Rest, Reflect, and Reset: 9 Books to Read Over the Break

Take this summer to rest, reflect, and reset before the next academic year with these book recommendations from our educator community.

Rest, Reflect, and Reset: 9 Books to Read Over the Break

Breaks are a great time to rest, reflect, and reset. And what better way to do all three than by curling up with a great read? As you consider the best ways to spend your well-deserved summer, here is a curated list of books recommended by the educators in our community.


Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Ownes


Goodreads rating: 4.38 / 5

Where the Crawdads Sing tells the story of Kyra, a girl that lives in solitude in a fishing village called Barkley Cove. Soon she realizes her great desire to feel loved and is drawn to two men from the town. A coming-of-age story about “how isolation influences the behavior of a young woman, who like all of us, has the genetic propensity to belong to a group.”

Teacher Review:Where the Crawdads Sing is lovely, rich, sad, and powerful. It tells the story of Kya Clark, a girl who is abandoned at a very young age and yet manages to raise herself in the North Carolina marsh she calls home.”

Wonder by R.J. Palacio


Goodreads rating: 4.39 / 5

Born with a facial difference, all August wants is to be treated as an ordinary child. But entering 5th grade, Auggie starts school in a mainstream classroom and faces the true hardships of life.

Teacher Review: “Every time I need to feel hope in humanity, I read this book. I especially love that the book follows Auggie’s perspective, but also includes the perspectives of the people around Auggie, showing different authentic human thoughts and feelings towards Auggie’s journey.”


The Knowledge Gap by Natalie Wexler

Education, Professional Development

Goodreads rating: 4.19 / 5

Research-based, The Knowledge Gap argues that one of the many causes of America's broken education system is "the elementary school curriculum's intense focus on decontextualized reading comprehension skills at the expense of actual knowledge." Throughout the book, the author also follows the journey of educators changing their teaching methods to improve the knowledge gap and explains the results.

True Biz by Sara Nović


Goodreads rating: 4.18 / 5

In an exploration into the lives of deaf students Charlie, Austin, and headmistress February, Sara Nović highlights the social and political endurances of the Deaf community and a universal celebration of human connection.

The Interpretation of Dreams by Sigmund Freud


Goodreads rating: 3.83 / 5

Sigmund Freud introduces the theory of the unconscious and its role in interpreting dreams to explain one’s psyche. According to the author, “Dreams represent the hidden fulfillment of our unconscious wishes.”

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

Education, Professional Development, Self-Help

Goodreads rating: 4.25 / 5

Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, was asked to give the infamous "Last Lecture" after being diagnosed with terminal cancer. Like many others, Pausch could have considered a theme around true desires. Instead, the author lectured about the importance of overcoming obstacles, helping others achieve their dreams, and seizing every opportunity.

Teacher Review: "It's all about why we as teachers teach: To inspire our students to find their passion and pursue what they love to do! It is also about realizing that time is a precious commodity that can be shortened or taken away from us at any time so enjoy it to your fullest capacity!"

Bless the Beasts and Children by Glendon Swarthout


Goodreads rating: 3.60 / 5

Bless the Beasts and Children tells the story of a group of misfits known as "The Bedwetters" at summer camp. After a herd of buffalo is slaughtered before their eyes, their leader, Cotton, helps this group of boys sneak out of the camp to save the remaining buffalo and themselves.

Teacher Review: “Growing up, I was a misfit, and I could see myself as a member of "The Bedwetters," the book's protagonist group in the summer camp. Like everyone, "The Bedwetters" want to find their place in the world and go out on an unlikely adventure to accomplish this.”


Make it Stick: The Science of Successful Learning by Peter C. Brown, Henry L. Roediger III, Mark A. McDaniel

Education, Professional Development

Goodreads rating: 4.17 / 5

Our standard study habits — highlighting, rereading, cramming, etc. — can be counterproductive. A deep dive into the science of memory and how to segway within our memory limits can help us become more productive learners. Make it stick provides lifelong learning and self-improvement skills for students, teachers, trainers, and athletes.

Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain by Zaretta Hammond

Education, Professional Development

Goodreads rating: 4.38 / 5

Zaretta Hammond offers an innovative approach to designing and implementing culturally responsive teaching supported by neuroscience research. The techniques and principles described can help teachers and instructional leaders to design culturally responsive instruction that works.

Teacher Review: “This book gives you information on how trauma affects learning as well as culturally responsive teaching.”

As you take the time this summer to rest, reflect, and reset, keep us posted on any other recommendations you might have for other educators: Feel free to drop them here.