best educational books in the world

School's out

A critical take on education and schooling

The 50 great books on education

Professor of Education, University of Derby

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best educational books in the world

I have often argued that I would not let any teacher into a school unless – as a minimum – they had read, carefully and well, the three great books on education: Plato’s Republic, Rousseau’s Émile and Dewey’s Democracy and Education. There would be no instrumental purpose in this, but the struggle to understand these books and the thinking involved in understanding them would change teachers and ultimately teaching.

These are the three great books because each is sociologically whole. They each present a description and arguments for an education for a particular and better society. You do not have to agree with these authors. Plato’s tripartite education for a just society ruled over by philosopher kings; Rousseau’s education through nature to establish the social contract and Dewey’s relevant, problem-solving democratic education for a democratic society can all be criticised. That is not the point. The point is to understand these great works. They constitute the intellectual background to any informed discussion of education.

What of more modern works? I used to recommend the “blistering indictment” of the flight from traditional liberal education that is Melanie Phillips’s All Must Have Prizes, to be read alongside Tom Bentley’s Learning Beyond the Classroom: Education for a Changing World, which is a defence of a wider view of learning for the “learning age”. These two books defined the debate in the 1990s between traditional education by authoritative teachers and its rejection in favour of a new learning in partnership with students.

Much time and money is spent on teacher training and continuing professional development and much of it is wasted. A cheaper and better way of giving student teachers and in-service teachers an understanding of education would be to get them to read the 50 great works on education.

The books I have identified, with the help of members of the Institute of Ideas’ Education Forum, teachers and colleagues at several universities, constitute an attempt at an education “canon”.

What are “out” of my list are textbooks and guides to classroom practice. What are also “out” are novels and plays. But there are some great literary works that should be read by every teacher: Charles Dicken’s Hard Times – for Gradgrind’s now much-needed celebration of facts; D. H. Lawrence’s The Rainbow – for Ursula Brangwen’s struggle against her early child-centred idealism in the reality of St Philips School; and Alan Bennett’s The History Boys – for Hector’s role as the subversive teacher committed to knowledge.

I hope I have produced a list of books, displayed here in alphabetical order, that are held to be important by today’s teachers. I make no apology for including the book I wrote with Kathryn Ecclestone, The Dangerous Rise of Therapeutic Education because it is an influential critical work that has produced considerable controversy. If you disagree with this, or any other of my choices, please add your alternative “canonical” books on education.

Michael W. Apple – Official Knowledge: Democratic Education in a Conservative Age (1993)

Hannah Arendt – Between Past and Future (1961), for the essay “The Crisis in Education” (1958)

Matthew Arnold – Culture and Anarchy (1867-9)

Robin Barrow – Giving Teaching Back to the Teachers (1984)

Tom Bentley – Learning Beyond The Classroom: Education for a Changing World (1998)

Allan Bloom – The Closing of the American Mind: How Higher Education Has Failed Democracy and Impoverished the Souls of Today’s Students (1987)

Pierre Bourdieu and Jean-Claude Passeron – Reproduction in Education, Society and Culture (1977)

Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis – Schooling in Capitalist America: Educational Reform and the Contradictions of Economic Life (1976)

Jerome Bruner – The Process of Education (1960)

John Dewey – Democracy and Education (1916)

Margaret Donaldson – Children’s Minds (1978)

JWB Douglas – The Home and the School (1964)

Kathryn Ecclestone and Dennis Hayes – The Dangerous Rise of Therapeutic Education (2008)

Harold Entwistle – Antonio Gramsci: Conservative Schooling for Radical Politics (1979).

Paulo Freire – Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1968/1970)

Frank Furedi – Wasted: Why Education Isn’t Educating (2009)

Helene Guldberg – Reclaiming Childhood (2009)

ED Hirsch Jnr. – The Schools We Need And Why We Don’t Have Them (1999)

Paul H Hirst – Knowledge and the Curriculum (1974) For the essay which appears as Chapter 3 ‘Liberal Education and the Nature of Knowledge’ (1965)

John Holt – How Children Fail (1964)

Eric Hoyle – The Role of the Teacher (1969)

James Davison Hunter – The Death of Character: Moral Education in an Age without Good or Evil (2000)

Ivan Illich – Deschooling Society (1971)

Nell Keddie (Ed.) – Tinker, Taylor: The Myth of Cultural Deprivation (1973)

John Locke – Some Thoughts Concerning Education (1692)

John Stuart Mill – Autobiography (1873)

Sybil Marshall – An Experiment in Education (1963)

Alexander Sutherland Neil – Summerhill: A Radical Approach to Child Rearing (1960)

John Henry Newman – The Idea of a University (1873)

Michael Oakeshott – The Voice of Liberal Learning (1989) In particular for the essay “Education: The Engagement and Its Frustration” (1972)

Anthony O’ Hear – Education, Society and Human Nature: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Education (1981)

Richard Stanley Peters – Ethics and Education (1966)

Melanie Phillips – All Must Have Prizes (1996)

Plato – The Republic (366BC?)

Plato – Protagoras (390BC?) and Meno (387BC?)

Neil Postman – The End of Education: Redefining the Value of School (1995)

Neil Postman and Charles Weingartner – Teaching as a Subversive Activity (1969)

Herbert Read – Education Through Art (1943)

Carl Rogers – Freedom to Learn: A View of What Education Might Become (1969)

best educational books in the world

Jean-Jacques Rousseau – Émile or “on education” (1762)

Bertrand Russell – On Education (1926)

Israel Scheffler – The Language of Education (1960)

Brian Simon – Does Education Matter? (1985) Particularly for the paper “Why No Pedagogy in England?” (1981)

JW Tibble (Ed.) – The Study of Education (1966)

Lev Vygotsky – Thought and Language (1934/1962)

Alfred North Whitehead – The Aims of Education and other essays (1929)

Paul E. Willis – Learning to Labour: How Working Class Kids Get Working Class Jobs (1977)

Alison Wolf – Does Education Matter? Myths about Education and Economic Growth (2002)

Michael FD Young (Ed) – Knowledge and Control: New Directions for the Sociology of Education (1971)

Michael FD Young – Bringing Knowledge Back In: From Social Constructivism to Social Realism in the Sociology of Education (2007)

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The Marginalian

7 Must-Read Books on Education

By maria popova.

best educational books in the world


best educational books in the world

Once we have computer outlets in every home, each of them hooked up to enormous libraries where anyone can ask any question and be given answers, be given reference materials, be something you’re interested in knowing, from an early age, however silly it might seem to someone else… that’s what YOU are interested in, and you can ask, and you can find out, and you can do it in your own home, at your own speed, in your own direction, in your own time… Then, everyone would enjoy learning. Nowadays, what people call learning is forced on you, and everyone is forced to learn the same thing on the same day at the same speed in class, and everyone is different.” ~ Isaac Asimov


best educational books in the world

We have a system of education that is modeled on the interest of industrialism and in the image of it. School are still pretty much organized on factory lines — ringing bells, separate facilities, specialized into separate subjects. We still educate children by batches. Why do we do that?”

For an excellent complement to The Element , we highly recommend Robinson’s prior book, Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative — re-released last month, it offers a thoughtful and provocative analysis of the disconnect between the kinds of “intelligence” measured and encouraged in schools and the kinds of creativity most essential to our society moving forward.


best educational books in the world

We’re stuck in a mode where we’re using old systems of understanding learning to try to understand these new forms, and part of the disjoint means that we’re missing some really important and valuable data.” ~ Douglas Thomas

Our full review here .


best educational books in the world

What the railroads did for the second half of the last century and the automobile for the first half of this century may be done for the second half of this century by the knowledge industry: And that is, to serve as the focal point for national growth.” ~ Clark Kerr


best educational books in the world

The promise of free or marginal-cost open-source content, techno-hybridization, unbundling of educational functions, and learner-centered educational experiences and paths is too powerful to ignore. These changes are inevitable. They are happening now. […] However, these changes will not automatically become pervasive.” ~ Anya Kamenetz


best educational books in the world

In America right now, a kid drops out of high school every 26 seconds. These drop-outs are 8 times more likely to go to prison, 50% less likely to vote, more likely to need social welfare assistance, not eligible for 90% of jobs, are being paid 40 cents to the dollar of earned by a college graduate, and continuing the cycle of poverty.”


best educational books in the world

The synthesizing mind takes information from disparate sources, understands and evaluates that information objectively, and puts it together in ways that make sense to the synthesizer and also to other persons. Valuable in the past, the capacity to synthesize becomes ever more crucial as information continues to mount at dizzying rates.” ~ Howard Gardner

— Published April 11, 2011 — —




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100 Best Teaching Books of All Time

We've researched and ranked the best teaching books in the world, based on recommendations from world experts, sales data, and millions of reader ratings. Learn more

best educational books in the world

The New Psychology of Success

Carol S. Dweck | 5.00

best educational books in the world

Tony Robbins [Tony Robbins recommended this book on the podcast "The Tim Ferriss Show".] (Source)

Bill Gates One of the reasons I loved Mindset is because it’s solutions-oriented. In the book’s final chapter, Dweck describes the workshop she and her colleagues have developed to shift students from a fixed to a growth mindset. These workshops demonstrate that ‘just learning about the growth mindset can cause a big shift in the way people think about themselves and their lives. (Source)

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Dustin Moskovitz [Dustin Moskovitz recommended this book on Twitter.] (Source)

See more recommendations for this book...

best educational books in the world

The Book Whisperer

Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child

Donalyn Miller, Jeff Anderson | 4.68

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The First Days of School

How to Be An Effective Teacher [with CD]

Harry K. Wong, Rosemary T. Wong | 4.61

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Teach Like a Pirate

Increase Student Engagement, Boost Your Creativity, and Transform Your Life as an Educator

Dave Burgess | 4.50

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Teach Like a Champion

49 Techniques that Put Students on the Path to College

Doug Lemov | 4.49

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Make It Stick

The Science of Successful Learning

Peter C. Brown, Henry L. Roediger III, Mark A. McDaniel | 4.48

best educational books in the world

Barbara Oakley If you’re trying to keep up your reading about learning, one of the best books about learning is Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning by Peter Brown, Henry Roediger III, and Mark McDaniel. This insightful book was co-authored by some of the most influential researchers around. The book jacket says it best: “Many common study habits and practice routines turn out to be... (Source)

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The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

Daniel H. Pink | 4.44

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Tobi Lütke [Tobi Lütke recommended this book in an interview in "The Globe and Mail."] (Source)

David Heinemeier Hansson Takes some of those same ideas about motivations and rewards and extrapolates them in a little bit. (Source)

Mike Benkovich I'd recommend a sprinkling of business books followed by a heap of productivity and behavioural psychology books. The business books will help you with principals and the psychological books help with everything else in your life. Building your own business can really f!@# you up psychologically. (Source)

best educational books in the world

Tara Westover | 4.44

best educational books in the world

Bill Gates Tara never went to school or visited a doctor until she left home at 17. I never thought I’d relate to a story about growing up in a Mormon survivalist household, but she’s such a good writer that she got me to reflect on my own life while reading about her extreme childhood. Melinda and I loved this memoir of a young woman whose thirst for learning was so strong that she ended up getting a Ph.D.... (Source)

Barack Obama As 2018 draws to a close, I’m continuing a favorite tradition of mine and sharing my year-end lists. It gives me a moment to pause and reflect on the year through the books I found most thought-provoking, inspiring, or just plain loved. It also gives me a chance to highlight talented authors – some who are household names and others who you may not have heard of before. Here’s my best of 2018... (Source)

Alexander Stubb If you read or listen to only one book this summer, this is it. Bloody brilliant! Every word, every sentence. Rarely do I go through a book with such a rollecoaster of emotion, from love to hate. Thank you for sharing ⁦@tarawestover⁩ #Educated (Source)

best educational books in the world

How Schools Are Killing Reading and What You Can Do About It

Mr. Kelly Gallagher | 4.41

best educational books in the world

To Kill a Mockingbird

Harper Lee, Sissy Spacek, et al | 4.41

best educational books in the world

Eric Berkowitz The case is about racism, but it’s also about white sexual fear of the black man, and the failed effort of white America to stop intermixing. I think the notion of the scary black man still permeates the American justice system today. I don’t think To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the greatest pieces of literature ever, but it is a very good window into the ingrained sexual fear that permeated at... (Source)

Scott Turow It’s dated in many ways; it’s extremely sentimental. But it’s beautifully done – you can’t take a thing away from it. (Source)

David Heinemeier Hansson Really liking this one so far. I’m sure a lot of people here probably read it in high school or whatever, but it wasn’t on the Danish curriculum, so here I am! (Source)

Don't have time to read the top Teaching books of all time? Read Shortform summaries.

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Teach Like Your Hair's on Fire

The Methods and Madness Inside Room 56

Rafe Esquith | 4.41

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Why Don't Students Like School?

