pass during the pregnancy of first-grade teacher Mrs. Neal, her class writes letters to the baby, thinks up names, and designs a baby room on the bulletin board.
Want to see books about family?
Georgia's Greatness - As the Huit octuplets prepare for a St. Patrick’s Day parade, Georgia discovers her powers and uncovers the substitute teacher’s secret.
Ms. Todd Is Odd! - Something weird is going on! Ms. Todd is subbing, and A.J. and his friends are sure she kidnapped Miss Daisy so she could take over her job. They’re going to have to do the detective work to get the goods on her. But it won’t be easy! Ms. Todd is the weirdest substitute teacher in the history of the world!
Here Comes Teacher Cat - Cat is not pleased to be tapped as substitute teacher. Not only is it cutting into his nap time, but a roomful of kittens is a little, well, scary. At school, he’s faced with six adorable kittens and follows the lesson plan of music, building, and painting-only in pure, mischief-making Cat style. By the end, Cat has learned a thing or two about inspiring others by being himself. But even more heart-melting and humorous is what the kittens have learned from Cat.
Pout-Pout Fish: Back to School - Get ready to go back to school with the Pout-Pout Fish! Mr. Fish is going back to school to be a substitute teacher, and he’s nervous—until he meets a little guppy who can help him! At an affordable price point, and with two pages of stickers, this new format is fun and accessible for Mr. Fish’s fans and newcomers alike.
Want to see books about substitute teachers?
Yasmin the Teacher - When Ms. Alex is called away from the classroom, she leaves Yasmin in charge, but the other children just ignore her and start acting silly and noisy—until Yasmin thinks up a way to motivate them to finish the math assignment, quietly.
Gooney Bird Is So Absurd - It’s a cold January at the Watertower Elementary School—the perfect weather for Gooney Bird Greene to break out her special brain-warming hat! It’s a good thing she has one. Gooney Bird’s brain will need to be as warm as possible this month, because Mrs. Pidgeon is teaching her class about poetry. Who knew there could be so many different ways to write a poem? Haikus, couplets, limericks—Mrs. Pidgeon’s students soon find that writing good poetry takes a lot of hard work and creative thinking. Gooney Bird and her classmates are up to the challenge. But just when things are going well, the kids get some terrible news. Gooney Bird will need all the inspiration her brain can muster to organize the most important poem the class has ever written.
Want to see books about elementary school?