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What Is The Best Education-Related Book You’ve Read This Year?


As I do every year, I invite readers to share the best education-related books that you have read over the past year. The books could have been published earlier and the only requirement is that you have read them sometime this year.

Please leave a comment with the book’s title, name of the author, and two-to-four sentences describing what the book is about and why chose it.

I’ll publish everyone’s recommendations on New Year’s Day.

You might also be interested in these posts from previous years:

The Best Education-Related Books Visitors To This Blog Read In 2011

The Best Education-Related Books Visitors To This Blog Read In 2010

The Best Education-Related Books Visitors To This Blog Read In 2009

The Best Education-Related Books Visitors To This Blog Read In 2008


Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.


  1. DRIVE by Daniel Pink-speaks volumes to non-educators, educators and definately administrators!

  2. “Why School” by Will Richardson. An ebook for sale on Amazon that takes about 90 minutes to read. One of the most important books of this year.

  3. The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller is the best book I’ve read this year. Her voice jumps from the pages and inspires you to do more. Inspires you to give students the unique opportunity to find what types of literature they enjoy. You can feel the warmth and connections that she has made in her classroom. I don’t know how any teacher who reads this book wouldn’t be compelled to make a change. Love it.

  4. Stratosphere by Michael Fullen

  5. Katz, “Designing Information”. My Amazon review: “Three pages in I wanted to stop and write this review but forced myself to read the rest of the book before writing. My opinion was unchanged. “Designing Information” is a delightful, delectable, informative, visually rich, entertaining exploration of the business of making information more accessible. It’s a remarkably broad tour of types of elements relevant to good design. I especially loved the sections on forms, signage, maps, and iconography — things I find frustrating in my daily life. Information is not only useful for those who deal with visual design issues: those involved in instructional design will appreciate the discussion of noninformation and uninformation. (Those who work with compliance, policy, and HR training will recognize all too well the challenge of dealing with uninformation: probably true, probably not important, possibly interesting.) The book is bursting with examples, many supplemented with suggestions for more examples and additional readings. This may be the most visually exciting book I’ve ever seen, interesting for poring over and fun to just flip through. Also suggested: Don Norman’s The Design of Everyday Things and Connie Malamed’s Visual Language for Designers: Principles for Creating Graphics that People Understand. Katz’s “Designing Information” is a HIGHLY recommended treat for anyone who works with information, instruction, graphics, or art.” Best, Jane Bozarth @janebozarth

  6. I’m choosing Why School? by Will Richardson, too. I think Will does a fantastic job of exploring the changing nature of education and offers up suggestions for how teachers and administrators can take steps to meet the changing needs of today’s students (for tomorrow)

  7. Don Tapscott’s “Grown Up Digital.” I reference it nearly every day in class. It gives me great hope for this generation. Check out his excellent TED Talk too. Tapscott uses startling examples and backs them up with research. A great counterpoint to a lot of what comes out denigrating this generation (Mark Bauerlein’s “The Dumbest Generation” or Nicholas Carr’s “The Shallows” or Jeane Twenge’s “The Narcissist Epidemic”). A must read for every teacher entering the profession.

  8. Net Smart by Howard Rheingold: Hugely informative and wise on the topic about how the thrive online. My review here:

  9. Creating the Opportunity to Learn by Wade Boykin and Pedro Noguera. This is one of the best books on what we need to do in America to deal with the huge gap in accessibility to quality education in the US.

    The Innovator’s DNA by Jeff Dyer and Hal Gregersen was also a wonderful book. It is very interesting to think about how to apply these principles to schools, to help teach our students to be creators or innovators.

  10. Fall Down 7 Times, Get up 8: Teaching Kids to Succeed by Debbie Silver. I am so tired of all of the time and effort some educators put into devising elaborate reward systems, which, in my opinion, do little to change behaviors. I reviewed this book for Middle Web. Debbie does a great job of combining current research and practicies in an entertaining manner, filled with many examples. Here’s a link to my review.

  11. A Taxonomy for Learning, Teaching, and Assessing: A Revision of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives edited by Anderson and Krathwohl moves away from the multiple choice tests that were the focus of the original taxonomy. Since educational objectives are the foundation of the Common Core State Standards, this book is already more influential than the original. The revised taxonomy answers many of the questions teachers raise about how to teach under Common Core.

  12. I recommend Doug Lemov’s “Teach Like a Champion” book (with accompanying DVD of video teaching clips) as a great illustration of numerous actual teaching tips, strategies, and approaches. Theory is important, but educational leaders need to always prioritize real-life examples, challenges, and solutions.

  13. 21st Century Skills Rethinking How Students Learn edited by James Bellanca & Ron Brandt This book is a culmination of research and expertise written by favorite authors of education. They provide a framework of learning that marries core knowledge and background knowledge with innovation, creative thinking, problem solving and technology.

  14. “Teach Like A Pirate” by Dave Burgess. The cover tagline reads: “Increase Student Engagement, Boost Your Creativity, and Transform Your Life as an Educator.” This claim holds up! This book will inspire the tenured and new teacher to unleash their passions in the classroom. The book has three parts: 1. The PIRATE (acronym) philosophy and system 2. How to create engaging lessons 3. Final thoughts and guidance. The two things I like most about Dave Burgess’ approach is that he is tells classroom stories I can relate to and I feel challenged by his strategies for creating engaging curriculum.
    If you enjoy the book then you MUST experience Dave Burgess’ “Outrageous Teaching Seminars”.

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