A Cognitive Scientist Answers Questions About How the Mind Works and What It Means for the Classroom

Daniel T. Willingham | 4.41

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Bill Gates [On Bill Gates's reading list in 2012.] (Source)

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The Story of Success

Malcolm Gladwell | 4.39

best educational books in the world

Bill Gates [On Bill Gates's reading list in 2011.] (Source)

best educational books in the world

James Altucher Gladwell is not the first person to come up with the 10,000 hour rule. Nor is he the first person to document what it takes to become the best in the world at something. But his stories are so great as he explains these deep concepts. How did the Beatles become the best? Why are professional hockey players born in January, February and March? And so on. (Source)

Cat Williams-Treloar The books that I've talked the most about with friends and colleagues over the years are the Malcolm Gladwell series of novels. Glorious stories that mix science, behaviours and insight. You can't go wrong with the "The Tipping Point", "Outliers", "Blink" or "David & Goliath". (Source)

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Teaching to Transgress

Education as the Practice of Freedom

bell hooks | 4.36

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Brene Brown This book sat next to my bed the entire first year I taught at the University of Houston. Hooks' idea of "education as the practice of freedom" shaped who I am today. Whenever difficult conversations about race, class, or gender begin to surface, I remember what she taught me: If your students are comfortable, you're not doing your job. (Source)

Les Back It’s really a wonderful account of the possibility that education has to shape and transform lives. (Source)

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Other People's Children

Cultural Conflict in the Classroom

Lisa Delpit | 4.33

best educational books in the world

Kelly Wickham Hurst @MJAntinarelli @KaitPopielarz It’s amazing. It’s THE book that changed everything for me early on in my career. It was such a swift kick to the head. (Source)

Michelle Rhee Other People’s Children is one of the books that all educators should read because it really gives a different perspective on teaching children who may not be of the same race or socioeconomic background. I think it’s always important for teachers to understand the cultural norms and expectations that prevail in the school environment where they work. Teachers need to be cognisant, not... (Source)

best educational books in the world

The Daily Five

Gail Boushey, Joan Moser | 4.33

best educational books in the world

George Orwell | 4.32

best educational books in the world

Richard Branson Today is World Book Day, a wonderful opportunity to address this #ChallengeRichard sent in by Mike Gonzalez of New Jersey: Make a list of your top 65 books to read in a lifetime. (Source)

Steve Jobs called this book "one of his favorite" and recommended it to the hires. The book also inspired one the greatest TV ad (made by Jobs) (Source)

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D J Taylor In terms of how technology is working in our modern surveillance powers, it’s a terrifyingly prophetic book in some of its implications for 21st-century human life. Orwell would deny that it was prophecy; he said it was a warning. But in fact, distinguished Orwell scholar Professor Peter Davis once made a list of all the things that Orwell got right, and it was a couple of fairly long paragraphs,... (Source)

best educational books in the world

Pedagogy of the Oppressed

erbac | 4.31

best educational books in the world

Alexis Isabel @dontkauf i’ve read it! great book, def worth a re-read (Source)

best educational books in the world

Teaching with Love and Logic

Taking Control of the Classroom

Jim Fay, David Funk | 4.31

best educational books in the world

Educating Esmé

Diary of a Teacher's First Year

Esme Raji Codell, Jim Trelease | 4.31

best educational books in the world

The Things They Carried

Tim O'Brien | 4.30

best educational books in the world

Karl Marlantes But when O’Brien wrote The Things They Carried he came down to absolute real brass tacks. It was no longer surreal, it was like here’s a list of what a grunt carries, an infantry soldier… (Source)

Caroline Paul A beautiful book by a writer who fought in Vietnam. (Source)

Eugene Gu @realDonaldTrump Tim O’Brien is the author of the book The Things They Carried, which was about the Vietnam War. Must be very triggering for Trump since he dodged the draft multiple times with fraudulent doctors’ notes for fake bone spurs like a coward. (Source)

best educational books in the world

The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

Susan Cain | 4.30

best educational books in the world

Simon Sinek eval(ez_write_tag([[250,250],'theceolibrary_com-large-mobile-banner-2','ezslot_5',164,'0','1'])); Leaders needn’t be the loudest. Leadership is not about theater. It’s not about dominance. It is about putting the lives of others before any other priority. In Quiet, Cain affirms to a good many of us who are introverts by nature that we needn’t try to be extroverts if we want to lead.... (Source)

Jason Fried A good book I’d recommend is “Quiet” by Susan Cain. (Source)

James Altucher Probably half the world is introverts. Maybe more. It’s not an easy life to live. I sometimes have that feeling in a room full of people, “uh-oh. I just shut down. I can’t talk anymore and there’s a lock on my mouth and this crowd threw away the key.” Do you ever get that feeling? Please? I hope you do. Let’s try to lock eyes at the party. “Quiet” shows the reader how to unlock the secret powers... (Source)

best educational books in the world

Reading in the Wild

Donalyn Miller | 4.29

best educational books in the world

The Reading Strategies Book

Your Everything Guide to Developing Skilled Readers

Jennifer Serravallo | 4.29

best educational books in the world

The Great Gatsby

Francis Scott Fitzgerald | 4.28

Barack Obama When he got to high school, the president said, his tastes changed and he learned to enjoy classics like “Of Mice and Men” and “The Great Gatsby.” (Source)

Bill Gates Melinda and I really like [this book]. When we were first dating, she had a green light that she would turn on when her office was empty and it made sense for me to come over. (Source)

Marvin Liao For Non-Business, I'd have to say Dune (Herbert), Emergency (Strauss), The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald) or Flint (L'Amour). I re-read these books every year because they are just so well written & great stories that I get new perspective & details every time I read them. (Source)

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The Essential 55

An Award-Winning Educator's Rules for Discovering the Successful Student in Every Child

Ron Clark | 4.28

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How Children Succeed

Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character

Paul Tough | 4.28

Chelsea Frank I was reading a book, “How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character” by Paul Tough on a recommendation by my sister, a Middle School teacher. At that time I considered myself a great mother with natural intuition and did not go to the book as a means of “self-help” but of leisurely pleasure. However, I was perplexed when I discovered that even the most intelligent,... (Source)

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What Great Teachers Do Differently

17 Things That Matter Most

Todd Whitaker | 4.27

best educational books in the world

The Courage to Teach

Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher's Life

Parker J. Palmer | 4.27

best educational books in the world

Animal Farm

George Orwell and Christopher Hitchens | 4.26

best educational books in the world

Whitney Cummings [Whitney Cummings recommended this book on the podcast "The Tim Ferriss Show".] (Source)

Vlad Tenev When I was in sixth grade I remember being very upset by the ending of [this book]. (Source)

Sol Orwell Question: What books had the biggest impact on you? Perhaps changed the way you see things or dramatically changed your career path. Orwell's Animal Farm and 1984 (though Huxley's Brave New World is a better reflection of today's society). (Source)

best educational books in the world

Lord of the Flies

out of 5 stars5,34 | 4.25

best educational books in the world

Scott Belsky [Scott Belsky recommended this book on the podcast "The Tim Ferriss Show".] (Source)

best educational books in the world

Chigozie Obioma William Golding imbues some of these children with wisdom that would read, in the hands of a lesser author, as implausibly knowing (Source)

Disco Donnie @JoshRHernandez1 I love the book “Lord of the Flies” so just started watching The Society (Source)

best educational books in the world

When Kids Can't Read-What Teachers Can Do

A Guide for Teachers 6-12

Kylene Beers | 4.24

best educational books in the world

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Sherman Alexie | 4.24

best educational books in the world

Rand Fishkin Empathy is at the core of my beliefs, and this is one of the best books I’ve ever read that fosters empathetic thinking. It’s also a great reminder of how hard it is to accomplish anything when your life circumstances and surroundings negatively contribute to progress and a great reminder to stay humble. (Source)

best educational books in the world

Angela Duckworth | 4.23

Benjamin Spall [Question: What five books would you recommend to youngsters interested in your professional path?] [...] Grit by Angela Duckworth (Source)

Bogdan Lucaciu Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance - it was frustrating to read: “Where was this book 20 years ago!?” (Source)

Stephen Lew When asked what books he would recommend to youngsters interested in his professional path, Stephen mentioned Grit. (Source)

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What the Best College Teachers Do

Ken Bain | 4.23

best educational books in the world

The Freedom Writers Diary

The Freedom Writers | 4.23

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Write Like This

Mr. Kelly Gallagher | 4.23

If you want to learn how to shoot a basketball, you begin by carefully observing someone who knows how to shoot a basketball. If you want to be a writer, you begin by carefully observing the work of accomplished writers. Recognizing the importance that modeling plays in the learning process, high school English teacher Kelly Gallagher shares how he gets his students to stand next to and pay close attention to model writers, and how doing so elevates his students' writing abilities. Write Like This is built around a central premise: if students are to grow as writers, they...

If you want to learn how to shoot a basketball, you begin by carefully observing someone who knows how to shoot a basketball. If you want to be a writer, you begin by carefully observing the work of accomplished writers. Recognizing the importance that modeling plays in the learning process, high school English teacher Kelly Gallagher shares how he gets his students to stand next to and pay close attention to model writers, and how doing so elevates his students' writing abilities. Write Like This is built around a central premise: if students are to grow as writers, they need to read good writing, they need to study good writing, and, most important, they need to emulate good writers.

In Write Like This , Kelly emphasizes real-world writing purposes, the kind of writing he wants his students to be doing twenty years from now. Each chapter focuses on a specific discourse: express and reflect, inform and explain, evaluate and judge, inquire and explore, analyze and interpret, and take a stand/propose a solution. In teaching these lessons, Kelly provides mentor texts (professional samples as well as models he has written in front of his students), student writing samples, and numerous assignments and strategies proven to elevate student writing.

By helping teachers bring effective modeling practices into their classrooms, Write Like This enables students to become better adolescent writers. More important, the practices found in this book will help our students develop the writing skills they will need to become adult writers in the real world.

best educational books in the world

Lies My Teacher Told Me

Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong

James W. Loewen | 4.23

best educational books in the world

Savage Inequalities

Children in America's Schools

Jonathan Kozol | 4.21

best educational books in the world

Teacher Man (Frank McCourt, #3)

Frank McCourt | 4.21

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How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk

Adele Faber, Elaine Mazlish | 4.20

best educational books in the world

Jeff Atwood "The best marriage advice book I’ve read is a paperback called How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk. As you might deduce from the title, it wasn’t meant as a marriage advice book." (Source)

Miguel De Icaza @codinghorror Yes - that is an awesome book too (Source)

best educational books in the world

Developing Depth, Stamina, and Passion in Adolescent Readers

Penny Kittle | 4.20

best educational books in the world

In the Middle

New Understandings about Writing, Reading, and Learning

Nancie Atwell, Donald H. Graves | 4.20

The second edition still urges educators to "come out from behind their own big desks" to turn classrooms into workshops where students and teachers create curriculums together. But it also advocates a more activist role for teachers. Atwell writes, "I'm no longer willing to withhold suggestions and directions from my kids when I can help them solve a problem, do something they've never done before, produce stunning writing, and ultimately become more independent of me."

More than 70 percent of the material is new, with six brand-new chapters on genres, evaluation, and the teacher as writer. There are also lists of several hundred minilessons, and scripts and examples for teaching them; new expectations and rules for writing and reading workshops; ideas for teaching conventions; new systems for record keeping; lists of essential books for students and teachers; and forms for keeping track of individual spelling, skills, proofreading, homework, writing, and reading.

The second edition of In the Middle is written in the same engaging style as its predecessor. It reads like a story - one that readers will be pleased to learn has no end. As Atwell muses, "I know my students and I will continue to learn and be changed. I am resigned - happily - to be always beginning for the rest of my life as a teacher."

best educational books in the world

Strategies That Work

Teaching Comprehension for Understanding and Engagement

Pearson Prof. Growth | 4.19

best educational books in the world

Teaching with Poverty in Mind

What Being Poor Does to Kids' Brains and What Schools Can Do about It

Eric Jensen | 4.19

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The Art of War

Sun Tzu | 4.19

best educational books in the world

Reid Hoffman Reid read Carl von Clausewitz and Sun Tzu as a boy, which informed his strategic thinking. (Source)

Neil deGrasse Tyson Which books should be read by every single intelligent person on planet? [...] The Art of War (Sun Tsu) [to learn that the act of killing fellow humans can be raised to an art]. If you read all of the above works you will glean profound insight into most of what has driven the history of the western world. (Source)

Evan Spiegel After meeting Mark Zuckerberg, [Evan Spiegel] immediately bought every [Snapchat] employee a copy of 'The Art Of War'. (Source)

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For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood... and the Rest of Y'all Too

Reality Pedagogy and Urban Education

Christopher Emdin | 4.19

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Elie Wiesel, Marion Wiesel | 4.18

best educational books in the world

Johanna Reiss Elie Wiesel wrote..that he was considering running into the barbed wire once, but he didn’t because his father needed him. (Source)

Steven Katz Probably the best known memoir that has been written about the experience of the death camps. (Source)

best educational books in the world

The Catcher in the Rye

J. D. Salinger | 4.17

best educational books in the world

Bill Gates One of my favorite books ever. (Source)

Woody Allen It was such a relief from the other books I was reading at the time, which all had a quality of homework to them. (Source)

Chigozie Obioma He sees everybody as phony because they take life too seriously. (Source)

best educational books in the world

The Reading Zone

How to Help Kids Become Skilled, Passionate, Habitual, Critical Readers

Nancie Atwell | 4.17

best educational books in the world

The Elements of Style

William Jr. Strunk | 4.16

best educational books in the world

Tobi Lütke [My] most frequently gifted book is [this book] because I like good writing. (Source)

best educational books in the world

Bill Nye This is my guide. I accept that I’ll never write anything as good as the introductory essay by [the author]. It’s brilliant. (Source)

Jennifer Rock If you are interested in writing and communication, start with reading and understanding the technical aspects of the craft: The Elements of Style. On Writing Well. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. (Source)

best educational books in the world

Notice and Note

Strategies for Close Reading

Kylene Beers and Robert E Probst | 4.16

best educational books in the world

The First Six Weeks of School

Responsive Classroom | 4.16

best educational books in the world

I Read It, but I Don't Get It

Comprehension Strategies for Adolescent Readers

Cris Tovani | 4.14

best educational books in the world

Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain

Promoting Authentic Engagement and Rigor Among Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students

Zaretta L. (Lynn) Hammond | 4.14

best educational books in the world

Mechanically Inclined

Building Grammar, Usage, and Style into Writer's Workshop

Jeff Anderson, Vicki Spandel | 4.13

best educational books in the world

The CAFE Book

Engaging All Students in Daily Literacy Assessment and Instruction

Gail Boushey, Joan Moser | 4.13

best educational books in the world

The Giver (The Giver, #1)

Lois Lowry | 4.13

best educational books in the world

Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?

And Other Conversations About Race

Beverly Daniel Tatum | 4.13

Denise Morris Kipnis I was serving on the board of a prestigious and exclusive school when I first read this. As part of the school’s commitment to inclusion, every group, including the board, went through diversity training. Our consultant, Glenn Singleton of Pacific Education Group, never let us forget why we were there: that improving outcomes for all our students was a business imperative. As a result of this... (Source)

best educational books in the world

Understanding by Design

Grant Wiggins, Jay McTighe | 4.13

Authors Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe answer these and many other questions in this second edition of Understanding by Design. Drawing on feedback from thousands of educators around...

Authors Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe answer these and many other questions in this second edition of Understanding by Design. Drawing on feedback from thousands of educators around the world who have used the UbD framework since its introduction in 1998, the authors have revised and expanded their original work to guide educators across the K16 spectrum in the design of curriculum, assessment, and instruction. With an improved UbD Template at its core, the book explains the rationale of backward design and explores in greater depth the meaning of such key ideas as essential questions and transfer tasks. Readers will learn why the familiar coverage- and activity-based approaches to curriculum design fall short, and how a focus on the six facets of understanding can enrich student learning. With an expanded array of practical strategies, tools, and examples from all subject areas, the book demonstrates how the research-based principles of Understanding by Design apply to district frameworks as well as to individual units of curriculum.

Combining provocative ideas, thoughtful analysis, and tested approaches, Understanding by Design , Expanded 2nd Edition, offers teacher-designers a clear path to the creation of curriculum that ensures better learning and a more stimulating experience for students and teachers alike.

Michelle Rhee Understanding by Design is an incredibly influential book. Its premise is that you have to start curriculum design with an end in mind. You figure out what your goal is first and plan backwards from there, building your curriculum around what you want to achieve. It sounds very simple but for a long time people weren’t doing that. They were covering units or textbooks without clear priorities or... (Source)

best educational books in the world

Bird By Bird

Some Instructions on Writing and Life

Anne Lamott | 4.13

best educational books in the world

Susan Cain I love [this book]. Such a good book. (Source)

Timothy Ferriss Bird by Bird is one of my absolute favorite books, and I gift it to everybody, which I should probably also give to startup founders, quite frankly. A lot of the lessons are the same. But you can get to your destination, even though you can only see 20 feet in front of you. (Source)

Ryan Holiday It was wonderful to read these two provocative books of essays by two incredibly wise and compassionate women. [...] Anne Lamott’s book is ostensibly about the art of writing, but really it too is about life and how to tackle the problems, temptations and opportunities life throws at us. Both will make you think and both made me a better person this year. (Source)

best educational books in the world

Teaching Adolescent Writers

Mr. Kelly Gallagher | 4.13

best educational books in the world

How to Read Literature Like a Professor

Thomas C. Foster | 4.13

In this practical and amusing guide to literature, Thomas C. Foster shows how easy and gratifying it is to unlock those hidden truths, and to discover a world where a road leads to a quest; a shared meal may...

In this practical and amusing guide to literature, Thomas C. Foster shows how easy and gratifying it is to unlock those hidden truths, and to discover a world where a road leads to a quest; a shared meal may signify a communion; and rain, whether cleansing or destructive, is never just rain. Ranging from major themes to literary models, narrative devices, and form, How to Read Literature Like a Professor is the perfect companion for making your reading experience more enriching, satisfying, and fun.

best educational books in the world

Deeper Reading

Comprehending Challenging Texts, 4-12

Mr. Kelly Gallagher | 4.12

best educational books in the world

See Me After Class

Advice for Teachers by Teachers

Roxanna Elden | 4.12

best educational books in the world

A Memoir of the Craft

Stephen King | 4.12

best educational books in the world

Mark Manson I read a bunch of books on writing before I wrote my first book and the two that stuck with me were Stephen King’s book and “On Writing Well” by Zinsser (which is a bit on the technical side). (Source)

Benjamin Spall [Question: What five books would you recommend to youngsters interested in your professional path?] On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft by Stephen King, [...] (Source)

best educational books in the world

The Outsiders

S. E. Hinton | 4.11

best educational books in the world

Reading with Meaning

Teaching Comprehension in the Primary Grades

Debbie Miller | 4.11

best educational books in the world

Choice Words

How Our Language Affects Children's Learning

Peter H. Johnston | 4.11

best educational books in the world

Of Mice and Men

John Steinbeck | 4.10

Steve Benjamins I think all of John Steinbeck’s books are uplifting. He sees the best in humanity and it leaves me feeling warm and generous. I always love this paragraph in Of Mice and Men that hints at the tension between business and humanity: "It has always seemed strange to me that the things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honestly, understanding, and feeling are the concomitants of... (Source)

best educational books in the world

The English Teacher's Companion

A Complete Guide to Classroom, Curriculum, and the Profession

Jim Burke | 4.09

best educational books in the world

Making Thinking Visible

How to Promote Engagement, Understanding, and Independence for All Learners

Ron Ritchhart, Mark Church, Karin Morrison | 4.08

best educational books in the world

The Death and Life of the Great American School System

How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education

Diane Ravitch | 4.08

best educational books in the world

Teach Like a Champion 2.0

62 Techniques That Put Students on the Path to College

Doug Lemov, Norman Atkins | 4.08

best educational books in the world

The Smartest Kids in the World

And How They Got That Way

Amanda Ripley | 4.07

best educational books in the world


Mary Shelle | 4.07

best educational books in the world

Michael Arrington Shelley wrote this book as a teenager, and most of us read it in high school. Often credited as the first science fiction novel. You can read just about any political viewpoint you want into the book, and there are strong undertones that technology isn’t all good. But what I get out of it is the creativeness that can come with solitude, and how new technology can be misunderstood, even perhaps by... (Source)

Adam Roberts Brian Aldiss has famously argued that science fiction starts with Mary Shelley’s novel, and many people have agreed with him. (Source)

best educational books in the world

The Book Thief

Markus Zusak | 4.06

best educational books in the world

Lydia Ruffles The (Source)

best educational books in the world

Notebook Know-How

Strategies for the Writer's Notebook

Aimee Buckner, Ralph Fletcher | 4.06

best educational books in the world

Brain Rules

12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School

John Medina | 4.06

James Altucher Discusses how to keep your brain healthy. (Source)

Dmitry Dragilev There’s a book called Brain Rules, also a great book, by John Medina, sort of like how your brain works. (Source)

best educational books in the world

Write Beside Them

Risk, Voice, and Clarity in High School Writing

Penny Kittle | 4.05

best educational books in the world

Fahrenheit 451

Ray Bradbury | 4.05

Timothy Ferriss This classic work on state censorship remains as relevant in today’s world of digital delights as it was when published in the black-and-white world of 1953. In a futuristic American city, firefighter Guy Montag does not put out blazes; instead, he extinguishes knowledge and promotes ignorance by conducting state decreed book burnings. After an elderly woman chooses a fiery death with her books... (Source)

Ryan Holiday I’m not sure what compelled me to pick Fahrenheit 451 back up but I’m so glad I did because I was able to see the book in a very different context. Bradbury’s message (made explicit in his 50th Anniversary Afterword) is much less a warning against government control and much more about a road to hell paved by people attempting to rid the world of offensive speech and conflicting ideas. In a world... (Source)

best educational books in the world

32 Third Graders and One Class Bunny

Life Lessons from Teaching

Phillip Done | 4.05

best educational books in the world

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)

Suzanne Collins | 4.05

best educational books in the world

Robert Muchamore A brutal, exciting, action-based sci-fi novel. Hugely popular and excellent fun. (Source)

best educational books in the world

How Learning Works

Seven Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching

Susan A. Ambrose, Michael W. Bridges, et al. | 4.04

best educational books in the world

Romeo and Juliet

William Shakespeare, Dr. Barbara A. Mowat, Paul Werstine Ph.D. | 4.04

best educational books in the world

Teaching to Change Lives

Seven Proven Ways to Make Your Teaching Come Alive

Howard Hendricks | 4.04

best educational books in the world

The Odyssey

Homer | 4.04

After enduring the Trojan War, Odysseus begins the treacherous journey home to Ithaca. On the way, he faces ravenous monsters and vengeful gods. But the real battle awaits, as his kingdom is under siege by unruly suitors vying for his wife’s hand—and his son’s head. To reclaim his throne and save his family, Odysseus must rely on his wits…and help from the unpredictable gods.

Homer’s The Odyssey was composed around 700 BC. It is one of the earliest epics in existence and remains one of the most influential works of literature today.

Revised edition: Previously...

Revised edition: Previously published as The Odyssey , this edition of The Odyssey (AmazonClassics Edition) includes editorial revisions.

best educational books in the world

Ted Turner When I got to college, I was a classics major, and that was mainly the study of Greek - and to a lesser extent Roman - history and culture, and that fascinated me: the Iliad, the Odyssey, the Aeneid by Virgil. (Source)

Max Porter I still have an image of Odysseus in my head from when I was a child – he’s very Anglo-Saxon and stubbly, a bit like Michael Fassbender (Source)

best educational books in the world

Janine di Giovanni The thing I loved about Ulysses was that he’s so in love with adventure and with love. (Source)

best educational books in the world

The Read-Aloud Handbook

Jim Trelease | 4.03

best educational books in the world

Bethany S. Mandel Also: Read Aloud Revival (all parents should check it out), this is another great book for all parents:, and we like Beautiful Feet Books curriculum too (lots of literature based options on world cultures, history, character etc) (Source)

best educational books in the world

Two Teachers and the Quest to Engage and Empower Adolescents

Kelly Gallagher | 4.03

best educational books in the world

Things Fall Apart (The African Trilogy, #1)

Chinua Achebe | 4.03

best educational books in the world

Jacqueline Novogratz The first book I read by an African author. Achebe is unflinching in his portrayal of the challenges of change, the relationships of colonialism, and power/powerlessness. (Source)

Sam Kiley I think what’s so fantastic about it is that it’s sort of portentous, if that’s the right word, in that it captures that moment between the end of colonisation and independence, and the inevitable crushing of Africa’s dreams. I can’t remember exactly when it was written, but it was very early on in the process. It sounds really pessimistic – I mean, it’s a beautifully written book, but it’s the... (Source)

best educational books in the world

Igniting a Passion for Reading

Successful Strategies for Building Lifetime Readers

Steven Layne | 4.03

best educational books in the world

Whole Brain Teaching for Challenging Kids

Chris Biffle | 4.03

best educational books in the world

Letters to a Young Teacher

Jonathan Kozol | 4.02

best educational books in the world

The Teacher Wars

A History of America's Most Embattled Profession

Dana Goldstein | 4.02

best educational books in the world

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Mark Twain | 4.02

Walter Isaacson Read [this book]. (Source)

Michael Voss I enjoy nearly everything Mark Twain ever wrote, but my favorite is The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. This novel showcases Twain at the top of his game in terms of acerbic wit, sharp societal observations and the use of regional dialects - for which he initially garnered great criticism, before the passage of time enabled critics to understand and acknowledge its authenticity. (Source)

best educational books in the world

Mosaic of Thought

Teaching Comprehension in a Reader's Workshop

Ellin Oliver Keene, Susan Zimmermann, Donald H. Graves | 4.01

best educational books in the world

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Mark Haddon | 4.01

best educational books in the world

Simon Baron-Cohen In fiction the writer has some licence to deviate from what is real – it’s a work of art, ultimately, for people’s interest and enjoyment, but I think that the character is very recognisable of many people with Asperger syndrome. I think the author has done a very good job. (Source)

Vanessa Keng I've always loved fiction - mainly crime and legal thrillers, but there's something wonderful about reading a completely different style of writing from what I'm used to. I found myself absorbed in the narrative of guilt and love in The Kite Runner, and The Curious Incident told me a story from a completely different perspective. (Source)

Robert Muchamore Mark Haddon wrote a spy series for eight- or nine-year-olds and then he suddenly comes out with this rather brilliant novel. Is it an adult book? Is it a kids’ book? So many people can read it and approach it. (Source)

best educational books in the world

The Total Money Makeover

A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness (Classic Edition)

Dave Ramsey | 4.00

best educational books in the world

Eric 'Dids' Recently listened to the Audiobook "Total Money Makeover" and am amazed how much it has made a difference, arguably more so outside of finance. The motto posed in the book, "Live like nobody else so eventually you can live like nobody else." Is an amazing motto to have in life. (Source)

Vincent Pugliese Linchpin by Seth Godin, The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey, and Rich Dad, Poor Dad had immediate effects on my life. (Source)

best educational books in the world

Lost at School

Why Our Kids with Behavioral Challenges are Falling Through the Cracks and How We Can Help Them

Ross W. Greene Ph.D. | 4.00

best educational books in the world

Punished by Rewards

The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise and Other Bribes

Alfie Kohn | 4.00

David Heinemeier Hansson Outlines all the scientific research on why incentive systems don't work. (Source)

Best Books on Education

Expand your understanding of learning with these key books on education, compiled from notable educational articles and rankings, and sequenced by how often they were spotlighted..

Best Books on Education

Greater Good Science Center • Magazine • In Action • In Education

Education Articles & More

Our favorite books for educators in 2020, greater good ’s editors pick the most inspiring and informative education books..

As we emerge from this unprecedented year in education, perhaps our most salient learning will be the need to place the social and emotional well-being of our students and teachers at the center of education.

But we shouldn’t have to wait until the next crisis to learn how to do this. We need to proactively address the inequities in our schools and the burnout educators are facing. And we can do that not only in today’s classrooms, but in the way we educate the teachers of tomorrow.

Our favorite education books of the year offer practical tips, theoretical frameworks, and historical context to help us on this journey. We hope they will inspire you as an education professional as you contribute to creating learning environments that are supportive, equitable, and empowering for all.

Teaching with a Social, Emotional, and Cultural Lens: A Framework for Educators and Teacher Educators , by Nancy L. Markowitz and Suzanne M. Bouffard

best educational books in the world

In their new book Teaching with a Social, Emotional, and Cultural Lens , Nancy Markowitz and Suzanne Bouffard have created a roadmap for teacher education and in-service teacher support programs that goes beyond an academics-only lens to include the holistic development of students and teachers alike.

The book centers on Markowitz’s Anchor Competencies Framework, which she created based on her years of experience as a teacher educator and now as executive director of the Center for Reaching and Teaching the Whole Child. This comprehensive model puts social-emotional learning into action, starting with specific goals including a safe and supportive learning environment, equity, resilience, academic success, and a greater good outlook—all oriented within a sociopolitical and cultural context. Teachers accomplish these goals through “Anchor Competencies,” such as building trusting relationships, fostering growth mindset and perseverance in students, and creating community.

Even though part of the book is geared toward teacher educators, offering practical lesson plan templates and observation protocols, in-service teacher trainers, school and district leaders, and educators themselves will gain much insight from the classroom examples and practices.

Transforming how we educate our children—an opportunity afforded us in this unique moment—requires us to tackle all aspects of the system, including those that shape our future educators and that support our current ones. Teaching with a Social, Emotional, and Cultural Lens is an important piece of the puzzle.

Schooling for Critical Consciousness: Engaging Black and Latinx Youth in Analyzing, Navigating, and Challenging Racial Injustice , by Scott Seider and Daren Graves

In their book Schooling for Critical Consciousness , researchers Scott Seider and Daren Graves paint portraits of five high schools that intentionally teach their diverse students to “recognize and analyze oppressive forces shaping society and to take action against these forces”—in other words, to become critically conscious of the world they live in. By doing so, they argue that the schools are helping their mainly Black and Latinx students to cultivate a sense of agency and to develop “psychological armor” against racial injustice.

Based on four years of in-depth research, the authors describe the ideological and pedagogical approaches of each school, along with the impact on students, most of which was very positive. For example, one school focused on making their students highly aware of systemic racism and how it affected them, while another worked to cultivate students’ political agency and skills to combat societal issues. And while none of the schools emerged with the perfect solution—they all had both challenges and successes—any school leader or educator would find enough guidance and inspiration in the book to begin this work in their own school.

After a year fraught with social and political turmoil, this book gave me hope that the solutions to many of our challenges lie in the education of our youth. And yet, at the end of the book, I was left wondering about whether these methods would work to teach critical consciousness to white students. Seider has done studies on this with mixed results , showing that more effort needs to be made by educators, schools, and curriculum developers to understand how to best involve all students in this work.  The burden of transforming our country into a society where all live safe, free, and equal needs to rest on everyone’s shoulders—otherwise we may not see the full realization of a dream whose time has come.

Coaching for Equity: Conversations That Change Practice , by Elena Aguilar

“I think it’s easier to assume that we’re all racist, and we all have learning to do,” says Elena Aguilar to one of her coaching clients in her new book Coaching for Equity . Aguilar’s voice is clear, direct, and refreshingly practical as she offers a series of rubrics, tips, and strategies for engaging in meaningful conversations about race and power. Although this book ostensibly targets coaches and school leaders, it addresses educational professionals of all roles and racial identities. Bottom line, if you work and collaborate with other adults and you want to think more about how to interrupt inequities in schools, this is your book.

In Coaching for Equity , Aguilar describes her “Transformational Coaching” model, shares rich stories of her work with coaching clients, and provides a brief history of racism in the United States as she sets the stage for a meaningful series of how-to chapters. In the wake of this year’s racial and political conflicts, you might find yourself gravitating to her chapters on “how to talk about race” and “how to change someone’s mind,” in particular. Aguilar walks you through “10 tips for talking about race” and provides sentence stems for responding to racist comments, while encouraging you to see conversations about race as potentially healing rather than difficult.

Aguilar maps out the conditions necessary for establishing trust and safety so that we are open to seeing our own biases and ultimately changing our beliefs. At the same time, she draws on psychological research to address some of the reasons we struggle to change in the first place, including confirmation bias (our drive to look for information to verify what we already believe).

Of course, honest conversations about our biases can bring up challenging emotions. In a recent interview, Aguilar acknowledged: “There’s just no way that we can do the work around equity without attending to our emotions and without cultivating the emotions that will help us to navigate the discomfort.” Coaching for Equity presents a variety of tools to support healing conversations about race that will ultimately change the way we see our students, colleagues, and ourselves.

Teacher Burnout Turnaround: Strategies for Empowered Educators , by Patricia A. Jennings

After years of studying how to help teachers navigate daily stressors, author and researcher Patricia Jennings decided to take a big-picture look at the “system” that creates the stress in the first place. In Teacher Burnout Turnaround , Jennings reminds us that individual educators have the power to collectively transform the education system—and we can start by changing the way we think about school.

If we want to turn around a system, we have to step back and view its stress points as potential leverage points, she argues, so her “Stress Matrix” outlines different levels of challenges (e.g,. teacher, student, student-teacher relationships, school, district, and society) and reframes them as access points for change.

On the individual level, she encourages educators to become aware of the “mind traps” that keep them from seeing the big picture in the first place. For example, she takes the problem of time urgency that many teachers experience daily (“I will never have time to teach this well”) and notes we can either shift the way we view time, as individuals, or change the way we do school in the first place (for example, with the innovative use of advisories and block scheduling).

Jennings’s primary tool of transformation is “design thinking”—seeing the school as a multifaceted system with the student “user” at its heart. She emphasizes the value in putting the learner-user first, practicing empathy by putting ourselves in their shoes, seeing the challenges to their learning through their eyes, and then actively brainstorming new and innovative ways of doing school (such as collaborative learning or project-based instructional approaches).

Unlike some of her books, Teacher Burnout Turnaround is more about thinking than feeling. Jennings urges a cognitive shift in our awareness that is refreshing, inspiring, and even collectively empowering. So when she quotes her colleague, Alexander Laszlo, it rings true: “Be the systems change you wish to see in the world.”

Cultivating Genius: An Equity Framework for Culturally and Historically Responsive Literacy , by Gholdy Muhammad

In her book, Cultivating Genius , researcher Gholdy Muhammad reveals the lessons she learned in her exploration of the rich history of 19th century Black literary societies. Society members met in church basements, libraries, homes, and auditoriums to engage in reading, writing, debating, and speaking. What’s more, this path to cultivate self-empowerment, self-determination, and self-liberation was collaborative—there was a shared responsibility to pass on knowledge to each other.

Muhammad outlines the lessons of Black literary societies that are relevant to redefining the way we teach literacy today. “We must stop implementing curriculum and literacy models that were not designed for or by people of color, expecting that these models will advance the educational achievement of children of color,” says Muhammad. “This is the same as designing a size 2 ball gown for a size 10 model. We expect youth to work inside frameworks that were not designed for them.”

There are four goals in her Historically Responsive Literacy Model: developing students’ identity, skills, intellect, and criticality. She encourages educators to design lessons where students have opportunities to simultaneously learn about themselves and their strengths, develop their expertise in content areas, build their knowledge (including their self- and social-emotional awareness), and think about power, equity, and compassionate social change.

How do you begin to do this in your classrooms? Cultivating Genius is filled with thoughtful exercises, sample lessons, and self-reflection questions for teachers and administrators that will guide you toward a deeper understanding of and practical ways to use her equity-based teaching and learning model. She calls on developers and writers of standards, curriculum, and state exams to look closely at the literacy legacy of communities of color and her framework to help them design content that is more equitable and inclusive.

About the Authors

Vicki Zakrzewski

Vicki Zakrzewski

Vicki Zakrzewski, Ph.D. , is the education director of the Greater Good Science Center.

Amy L. Eva

Amy L. Eva, Ph.D. , is the associate education director at the Greater Good Science Center. As an educational psychologist and teacher educator with over 25 years in classrooms, she currently writes, presents, and leads online courses focused on student and educator well-being, mindfulness, and courage. Her new book, Surviving Teacher Burnout: A Weekly Guide To Build Resilience, Deal with Emotional Exhaustion, and Stay Inspired in the Classroom, features 52 simple, low-lift strategies for enhancing educators’ social and emotional well-being.

Maryam Abdullah

Maryam Abdullah

Uc berkeley.

Maryam Abdullah, Ph.D., is the Parenting Program Director of the Greater Good Science Center. She is a developmental psychologist with expertise in parent-child relationships and children’s development of prosocial behaviors.

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best educational books in the world

Best Sellers in Education

Know Better, Do Better: Comprehension: Fueling the Reading Brain With Knowledge, Vocabulary, and Rich Language (The Science o

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best educational books in the world

8 Books to Read if You Want to Make American Education Great Again

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Amanda Kay Oaks

A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, Amanda Kay Oaks has a BFA in Creative Writing and Literature from The University of Evansville and is a current creative nonfiction MFA student at Chatham University. An AmeriCorps alum, online tutor, and literary journal editor, Amanda considers herself a professional wearer of many hats and isn't sure what she'll do if she ever actually has only one job at a time. When she isn't working, reading, writing, or pretending to be a practiced yogi, Amanda can most likely be found snuggled up on the couch with her cat, Artemis, and a plate of cookies. She tweets T.S. Eliot quotes a little too often and tries to keep up with her personal book blog, I Write Things . Twitter: @I_Write_Things

View All posts by Amanda Kay Oaks

One of the many issues that keeps popping up in American news is who should be our next Secretary of Education. This debate brings about questions of what’s next in the ever changing landscape of public education. Our education system seems to be in constant flux, but are the changes helping or hurting students?

If you want to be prepared to guide our children (and adult learners) to a better future, why not start with educating yourself about how our education system got this way–and whether or not it works.

There are a number of great books out there, but here are a few suggestions for where to start.

best educational books in the world

This book seems like a good starting point, as it details the history of American Education from pre-colonial days on (including a look at Native American education before colonization). It deals with major education movements in each time period, tracing how we got to where we are today.

best educational books in the world

Savage Inequalities addresses the funding gap between schools in wealthy areas and those in poorer ones. To write this book on whether or not our education system really provides equal opportunity to every child, Kozul spent two years touring the country, interviewing  teachers, principals, superintendents, and students.

best educational books in the world

This book features a series of essays about our education system’s fixation on scores and grades. As standardized tests continue to be the standard on which both students and teachers are judged, what are we losing? What is the real goal of education–and are we still focusing on this as we try new and different systems to evaluate and score students?

best educational books in the world

This book (and the documentary of the same name) draws on the knowledge of education reform experts to provide insight, suggestions, and resources to help the reader join the struggle to improve our schools.

best educational books in the world

Ravitch is the former assistant secretary of education and a voice for the drive to create a national curriculum. Drawing on her experience, she re-examines previously held positions and makes a case for why we need education reform.

best educational books in the world

This book is part of a three book pedagogy trilogy that takes on issues of education and the issues inherent in the system. In this book, bell hooks tackles areas such as race, gender, class and nationality both in and beyond the classroom. She reminds us that education needs to be democratic, leaving space for all perspectives and all people to thrive.

best educational books in the world

This book serves as a nice point for comparison, looking at education systems in other countries that approach education differently than America does. Ripley follows three Americans who live in three of these “smart” countries for a year–South Korea, Finland, and Poland.

best educational books in the world

This book deals with the disparity between the number of children of color in the classroom and the number of teachers of color who instruct them. She discusses the teacher’s role as a “cultural transmitter” and examines the role of power dynamics and authority in the classroom.

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The 15 Best Educational Children’s Books for Brainy Kids in 2022

  • 9 February 2022
  • Jo & Rachel

The 15 Best Educational Children’s Books for Brainy Kids

Looking for the absolute best educational children’s books to get your kids excited about learning? You’ve come to the right place! 

The best educational books are the perfect mix of colorful illustrations, fun plots, engaging materials, and of course, are interesting enough to keep parents awake. 

The 15 Best Educational Children’s Books for Brainy Kids

Curious as to which ones made the cut? 

Let’s get right to it. 

Disclaimer: This page contains affiliate links.  S ee our   disclosure policy  for more details.

The Top 15 Educational Children’s Books

We’ve put together the ultimate list of educational children’s books. Here were the best of the best that made the cut:

A is for Awesome Children's Book

A Is for Awesome!: 23 Iconic Women Who Changed the World

This book follows the alphabet to introduce some truly iconic women including A for Amelia Earhart, M for Malala, and R for Ruth Bader Ginsburg. 

It’s designed for younger ages so don’t expect a long history about every figure. Each page has an illustration, brief description, and quote for every iconic woman featured. 

Good for ages 3+

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One of the more creative educational children's books

What If You Had Animal Teeth?

This is an adorable book that talks about the different kinds of animal teeth and what they mean for each species. Kids will love the hilarious pictures of kids with different types of teeth! 

This is part of the educational children’s books ‘What If You Had…?’  Our other favorite is What If You Had Animal Eyes?

Good for ages 5+

Who Pooped in Central Park to learn about cities and wildlife

Who Pooped in Central Park?

Join four kids as they explore Central Park and learn all about the habits and diets of various animals by investigating scat and tracks. 

While they have versions of this book that explore different parks (like the Redwoods ), New York City is our favorite because it’s a good reminder that we’re surrounded by wildlife even in the busiest of bustling cities.  

Good for ages 6+

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National Geographic makes some of the best educational children's books

National Geographic Little Kids First Big Books

National Geographic Kids makes some amazing educational children’s books about a variety of different topics from dinosaurs to space and even bugs . 

While these are advertised to serve as an introduction for these subjects, even my 7-year-old loves them as he learns something new every time we read them. 

These are a little long so for younger kids with shorter attention spans you might need to do a chapter at a time. 

The Cat in the Hat's Learning Library collection

Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library  

All the characters you love having adventures and exploring educational topics, what’s not to love?

Your kids will love the funny cat and his adventures. You’ll love that it’s one of the more educational children’s books. As one reviewer said, it’s “a perfect blend of fun and education!”. 

This one is also a larger series with book topics ranging from space to deserts and even weather !

Good for ages 4+

Start the educational children's books as young as the baby years!

Baby University Board Books

Even though the Baby University Book s say they’re “for babies”, everyone (including you!) will learn something.

It’s a great book to introduce science concepts – quantum physics , rocket science , organic chemistry , etc – in fun, colorful, and engaging ways!

Good for ages 1+

Magic school bus makes great smart books for kids

The Magic School Bus Books

Yes, the books from your childhood. There’s a reason these books are considered the bestselling science series! 

Your favorite eccentrically dressed teacher is still here with her off-the-wall educational field trips. Kids love learning about the characters (most importantly, Arnold) and seeing what crazy form that old bus will transform into next. Join the class as they take a trip inside the earth , through electricity , inside the human body , and to explore the five senses . 

One thing I love about these books is that you can easily control how long and detailed the story is. Don’t have much time? Just read the main text. Got lots of time to kill? Read all of the speech bubbles and the sciency stuff on the margins. 

LOVE this series about ordinary people who change the world - great reference for children

Ordinary People Change the World  

This series is a collection of kid-friendly biographies about some amazing individuals who have shaped our world from the past and present. 

It covers a variety of different political, social, art, scientific, historic, and sports topics. Think people like Malala , Muhammad Ali , Jackie Robinson , Marie Curie , and so so SO many more.

I find these books to give the perfect amount of information and history – enough to give a solid foundation but not so much that children start to become bored. I also love that it talks about the early life of the individuals so children can realize that many of them were not born into fame.

Coloring book to get kids learning about the human body and anatomy

My First Human Body Book

Yes, this is a coloring book, but don’t hold that against it. 

Full of details and interesting facts about the body, this book is a fantastic introduction to anatomy. The interactive value of being a coloring book makes learning fun and helps kids absorb the information!

Good for ages 6+  

Great resource for a child's first encyclopedia

My Encyclopedia of Very Important Things

This is a great first encyclopedia for curious kids. Though not super detailed, it provides simple information on a very wide variety of topics including history, space, animals, and so much more.

It’s actually part of the My Very Important Encyclopedia series which includes more books on animals , dinosaurs , sports , and the world .

Ten Magic Butterflies is a great educational children's book

Ten Magic Butterflies

This fun story makes math fun by showing different ways to add numbers to equal 10. It has a cute story and beautiful illustrations while also reinforcing important math concepts.

The author, Danica McKellar, also has more books that we really like about math and simple counting including Bathtime Mathtime and Goodnight, Numbers which are great for even younger kids.

best educational books in the world

This is How We Do It

This book follows 7 kids from around the world through their day to compare the differences and similarities. Great for teaching kids about different cultures, the book talks about what each child eats, where they go to school, what clothes they wear, and so much more. 

Kids can compare their own experiences with the children in the book too making it interactive and a perfect jumping off point for further discussion.

best educational books in the world

All About Weather

A simple introduction to weather for toddlers and preschoolers, this board book is full of fun facts about weather. The book asks questions allowing an interactive element to engage your child as well as bright illustrations to keep their attention. 

Good for ages 2+

best educational books in the world

The 50 States

This book is full of fun facts about each of the 50 states in the USA. With bright pictures and interesting tidbits and trivia, everyone is sure to learn something from this book. 

Packed with so much information, I have to be honest, we don’t read every single bubble and graphic each time (there is hours of info in here).

Good for ages 7+ 

best educational books in the world

What Should Danny Do?

A great book for social-emotional learning, this interactive story lets your child decide what Danny will do. In a “choose your own adventure” style, the story changes based on your child’s decisions and we all see the consequences of our choices. The active participation keeps kids engaged and promotes learning.  

Girl reading book and learning

How Do Educational Books Help Children?

Kids need to experience material in a variety of different methods to learn and retain information. They need to hear educators talkings, look at pictures, and read along (even at young ages!) with text. 

Reading aloud to children stimulates their imagination and verbal comprehension skills. Not to mention helps develop a life-long love of reading at an early age! 

How Do I Find a Good Children’s Book?

Get recommendations from other parents like us! 

We only recommend educational children’s books we can personally vouch for – ones that help them learn in a fun, exciting, and interactive way. 

Did we miss any of your favorite educational children’s books? Let us know in the comments below! 

The 15 Best Educational Children’s Books for Brainy Kids

About Author

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Jo & Rachel

Jo and Rachel first had the idea for 'The Moms At Odds' in 2016 when our babies were turning 2 and we realized that we were very different parents.

As a mom, Rachel immediately felt this strong connection to her son and instantly decided she wanted to become a stay-at-home mom. Though Jo obviously loved her son as well, she counted the days until she could go back to work and interact with other adults.

They both struggled over getting their babies to sleep and while Jo believed in sleep training, Rachel looked for alternatives like dream feeding and no cry methods. As time passed and their children grew older the differences started to really add up – pacifier use, drinking during breastfeeding, organic foods, screen time, diaper brands, and on and on.

During this day and age, it’s so easy to look at our parenting differences as a bad thing. After all, we’ve all seen jokes and articles about “Mommy Wars” over one subject or another. Instead, we choose to embrace our differences and show you that in many areas there is no wrong answer. What works for one family may not work for another, and that’s perfectly fine. We can still all get along and raise perfectly healthy, beautiful children.

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Rafal Reyzer

  • Online Course

33 Top Educational Book Publishers (With Links)

Author: Rafal Reyzer

Discover the driving forces behind today’s scholastic revolution as we delve into the world of top educational book publishers.

These industry leaders are reshaping the way knowledge is shared, equipping educators with transformative resources and empowering learners to reach their full potential. Educational publishing includes the production of textbooks, e-learning courses , educational software, standardized tests , and more. E-books, interactive online courses, and educational apps are transforming the way we learn, so it’s great to explore these new formats. Join us on an enlightening journey as we uncover the invaluable contributions of these publishing powerhouses and witness their impact on the future of education. Next up, you can dive into my extensive collection of 3,000 publishing houses .

Here are the top educational book publishers:

Pearson logo

Pearson is a global publishing company, offering an array of resources for teachers, students, and researchers. It is a recognized leader in the education technology sector. The company’s roots can be traced back to the 1840s, but it wasn’t until the 20th century that it focused on education. Today, Pearson has a presence in over 70 countries, underscoring its international reach and influence. Pearson’s “Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative” (GRLI) is a collaborative effort with other organizations to promote responsible and sustainable leadership practices worldwide. Their extensive catalog covers all levels of education and multiple disciplines, from humanities and social sciences to STEM fields and numerous training programs for professionals . It’s among the most notable textbook publishers that offer digital and print materials, online learning platforms, teacher resources, and testing and assessment services. Among its notable publications are the “Longman” dictionaries, named after one of Pearson’s original founding companies. Pearson also owns the Edexcel examination board, which provides a variety of qualifications, including GCSEs and A Levels, to schools and colleges. Submission guidelines.

a little girl stepping on books

Did you know that the realm of educational publishing isn’t just limited to textbooks? Renowned publishers like Scholastic have shipped over 1 billion books through their iconic Book Clubs, and their Harry Potter series alone has sold over 500 million copies worldwide! Such publishers bridge the gap between entertainment and education, inspiring countless young readers and fostering a lifelong love of learning.

2. McGraw-Hill Education

McGraw-Hill Education logo

McGraw-Hill Education is another powerhouse in the world of educational publishing. With its headquarters in the United States, the company has been a critical part of the educational landscape for over a century, beginning its journey in 1888. It provides a range of educational materials and solutions, targeting pre-kindergarten through postgraduate education. They primarily publish textbooks that often appear in digital formats, online learning solutions, and teacher resources. Some of the most notable series it publishes include the yearly “McGraw-Hill Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests,” a valued resource for nurses and health professionals, and the “SRA Reading Laboratory,” a personalized learning resource that has helped students develop their reading skills since the 1950s. The company is also known for its adaptive learning technology, such as ALEKS for math and chemistry, which uses artificial intelligence to offer personalized learning experiences to students. Submission guidelines.

3. Wiley (John Wiley & Sons)

Wiley (John Wiley & Sons) logo

Wiley, or John Wiley & Sons, Inc., is an international publishing company that specializes in academic publishing and instructional materials. Founded in 1807, Wiley has been instrumental in educational and professional learning, evolving with the times to accommodate changes in technology, learning methods, and educational trends . Wiley’s portfolio includes textbooks, online teaching and learning resources, and scholarly journals, spanning subject areas such as business, technology, sciences, and mathematics. Known for its reputable “For Dummies” series, which provides introductory guides on a wide range of topics, Wiley also owns the popular CliffsNotes study guides. The company’s scholarly journals are another significant contribution to the world of academia, with many prestigious titles across various disciplines. Wiley Online Library is a notable digital resource from the publisher, providing online access to a vast collection of academic content. Submission guidelines.

4. Cambridge University Press


Cambridge University Press endures as the oldest and most prestigious academic and educational publisher. Established in 1534 by King Henry VIII. Based in Cambridge, England, the press is an integral part of the renowned University of Cambridge. The press publishes academic books, journals, and educational texts across a vast spectrum of disciplines. Notably, it published the first Bible in English, solidifying its position in publishing history. With its reputation for high-quality academic standards and top-notch research and editorial staff, Cambridge University Press continues to be a significant player in scholarly and educational publishing worldwide. Submission guidelines.

5. Oxford University Press

Oxford University Press logo

Oxford University Press (OUP), affiliated with the University of Oxford, is an award-winning publisher with a long tradition. Like Cambridge University Press, OUP boasts roots dating back to the earliest days of printing in the 15th century. Today, OUP publishes a broad range of academic materials, including the globally recognized Oxford English Dictionary. The press also publishes the popular Very Short Introductions series, offering concise guides to a diverse range of subject areas. From research monographs and scientific reports to school textbooks, OUP’s publications consistently reflect its commitment to excellence in scholarship, research, and education. Submission guidelines.

6. MIT Press

MIT Press logo

The MIT Press is a leading nonprofit publisher affiliated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Established in 1962, it is known for its boundary-pushing publications across various fields, including arts, sciences, engineering, and technology. Noteworthy publications include “The Subjection of Women” by John Stuart Mill and Noam Chomsky’s “Syntactic Structures.” The MIT Press also publishes several academic journals and the distinguished MIT Press Journals digital collection. Its strong focus on design and intellectual rigor has positioned it as a leading voice in academia and beyond. Submission guidelines.

7. Kaplan Publishing

Kaplan Publishing logo

Kaplan Publishing is a division of Kaplan Inc., a subsidiary of Graham Holdings Company. The company has been a significant player in the educational sector for over 80 years, specializing in test preparation materials , among other educational resources. With its extensive portfolio, Kaplan Publishing offers test prep books for a variety of exams, such as the SAT, GMAT, GRE, LSAT, and MCAT. It is also well-known for its resources for professional licensure exams in various fields, including medicine, nursing, and accounting. Kaplan’s contributions significantly support students and professionals aiming to achieve their educational and career goals. Submission guidelines.

8. Macmillan Education

Macmillan Education logo

Macmillan Education is a division of the Springer Nature Group, providing high-quality educational solutions and resources globally. Tracing its roots in the 1843-founded Macmillan Publishers, the company has a deep legacy in the world of publishing. Macmillan Education carved out a niche for itself in specialty educational sectors, such as English language teaching , international curricula (including IB and Cambridge), vocational education, and higher education. As the world’s leading learning company, they offer a vast range of educational products, from curriculum resources to language learning materials. Notable publications include the “Nature” series and Palgrave Macmillan’s scholarly publications. Macmillan Education’s offerings span all age groups and educational levels, making it a prominent figure in the world of educational publishers. Submission guidelines.

9. Elsevier

Elsevier logo

Elsevier is a Netherlands-based publishing company that specializes in scientific, technical, and medical content. It’s facilitating partnerships with researchers and institutions to grow through its Research Collaboration and Engagement program that connects researchers with industry, government, and nonprofit organizations. Established in 1880, it’s named after the original Dutch publishing house Elzevir, which operated in the 17th and 18th centuries. Elsevier is best known for its vast array of scholarly journals, including esteemed publications like The Lancet and Cell. It offers digital solutions, such as ScienceDirect and ClinicalKey, and publishes major reference works and textbooks for specialized areas of study. Its significant contributions make it a cornerstone in the global scientific and medical publishing landscape. Submission guidelines.

10. Emerald Group Publishing

Emerald Group Publishing logo

Emerald Group Publishing is a Canadian publishing house that focuses on growing its substantial portfolio of over 300 journals, books, and case studies. Founded in 1967, Emerald specializes in areas such as business , management, library and information studies, and engineering. Some of its most significant published works include the “International Journal of Operations & Production Management” and the “European Journal of Marketing.” Known for fostering innovation and advancing research, Emerald’s mission is to help researchers make meaningful contributions to their fields. The company also prides itself on championing fresh thinking in applied fields, where it can make a real difference. Submission guidelines.

11. SAGE Publishing

SAGE Publishing logo

SAGE Publishing is an independent publishing company founded in 1965 that specializes in developing materials around human resource management . With its headquarters in California, SAGE has gained recognition for its commitment to disseminating teachable, accessible, and deeply rooted scholarly materials. The publisher offers a comprehensive portfolio of books, journals, and online ebooks filled with useful knowledge about economics, business, study skills , health, and nursing, among other subjects. Some of its prestigious journals include the “Journal of Management” and “Autism.” SAGE’s commitment to quality and social science scholarship has led to its status as a leading global voice in the field. Submission guidelines.

12. Routledge Taylor Francis Group

Routledge logo

Routledge Taylor & Francis Group is a prominent international academic publisher. Routledge was founded in the 19th century, while Taylor & Francis was established in 1798. The two publishing powerhouses merged in 2004 to form a single entity known for its robust portfolio of academic, educational, and professional literature. The group publishes thousands of books and many journals annually across a wide spectrum of disciplines, including humanities, social sciences, behavioral sciences, and STEM. Notable works include the “European Journal of Marketing” and “The International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management.” The group’s reputation for quality publications makes it a go-to resource for scholars and educators worldwide. Submission guidelines.

13. Springer

Springer logo

Springer, established in 1842, is a global publisher providing books, e-books, and open-access publications. As part of Springer Nature since 2015, it has a strong focus on the fields of science, technology, and medicine. As a combination publisher, the company has an extensive portfolio of major reference works, textbooks, monographs, and book series, which are also available in digital formats. Among its many publications, the “Graduate Texts in Mathematics” series and the “Lecture Notes in Computer Science” series are highly regarded in the academic world. Springer’s emphasis on innovation and accessibility has established it as a significant contributor to the advancement of various academic fields. Submission guidelines.

14. Klett Gruppe

Klett Gruppe logo

Klett Gruppe is a leading educational company in Europe with a strong presence in over 17 countries. Based in Germany, it was founded in 1897 and is widely known for its comprehensive range of educational media and services. Klett Gruppe publishes a diverse array of learning materials, including textbooks, digital learning solutions, and supplementary educational literature. It covers various educational levels, from primary education to vocational and adult learning . The company is recognized for its quality education that blends tradition and innovation, catering to the growing needs of learners and educators alike. Submission guidelines.

15. Scholastic

Scholastic logo

Scholastic is a global children’s publishing, education, and media company, established in 1920. With its headquarters in New York, it is renowned for engaging children in reading and learning through its wide range of educational materials designed mostly for primary school students. Scholastic is best known for its children’s literature, book clubs, book fairs, and classroom magazines, which reach millions of children globally. Its notable publications include the “Harry Potter” series, “The Hunger Games” trilogy, and the “Magic School Bus” series. Submission guidelines.

16. Cengage Learning


Cengage Learning, based in Boston, Massachusetts, is a leading provider of innovative teaching, learning, and research solutions for undergraduate and graduate students . Founded in 2007 following a merger of Thomson Learning and Cengage Learning, it’s a dynamic player in the realm of educational publishing. Cengage publishes a variety of educational content, including print and digital textbooks, e-learning courses , and custom solutions. One of its significant innovations is Cengage Unlimited, a subscription service that offers students access to a vast collection of digital course materials. Submission guidelines.

17. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt logo

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is an American educational and trade publisher. Founded in 1832, the company has a rich history of publishing renowned novels, children’s books, textbooks, and other educational supplies. HMH offers a diverse range of products and services for classroom instruction, including textbooks, digital instruction materials, and educational games. It has published editions of some of the world’s most famous literary works, including J. R. R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” and Lois Lowry’s “The Giver.” With its blend of classic and innovative educational resources, HMH is a trusted partner for educators and learners. Submission guidelines.

18. Discovery Education

Discovery Education logo

Discovery Education is a division of Discovery Communications, known for its digital resources for K–12 classrooms, transforming traditional learning by integrating various digital formats and content into curricula. Founded in 1985, it has a unique position in the educational publishing sphere. The company offers a broad suite of resources for elementary schools, including digital textbooks, multimedia content, and a professional development platform for educators. Its innovative services, such as Discovery Education Experience, a flexible K-12 learning platform, are used in over half of U.S. schools. By leveraging digital technology, Discovery Education continues to inspire learners through engaging and immersive educational experiences. Submission guidelines.

19. Hodder Education

Hodder Education logo

Hodder Education is a UK-based educational publisher specializing in textbooks, digital resources, and revision materials for teachers and students across the globe. The company is part of Hachette, one of the UK’s largest publishing groups, ensuring its extensive reach in the educational sphere. Hodder Education’s publications cater to a variety of curricula, including International Baccalaureate, Cambridge Assessment International Education, and the UK’s National Curriculum. Known for high-quality, curriculum-focused materials like the popular “My Revision Notes” series, Hodder Education plays a significant role in supporting educators and learners at various educational stages. Submission guidelines.

20. Bloomsbury Academic

Bloomsbury Academic logo

Bloomsbury Academic, a division of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, is an independent, educational publishing company of academic, professional, and research works. As a London-based educational publisher, the company has a robust presence in the academic and professional literature publishing landscape. Bloomsbury Academic publishes around 1,200 titles every year, catering to the humanities and social sciences. Some of its popular publications include the “Churchill” biography by Andrew Roberts and the “Object Lessons” series. As an independent educational publishing house, it offers an innovative digital platform, Bloomsbury Collections, that features scholarly books from its award-winning academic division. Submission guidelines.

21. Taylor & Francis

Taylor & Francis logo

Taylor & Francis, established in 1798, is one of the oldest and most respected publishers in the world. It operates as part of the broader Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, publishing thousands of academic journals and a vast range of scholarly books annually. This publisher covers a broad spectrum of academic disciplines, including humanities, social sciences, and STEM. Key publications include the “International Journal of Production Research” and “The European Journal of Marketing.” Its enduring reputation for scholarly excellence underscores its significant contributions to the global academic community. Submission guidelines.



ABC-CLIO, based in California and a subsidiary of Bloomsbury, is a leading publisher specializing in educational and reference materials. With a rich history dating back to 1955, the company has established itself as a trusted resource for educators, textbook publishers, librarians, and students. ABC-CLIO’s extensive catalog encompasses a wide range of subjects, including history , social sciences, and contemporary issues. It publishes both print and digital resources, such as encyclopedias, databases, and primary source collections. Notable publications include the “World History Encyclopedia” and the “American Government: A Complete Coursebook.” By providing comprehensive and authoritative content, ABC-CLIO empowers learners to explore and understand various aspects of our world. Submission guidelines.

23. Princeton University Press

Princeton University Press

Princeton University Press, founded in 1905, is a distinguished academic publisher associated with Princeton University. Renowned for its rigorous scholarship and intellectual excellence, the press has played a vital role in disseminating groundbreaking research and thought-provoking publications. Princeton University Press covers an array of disciplines, including humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. Its publications range from monographs and scholarly works to textbooks and trade books. Notable titles include Thomas Kuhn’s “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions” and Robert P. George’s “Conscience and Its Enemies.” Submission guidelines.

24. Bedford, Freeman & Worth

Bedford, Freeman & Worth logo

Bedford, Freeman & Worth, commonly known as BFW, is a leading publisher of educational materials. With a focus on providing innovative solutions for educators and learners, BFW has established itself as a trusted name in the education sector. BFW publishes a wide range of textbooks, digital resources, and online learning platforms across various disciplines, including humanities, social sciences, and STEM. Notable imprints under BFW include Bedford/St. Martin’s, Freeman, and Worth Publishers. Its offerings are known for their pedagogical approach, interactive features, and engaging content. BFW’s commitment to educational excellence has made it a preferred choice for instructors and students seeking high-quality educational materials. Submission guidelines.

25. Jones & Bartlett Learning

Jones & Bartlett Learning logo

Jones & Bartlett Learning is a leading provider of instructional, assessment, and professional development resources for the fields of health sciences, public safety, and technology . Established in 1983, the company has built a reputation for producing comprehensive and cutting-edge educational materials. Jones & Bartlett Learning offers a wide range of educational products, with assessment and practice solutions including textbooks, digital learning platforms, online courses, and certification exam preparation materials. It caters to diverse learners, from healthcare professionals and first responders to students pursuing careers in technology. Notable publications include the “Emergency Care and Transportation of the Sick and Injured” textbook and the “Health Assessment for Nursing Practice” guide. With its focus on practical knowledge and industry-specific expertise, Jones & Bartlett Learning continues to empower individuals to succeed in their chosen professions. Submission guidelines.

26. Zaner-Bloser

Zaner-Bloser logo

Zaner-Bloser, founded in 1888, is a respected publisher specializing in literacy, handwriting, and professional development resources for educators. With a rich history in education, Zaner-Bloser has helped to shape literacy instruction for generations of students. The company’s publications and materials focus on developing essential language and literacy skills, including handwriting, reading, and writing. The company offers a comprehensive range of resources for educators, such as textbooks, workbooks, and digital learning platforms. Notable programs include the “Zaner-Bloser Handwriting” series, which has been widely used to teach handwriting skills in classrooms across the United States. Submission guidelines.

27. Carson Dellosa Education

Carson Dellosa Education logo

Carson Dellosa Education, founded in 1976, is a leading publisher of educational materials for PreK-8 students. With a mission to inspire and engage young learners, the company offers a diverse range of resources that promote skill development and academic growth. Carson Dellosa Education produces an array of products, including workbooks, flashcards, classroom decor, and supplemental materials. These resources cover various subjects, including math, language arts, science, and social studies. Notable offerings include the “Common Core Math 4 Today” series and the “Spectrum” series of workbooks. With a focus on interactive and visually appealing materials, Carson Dellosa Education provides teachers and parents with valuable tools to support student learning and achievement. Submission guidelines.

28. Routledge

Routledge logo

Routledge, a royal among prominent educational publishers , offers a vast array of scholarly resources across a wide range of disciplines. Established in 1836, it has a long-standing reputation for excellence in academic publishing. Routledge publishes thousands of books and journals annually, covering subjects such as humanities, social science, behavioral science, political science, and STEM fields. Its publications cater to researchers, scholars, and students seeking in-depth analysis and critical insights. Notable titles include “The Handbook of Sociolinguistics,” “The Routledge Handbook of Translation Studies,” and “The Routledge Companion to Postcolonial Studies.” Submission guidelines.

29. HarperCollins Publishers (academic division)

HarperCollins Publishers logo

HarperCollins Publishers, a multifaceted international publishing house, has a dedicated academic division that offers a wide range of various educational books and materials. With a rich history dating back to 1817, HarperCollins has established itself as a prominent name in the publishing industry. HarperCollins Academic publishes textbooks, reference works, and scholarly resources across various disciplines, including humanities, social sciences, and sciences. Notable publications include “Campbell Biology,” a widely used biology textbook, and “The Making of the West,” a comprehensive history textbook series. The academic division of HarperCollins focuses on the learning process providing high-quality educational materials that foster critical thinking and engage students in their learning journey. Submission guidelines.

30. Penguin Random House (educational division)

Penguin Random House (educational division) logo

Penguin Random House, one of the world’s largest trade book publishers, also encompasses educational divisions that offer a range of educational materials. With a rich heritage and a global reach, Penguin Random House is known for its diverse catalog of books and resources. Penguin Random House creates instructional resources for learners of all ages. They produce textbooks, literature anthologies, and supplemental resources for K-12 education, as well as resources for higher education and professional development. Notable imprints and series include Pearson, DK, and Penguin Classics. With their commitment to educational excellence and a deep understanding of readers’ needs, Penguin Random House’s educational divisions continue to contribute to the enrichment of education around the world. Submission guidelines.

31. National Geographic Education

National Geographic Education logo

This organization is a division of the renowned National Geographic Society, a global organization dedicated to exploration, conservation, and education. National Geographic Education aims to inspire a love for learning about the world and foster geographic literacy among students and educators. Through its diverse range of resources and initiatives, National Geographic Education provides engaging materials, including maps, videos, articles, and lesson plans, designed to enhance geographic knowledge and environmental awareness. Submission guidelines.

32. Nature Publishing Group

Nature Publishing Group logo

Nature Publishing Group (NPG) is a prominent publisher of scientific research and academic journals. Established in 1869, NPG has a long-standing reputation for publishing groundbreaking scientific discoveries and advancing knowledge across various disciplines. As part of Springer Nature, NPG publishes the prestigious journal Nature, widely regarded as one of the most influential scientific publications. The journal covers a broad range of scientific fields and features original research, reviews, and commentaries that shape scientific discourse. Submission guidelines.

33. Heinemann

Heinemann logo

One publisher known for creating materials specifically tailored for experienced classroom teachers is Heinemann. Heinemann is renowned for its professional development resources and publications that cater to the needs of educators with varying levels of experience. Heinemann’s materials for experienced teachers go beyond foundational concepts and delve into advanced pedagogical strategies, instructional techniques, and reflective practices. These resources are designed to help experienced educators refine their teaching skills, deepen their content knowledge, and address the unique challenges they may encounter in the classroom. Submission guidelines.

Final Thoughts

These leading educational book publishers shape many professional training programs, organize school-based book fairs, and bring forth new knowledge in the form of textbooks to new generations of learners. Their commitment to excellence, backed by scientific research and industry insights, continues to shape the future of education. By providing educators and learners with transformative resources, these powerhouses empower individuals to unlock their full potential and thrive in an ever-evolving knowledge landscape. There are many other notable textbook publishers, research journals, and other materials for college students. We look forward to the continued impact they will have on inspiring generations of learners and driving educational advancement . Next up, you may want to explore a guide on fantasy book publishers .

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Rafal Reyzer

Rafal Reyzer

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Best Education Books: Must-Read Essentials for Learners

Some of the best education books include “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” by Paulo Freire and “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” by Carol Dweck. These books offer groundbreaking perspectives on how learning occurs and the factors that influence educational success.

Exploring the best education books can provide valuable insights for educators, parents, and learners looking to enhance the learning experience. Paulo Freire’s “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” delves into the relationship between education and social justice, advocating for a participatory approach to teaching that empowers students.

Carol Dweck’s “Mindset” revolutionizes how we understand intelligence and growth, emphasizing that a person’s mindset can profoundly affect their motivation and capacity to learn. These books, and others like them, are critical resources that challenge traditional ideas and methods, encouraging innovation and informed practices in educational environments. By reading such influential works, individuals involved in education can cultivate strategies that foster a more engaging and effective educational journey for all.

Table of Contents

Introduction To Educational Literature

Embarking on a journey through educational literature can transform teachers into scholars and students into lifelong learners. With a plethora of insights and collective wisdom, books centered around education offer an enriching experience that is both thought-provoking and actionable. This exploration into educational literature not only lays the foundation for professional development but also ignites the passion for teaching and learning in myriad ways. The quest for the best education books starts here, illuminating the path forward for educators who aspire to make an indelible impact on their practice.

The Value Of Reading For Educators And Learners

Reading serves as a cornerstone for personal and professional growth. For educators, immersing themselves in high-quality educational literature equips them with a diverse toolkit of strategies, methodologies, and perspectives. Learners, on the other hand, benefit immensely from the reflective practices and enriched learning environments that educators foster by applying insights from the books they read. The following points underline the importance of reading within the educational sphere:

  • Enhanced Knowledge Base : Teachers and students expand their understanding of complex theories and educational paradigms through well-articulated texts.
  • Critical Thinking : Analyzing and critiquing educational texts hones cognitive skills, fostering a community of inquisitive and insightful critical thinkers.
  • Innovative Techniques : Exposure to cutting-edge research and innovative educational practices encourages the adaptation of new teaching methodologies.
  • Inspiration : Powerful narratives and case studies act as a source of motivation, inspiring educators and learners to surpass their potential.

How Educational Books Shape Teaching Philosophies And Practices

In the realm of education, what we read profoundly influences what we teach and how we interact with our students. Books that delve into educational theory and practice offer blueprints for constructing robust instructional philosophies. Key impacts on teaching philosophies and practices include:

  • Philosophical Underpinnings : Authors often distill complex educational philosophies into actionable principles that guide educators in developing their instructional framework.
  • Practical Applications : Real-world examples translate abstract concepts into tangible practices, refining the didactic techniques employed in classrooms.
  • Evidence-Based Methods : Research-backed methodologies recommended in educational books reinforce the efficacy of pedagogical approaches, ensuring outcomes are optimized.
  • Continual Reflection : Engaging with diverse perspectives prompts regular self-assessment, a key component in the evolution of teaching methodologies.

As educators embrace the wisdom gleaned from these foundational texts, they cultivate an educational landscape that is dynamic, inclusive, and perpetually progressing.

Classics In Education Theory

When delving into the world of educational literature, certain texts stand out as pillars of the field. The ‘Classics in Education Theory’ are timeless works that have shaped the way teachers educate and learners learn. From Dewey to Freire to Piaget, these foundational texts offer insights that remain relevant in the modern educational landscape. These pioneers put forth ideas that have become central to understanding educational strategies and philosophies. Below, we explore iconic books that have contributed profoundly to the discourse on education.

John Dewey’s ‘democracy And Education’: A Foundational Perspective

John Dewey’s ‘Democracy and Education’ is an indispensable work that continues to influence educational practice and thought. Written in 1916, Dewey presents a philosophy of education rooted in democratic ideals. He argues that education should not only transmit knowledge but also promote critical thinking and civic engagement . His work is a clarion call for educational experiences that enhance personal growth and social efficiency .

Paulo Freire’s ‘pedagogy Of The Oppressed’: Empowering Through Education

Paulo Freire’s ‘Pedagogy of the Oppressed’ offers a radical critique of the traditional education system. Published in 1970, this transformative text serves as an inspiring manifesto for educators and learners alike . Freire introduces the concept of problem-posing education, where students and teachers engage in a dialogue to co-create knowledge . This approach empowers learners to question and change the world around them, thus breaking cycles of oppression .

Jean Piaget’s ‘the Psychology Of Intelligence’: Understanding Developmental Stages

Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget’s ‘The Psychology of Intelligence’ delves into the cognitive development of children. This groundbreaking book, first published in 1950, lays the foundation for understanding how children construct their intellectual framework. Piaget’s theory is a scaffold for educators, aiding in the creation of curricula that align with developmental stages . His insights guide teachers to foster environments conducive to effective learning experiences .

Innovative Teaching Methods

Embracing innovative teaching methods is crucial in cultivating an engaging learning environment. Traditional approaches are being transformed by new strategies that promote collaboration, engender growth mindsets, and enhance classroom management. Below, explore seminal books that have redefined teaching practices and continue to inspire educators worldwide.

Spencer Kagan’s ‘kagan Cooperative Learning’: Collaborative Learning Strategies

Collaborative learning underpins Spencer Kagan’s influential work, Kagan Cooperative Learning . This text is a goldmine for teachers seeking to foster an atmosphere where students work together to achieve academic success. Highlights include:

  • Structures for team-based learning
  • Techniques for improving social skills alongside academic growth
  • Tangible methods for increasing student engagement and retention

Implementing Kagan’s strategies can transform the dynamics of any classroom, propelling it towards a more cooperative and interactive learning experience .

Harry K. Wong’s ‘the First Days Of School’: Effective Classroom Management

Effective classroom management sets the stage for a productive learning environment. The First Days of School by Harry K. Wong provides an indispensable guide for creating routines, establishing expectations, and building relationships from the start. Key takeaways include:

  • Blueprints for a well-organized classroom setup
  • Strategies on establishing procedures and routines
  • Insights on the importance of teacher-student relationships

Wong’s practical approaches empower teachers to tackle challenges before they arise, ensuring a smooth and focused academic year .

Carol S. Dweck’s ‘mindset: The New Psychology Of Success’: Growth Mindset In Education

The concept of a growth mindset is pivotal in education. Carol S. Dweck’s Mindset: The New Psychology of Success revolutionizes the way educators and learners think about intelligence and ability. The book introduces the idea that:

  • Effort is key to learning and mastery
  • Mistakes are opportunities for growth , not failures
  • Praising process and effort over talent leads to greater resilience

Applying Dweck’s principles helps cultivate a learning environment where students pursue challenges and develop a love for learning .

Technology And Education

The intersection of technology and education has transformed the traditional classroom, unleashing innovative ways to engage learners and cater to their diverse needs. Education books focused on this nexus provide invaluable insights for teachers, curriculum designers, and policymakers. These works explore how tech-driven environments shape learning and highlight strategies to harness the digital realm for educational excellence.

Marc Prensky’s ‘digital Natives, Digital Immigrants’: Adapting To The Digital Learner

Author and education thought leader Marc Prensky presents a striking dichotomy in his influential book. He defines Digital Natives as those born into the age of digital technology, inherently familiar with its language and landscape. In contrast, Digital Immigrants are the previous generations for whom these innovations are a foreign concept.

The book encourages educators to rethink their teaching strategies to suit the learning styles of Digital Natives. Key takeaways include:

  • Customizing learning experiences to include digital platforms and tools
  • Emphasizing interactive and participatory classes
  • Encouraging educators to adopt a learner-centric approach

James Paul Gee’s ‘what Video Games Have To Teach Us About Learning And Literacy’: Game-based Learning Insights

In a groundbreaking exploration, James Paul Gee delves into the world of video games to uncover potent learning principles. His work, ‘What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy’, argues that well-designed video games exemplify how effective learning environments should function.

The book presents several insights into game-based learning , arguing that this approach can greatly enhance motivational and cognitive aspects of learning:

  • Providing real-time feedback and adapting to the player’s level
  • Encouraging problem-solving and strategic thinking
  • Facilitating a sense of identity and investment in learning

Diversity And Inclusivity In Education

Diversity and inclusivity are vital components in the educational landscape, shaping the experiences and outcomes for students from all walks of life. Books that explore these themes offer educators, parents, and policymakers insightful reflections and practical strategies on how to create more equitable learning environments. This discussion not only addresses historical challenges but also highlights ongoing efforts and emerges as an opportunity for transformative change. The following titles are instrumental resources for anyone looking to deepen their understanding of diversity and inclusivity within educational settings.

Beverly Daniel Tatum’s ‘why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together In The Cafeteria?’: Conversations About Race In Schools

Beverly Daniel Tatum’s landmark book tackles the complex topic of racial identities in educational institutions . “ Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? ” initiates a critical dialogue on how racial groupings emerge in schools and the psychological implications for students. Dr. Tatum, a renowned psychologist , argues that facilitating open conversations about race supports the developmental process for students of color and promotes a healthier school climate for all.

  • Examines racial identity development in adolescents.
  • Provides insights for educators on fostering inclusive school environments.
  • Encourages proactive discussion about race and its impact on schooling.

Helen Thorpe’s ‘the Newcomers’: Immigrant Students’ Educational Challenges

“ The Newcomers ,” by acclaimed journalist Helen Thorpe, follows the lives of immigrant students at a Denver high school as they navigate their new educational journey . This compelling narrative sheds light on the myriad challenges faced by these students, from language barriers to cultural differences, and the resilience they exhibit in the face of adversity. Thorpe’s in-depth reporting reveals the complexity of the American education system and its crucial role in embracing diversity.

  • Chronicles the real-world experiences of newcomer students.
  • Highlights the importance of support systems within schools.
  • Demonstrates how schools can adapt to diverse learning needs.

Emotional Intelligence And Social Learning

In the world of education, the emphasis on test scores and rote memorization often overshadows a crucial component of a student’s development—emotional intelligence (EI) and social learning. Fortunately, there’s a rich reservoir of literature that sheds light on the significance of nurturing EI in both educational settings and at home. This focus on emotional savvy not only enhances academic performance but also equips young minds with the social skills necessary for lifelong success. Leading this domain are several pioneering authors who have penned transformative books, providing actionable guidance on incorporating emotional intelligence into daily learning.

Among the seminal works in this field is Daniel Goleman’s ‘Emotional Intelligence’ . Goleman revolutionized educational paradigms by highlighting the non-cognitive aspects of intelligence as being equally essential. What sets his work apart is the in-depth analysis of how EI contributes to:

  • Improved student behavior , reducing disruptions in the classroom
  • Better communication skills , facilitating clearer and more effective expression
  • Enhanced empathy , allowing students to understand and relate to others’ emotions
  • Higher self-awareness and self-regulation , leading to superior decision-making capabilities

This book is not just a treatise but a practical manual for educators striving to develop well-rounded students capable of thriving in both personal and professional realms. Implementing the ideas from Goleman’s book leads to an environment where emotional literacy is as valued as academic success.

Building upon the foundation laid by Goleman, Maurice J. Elias along with his co-authors details a holistic approach to raising emotionally intelligent children in ‘Emotionally Intelligent Parenting’. This piece serves as an indispensable guide for parents and educators alike. Key lessons from the book include:

These strategies not only reinforce positive behaviors but also empower children to take ownership of their emotions, a trait indispensable for real-world interactions. Elias’s book provides not just the ‘why’ but also the ‘how’ of developing emotional intelligence throughout the educational journey.

Education Policy And Reform

Education Policy and Reform plays a pivotal role in shaping the future of nations. Effecting positive change within educational systems is no trivial matter. Influential books in this domain offer critical perspectives, inspire conversation, and challenge preconceived notions. They help educators, policymakers, and stakeholders understand the complexities of education systems and the policies that govern them. Two seminal works that critique and analyze education include Diane Ravitch’s The Death and Life of the Great American School System and Amanda Ripley’s The Smartest Kids in the World . These books provide insightful commentary on the impact of education reforms and international comparisons of education systems.

Diane Ravitch’s ‘the Death And Life Of The Great American School System’: Critiquing Modern Reforms

In The Death and Life of the Great American School System , Diane Ravitch, a former assistant secretary of education, presents a thought-provoking analysis of the evolution of American education policy. Ravitch boldly scrutinizes contemporary education reforms, such as standardized testing and the effects of privatization. With her insightful critique, readers gain an understanding of the nuances involved in educational success and reform failures. Key takeaways from her book include:

  • Standardized Testing : Ravitch underscores the limitations of using standardized testing as a singular measure of educational achievement.
  • Charter Schools : The book investigates the promises versus the realities of charter schools and their impact on public education.
  • Accountability : It questions whether current accountability measures truly address educational quality and equity.

Amanda Ripley’s ‘the Smartest Kids In The World’: International Insights Into Education Systems

Amanda Ripley’s The Smartest Kids in the World takes readers on a global journey to uncover what sets the world’s top education systems apart. Ripley follows the experiences of American exchange students in countries known for their exceptional educational outcomes. Through comparative analysis, Ripley identifies practices and policies from around the world that contribute to educational excellence. Highlighted points include:

  • Focus on Critical Thinking : High-performing countries prioritize critical thinking skills over rote memorization.
  • Educator Elevation: Systems with successful outcomes hold their teachers to high standards and esteem.
  • Resilience: Students are encouraged to embrace challenges and learn from failure.

Future Directions In Education

The landscape of education is perpetually evolving, sprouting new methodologies and approaches that aim to enhance learning experiences and better prepare students for the challenges of the modern world. In the wake of this educational revolution, two seminal books have emerged as guiding lights, offering innovative perspectives on how education systems can be transformed to foster creativity, innovation, and global competence. Let’s dive into the insights provided by Sir Ken Robinson and Yong Zhao, whose visionary works have become beacons of inspiration for educators and policymakers across the globe.

Sir Ken Robinson’s ‘creative Schools’: Valuing Creativity And Innovation

Sir Ken Robinson’s ‘Creative Schools’ is a revelatory text that challenges the orthodoxies of standard education systems. It advocates for an educational renaissance, one where a curriculum tailored to creativity and personal development takes center stage. Emphasizing the importance of an individualized approach, the book articulates the necessity of adapting educational environments to nurture the innate creative potentials of every student. Robinson’s arguments for a radical overhaul in educational thinking highlight:

  • Personalized Learning: Catering to individual student needs rather than adhering to a one-size-fits-all curriculum.
  • Innovation in Schools: Cultivating environments that encourage experimentation and the application of new ideas in teaching and learning.
  • Development of Creativity: Recognizing creativity as a fundamental competency, as crucial as literacy and numeracy.

This book serves as a clarion call to educators to envision schools as incubators of creativity, laying the foundational groundwork for students to emerge as innovative contributors to society.

Yong Zhao’s ‘world Class Learners’: Preparing Students For The Global Innovation Age

In ‘World Class Learners’ , author Yong Zhao presents a compelling case for redefining success in education. Zhao posits that the goal of education should be to produce lifelong learners adept at navigating the complexities of the global innovation age. This transformative work underscores the importance of:

  • Entrepreneurial Spirit: Fostering a mindset that encourages students to take initiative and be self-directed.
  • Global Competence: Equipping learners with the skills to understand and act on issues of global significance.
  • Customized Learning: Tailoring education to align with individual abilities, interests, and passions, enabling true differentiation.

Through a synthesis of rigorous research and engaging case studies, Zhao articulates a vision for an education system that goes beyond traditional metrics of achievement and cultivates a generation of world class learners ready to thrive in an interconnected world.

Conclusion: Integrating Knowledge And Moving Forward

As educators and lifelong learners, our journey of knowledge expansion never truly ends. But there comes a time to consolidate our findings, make connections between different areas of knowledge, and apply what we’ve learned in practical, impactful ways. This pivotal stage is where the best education books play an irreplaceable role. Let’s explore how these books are central to continuing professional development and how to curate a reading strategy that fosters growth and innovation.

The Role Of Books In Continuing Professional Development

Books remain a foundational tool for professional development , offering depth, diversity, and enduring insights that are often missed in the fast-paced digital world. They serve not just as repositories of knowledge, but as launchpads for critical thinking, providing educators with the theoretical frameworks and practical strategies necessary to improve their practice and student outcomes.

  • Professional Growth : By digesting the latest pedagogical research and theory, educators can stay ahead of the curve.
  • Reflection and Critical Thinking : In-depth reading allows educators time to reflect on their practice and consider new approaches.
  • Innovative Strategies : Best education books often include case studies and actionable strategies that can be adapted to diverse educational settings.

Creating A Balanced And Comprehensive Reading List For Educators

To truly benefit from education literature, diversity in topics and perspectives is key. A well-rounded reading list will cover various facets of education, from psychology and learning theories to technology integration and leadership. Striking a balance between foundational texts and innovative new research will ensure that educators are equipped with a rich tapestry of ideas to draw upon.

A comprehensive reading list might include categories such as:

Keep in mind the importance of including works that challenge current thinking and offer diverse viewpoints . This way, educators can ensure their approach remains dynamic and inclusive.

A strategic approach to reading is also recommended. This includes:

  • Setting clear objectives for what you aim to achieve through your reading.
  • Choosing books that align with your needs and gaps in knowledge.
  • Planning dedicated time for reading and reflection to fully assimilate the insights.

By consciously integrating knowledge from a broad array of sources, educators not only empower themselves but also set a powerful example for their students on the value of lifelong learning.

Frequently Asked Questions Of Best Education Books

What are the top education books for teachers.

Many educators praise “The First Days of School” by Harry K. Wong and “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” by Carol S. Dweck. These books offer insights on creating effective learning environments and fostering growth mindsets.

How Can Education Books Improve Teaching?

Education books provide theoretical knowledge and practical strategies to enhance teaching methods. They encourage evidence-based practices and classroom innovation, fostering better student engagement and learning outcomes.

What’s Trending In Education Books For 2021?

In 2021, books focusing on digital learning, equity in education, and mental health are gaining traction. Titles such as “Remote Learning Strategies” and “Cultivating Genius” by Gholdy Muhammad are particularly popular.

Do Education Books Help With Remote Teaching?

Yes, many education books offer guidance on remote teaching, covering curriculum adaptation, online engagement techniques, and technology use. They are invaluable for educators adapting to online instructional methods.

Navigating the sea of educational literature gets overwhelming, but our curated list aims to ease your journey. These top books offer invaluable insights for educators, students, and lifelong learners. Arm yourself with these powerful resources and transform your educational experience.

Let’s keep turning pages and shaping minds.

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The World’s 15 Most Incredible Buildings Made Entirely of Wood

By Natalia Rachlin and Elizabeth Fazzare

Buildings made of wood

Wood is one of the world’s earliest building materials and remains one of its most versatile. Wood, timber beams, columns, and planks have been used to construct projects that range hugely, from a Japanese museum with a deceivingly simple interlocking grid structure to an undulating concert hall in Norway whose form creates ideal acoustic conditions for the performing arts. With 21st-century technological advancement of mass timber and increasing governmental approvals for its use in structures of all kinds, the architecture world is currently experiencing a renewed interest in the natural material. And it’s a worthwhile pursuit. As a renewable and often local material, wood is a top contender for low carbon buildings that consider a sustainable future. The works below explore the best designs that wood can provide, by top architects from around the globe pushing the material to its most elegant capabilities.

buildings made of wood

Knarvik Community Church, Knarvik, Norway, Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter, 2014.

Nestled in the Norwegian wilderness, this dramatic angular church by Reiulf Ramstad Architects was constructed with mottled pine heartwood, which comes from the center of a branch or trunk and is known for its durability.

Buildings made of wood

Fogo Island Inn, Fogo Island, Canada, Saunders Architecture, 2013.

Situated on the remote Fogo Island in Newfoundland, the Fogo Island Inn was designed by Saunders Architecture as part of a push to turn this former fishing community into an unexpected architectural destination. The timber hotel was inspired by the simple silhouettes of local cottages and stilted seaside properties.

buildings made of wood

Fireplace for Children, Trondheim, Norway, Haugen/Zohar Arkitekter, 2010.

The Oslo-based firm Haugen/Zohar Arkitekter built this wooden, igloo-like construct with materials left over from a nearby construction site in the Norwegian city of Trondheim. Intended as an intimate gathering place for fireside storytelling, the project was conceived in response to a brief that sought to create fun environments for local children.

buildings made of wood

Office Off, Burgenland, Austria, heri & salli, 2013.

The Vienna-based practice heri & salli got creative with this office building in Burgenland, Austria, which unsurprisingly is the HQ of a cladding company. The timber grid that wraps around the structure conveniently doubles as an abseiling tower.

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Timber House, Newmarket in der Oberpfalz, Germany, Kühnlein Architektur, 2014.

Composed of two barn-like structures joined in the middle, this private home in Newmarket in der Oberpfalz, Germany, was conceived by Kühnlein Architektur. The entirety of the exterior is covered in untreated larch strips (that will weather to a silvery gray), concealing the home’s windows from the outside while letting daylight through to the inside.

buildings made of wood

Volga House, Tverskaya, Russia, Peter Kostelov, 2009.

This boxy country house on the banks of the Volga river in Tverskaya, Russia, is clad in wood panels that are angled in seven distinct ways. The Russian architect Peter Kostelov wanted to interpret Soviet era dachas (country houses) in a contemporary way by nodding to the slightly piecemeal sensibility of those historic homes.

buildings made of wood

Mae Sot Dormitories, Bangkok, Thailand, a.gor.a Architects, 2012.

These low-cost temporary dormitories in Bangkok, Thailand, are part of the Mae Tao Clinic, which offers healthcare and education to refugees of the civil war in neighboring Myanmar. Designed by Thai a.gor.a Architects, the buildings, which house 25 people, are made from locally sourced bamboo, thatch, and recycled timber.

buildings made of wood

Barn B at Mason Lane Farm, Goshen, KY, USA, De Leon & Primmer Architecture Workshop, 2009.

This striking large-scale shed in Goshen, Kentucky, was designed by the Louisville-based De Leon & Primmer Architecture Workshop. Crafted from locally grown bamboo, the structure is used for seasonal crop storage, and the airy construction allows for plenty of natural ventilation, which is required to dry hay.

buildings made of wood

Liyuan Library, Beijing, China, Li Xiadong, 2011.

This library’s unusual twig cladding was inspired by bundles of firewood that the Chinese architect Li Xiaodong noticed during early visits to the site in the countryside near Beijing. The sticks, sourced from local fruit trees, are aligned to allow sunlight to filter through to the interior.

buildings made of wood

House K, Stockholm, Sweden, Tham & Videgård Arkitekter, 2004.

The firm Tham & Videgård Arkitekter opted for black-stained plywood panels of varying widths to cover the entirety of this moody pine framework house in Stockholm, Sweden.

buildings made of wood

Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, Colorado, USA, Shigeru Ban Architects, 2014

The woven wood screen façade and long-span timber 3D truss roof of this art museum make it a standout in downtown Aspen. When it was constructed in 2014, the building marked its Japanese Pritzker Prize-winning architect Shigeru Ban’s first permanent cultural structure in the United States.

buildings made of wood

GC Prostho Museum Research Center, Kasugai, Japan, Kengo Kuma & Associates, 2010

Inspired by the traditional Japanese chidori toy (a grid of wooden sticks whose joints can be released with just a twist), this three-story gallery and research center for a Japanese dental prosthetics company is created with a lattice of square beams and columns made of cypress and zelkova.

buildings made of wood

Kilden Performing Arts Centre, Kristiansand, Norway, ALA Architects, 2012

Comprising a concert hall, multipurpose performance spaces, and theater, the Kilden unites several regional performing arts companies within its glass-and-timber structure. Its architectural design is driven by a CNC-milled undulating oak wall, which encloses the aforementioned spaces and extends dynamically through the glass façade to the exterior of the structure. Inside, its form improves the acoustic condition of the building’s lobby.

Buildings made of wood

Landesgartenschau Exhibition Hall, Stuttgart, Germany, University of Stuttgart, 2014

In collaboration with Müllerblaustein Holzbau GmbH, Landesgartenschau Schwäbisch Gmünd 2014 GmbH, the forest administration of Baden-Württemberg (ForstBW), and KUKA Robotics GmbH, researchers at the University of Stuttgart designed and constructed this freestanding exhibition hall using robotically fabricated beech plywood plates, each only two inches thick. A prototype for a locally sourced, robot-built timber structure, the project explores new design capabilities of wood in combination with advanced building technologies.

Buildings made of wood

The Arc at Green School, Bali, Indonesia, IBUKU studio, 2021

Constructed of 46-foot-tall (or 14 meters) bamboo arches that are structurally supported by convex gridshells, this innovative gymnasium and wellness space for a school whose curriculum emphasizes sustainability is an exploration in lightweight, low-carbon design. Local architecture firm IBUKU studio conducted months of research and development in collaboration with Jorg Stamm and Atelier One to perfect its ribbed form. Though bamboo is technically a member of the grass family, it is composed nearly identically to timber, with a bark and an inner wood core.

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10 books to add to your reading list in April

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Critic Bethanne Patrick recommends 10 promising titles, fiction and nonfiction, to consider for your April reading list.

April’s book releases cover some difficult topics, including Salman Rushdie discussing his 2022 maiming, Leigh Bardugo’s fiction about the dark arts and Ada Limón’s poetry anthology about our fragile world. However, like April, there is also sunshine: Leif Enger’s wild Great Lakes love story, Helen Tworkov’s beautiful memoir of Buddhism and a collection of the inimitable Maggie Nelson’s essays. Happy reading, happy spring!

I Cheerfully Refuse: A Novel By Leif Enger Grove Press: 336 pages, $28 (April 2)

Cover of "I Cheerfully Refuse"

An unusual and meaningful surprise awaits readers of Enger’s latest, which takes place largely on Lake Superior, as a man named Rainy tries to reunite with his beloved wife, Lark. While the world around this couple, a dystopian near-future American where billionaires control everything, could not be bleaker, the author’s retelling of the myth of Orpheus (who went to the underworld to rescue his wife) contains the authentic hope of a born optimist.

The Familiar: A Novel By Leigh Bardugo Flatiron Books: 400 pages, $30 (April 9)

Cover of "The Familiar"

Bardugo departs from novels of dark academia in a standalone to make the hairs on your neck stand up, set in 16th century Spain. A hidden Sephardic Jew and scullery maid named Luzia Cotado matches wits with fellow servant Guillén Santángel. Luzia discovers a secret of Guillén’s, but she’s already fallen in love with him. And because he knows hers, too, they might both avoid the Spanish Inquisition. It’s a gorgeous tale of enchantments both supernatural and earthly.

The Sleepwalkers: A Novel By Scarlett Thomas Simon & Schuster: 304 pages, $28 (April 9)

Cover of "The Sleepwalkers"

A couple honeymoons at a Greek resort. What could go wrong? In Thomas’ hands, plenty – especially as the author has never written a comfortable story; her books, from “PopCo ” to “Oligarchy,” crackle with unreliable characters, as well as big philosophical ideas. In this case, the new marriage’s breakdown is chronicled through letters between the spouses, and sometimes bits of ephemera, that ultimately untangle a dark mystery relating to the title.

The Garden: A Novel By Clare Beams Doubleday: 304 pages, $28 (April 10)

Cover of "The Garden"

Few novels of literary fiction are written as well as “The Garden,” let alone given its sadly relevant retro setting, a 1940s country-estate obstetrical program. Irene Willard walks through its gates having endured five miscarriages; pregnant again, she and her war-veteran husband George desperately hope for a live birth. But as Irene discovers more about the woman who controls all here, Dr. Bishop, she fears carrying to term as much as she once feared pregnancy loss.

Reboot: A Novel By Justin Taylor Pantheon: 304 pages, $28 (April 23)

Cover of "Reboot"

David Crader, former teen TV heartthrob, just wants to reboot his career when his old show “Rev Beach” has a moment. His life has devolved through substance abuse, divorce and underemployment. But when he and colleagues launch a remake, devolution continues: The protagonist’s struggles are mirrored by climate-change issues, from flooding to wildfires. Despite that darkness, Taylor’s gift for satire might make this a must-read for 2024 beach bags.

You Are Here: Poetry in the Natural World By Ada Limón (Editor) Milkweed Editions: 176 pages, $25 (April 2)

Cover of "You Are Here"

A wondrous artist herself, Limón is currently poet laureate of the United States, and this anthology is part of her signature project, “You Are Here,” which will also feature poetry as public art in seven national parks. Released in conjunction with the Library of Congress, the collection features 50 previously unpublished poems by luminaries including Jericho Brown, Joy Harjo, Carl Phillips and Diane Seuss, each focusing on a piece of regional landscape.

Like Love: Essays and Conversations By Maggie Nelson Graywolf Press: 336 pages, $32 (April 2)

Cover of "Like Love"

While all of the pieces in Nelson’s new book have previously been published elsewhere, they’re made fresh here both through being collected and through their chronological placement. Readers can practically watch Nelson’s incisive mind growing and changing as she speaks with colleagues such as Hilton Als and Judith Butler, or as she writes about queerness, motherhood, violence, the lyrics of Prince and the devastating loss of a friend.

Knife: Meditations After an Attempted Murder By Salman Rushdie Random House: 204 pages, $28 (April 16)

Cover of "Knife"

On Aug. 12, 2022, the author Salman Rushdie was speaking at upstate New York’s Chautauqua festival when a man rushed the stage and attempted to murder him. Rushdie, a target of Iranian religious leaders since 1989, was permanently injured. In this book, he shares his experience for the first time, having said that this was essential for him to write. In this way, he answers violence with art, once again reminding us all that freedom of expression must be protected.

Lotus Girl: My Life at the Crossroads of Buddhism and America By Helen Tworkov St. Martin’s Essentials: 336 pages, $29 (April 16)

Cover of "Lotus Girl"

Tworkov, founder of the magazine Tricycle, chronicles her move from a 1960s young-adult interest in Buddhism to travels through Asia and deep study in the United States of the different strands that follow the Buddha’s teachings. Tworkov mentions luminaries such as the artist Richard Serra, the composer Charles Mingus and the Dalai Lama, but she’s not name-dropping. Instead, she’s strewing fragrant petals from her singular path to mindfulness that may help us find ours.

The Demon of Unrest: A Saga of Hubris, Heartbreak, and Heroism at the Dawn of the Civil War By Erik Larson Crown: 592 pages, $35 (April 30)

Cover of "The Demon of Unrest"

Even diehard Civil War aficionados will learn from Larson’s look at the six months between Lincoln’s 1860 election and the surrender of Union troops under Maj. Robert Anderson at Charleston’s Ft. Sumter. Larson details Anderson’s secret Christmas redeployment and explores this individual’s contradictions as a former slave owner who loyally follows Lincoln’s orders. The author also shares first-person perspective from the famous diaries of the upper-class Southerner Mary Chesnut. All together, the book provides a riveting reexamination of a nation in tumult.

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The Best Back-to-School Books for Every Age

School can teach us who we are. These books will get kids of any age stoked to start back up.

There's something special about back-to-school season. It's a time for new supplies and new routines, and, for many, can kickstart adventures, discoveries, or reinventions. This list of new-ish children's books, mostly by creators of color , reflect a variety of school-related themes—community, friendship, and identity. They reinforce the most important lesson of all: from pre-K to high school, school teaches us who we are.

Related: Best Children's Books 2022

Preschool and Kindergarten

The Day You Begin Jacqueline Woodson and Rafael López (illustrator)

National Book Award winner Jacqueline Woodson and two-time Pura Belpré Illustrator Award winner Rafael López remind young readers that we all feel like outsiders sometimes—especially on the first day of school —and how brave it is to go forth anyway. In lyrical language, the book celebrates the courage to make new friends, hear new stories, and cast your own magic in the world.

Our Class is a Family

Shannon Olsen and Sandie Sonke (illustrator)

Olsen, a teacher and elementary education blogger, introduces the concept of the classroom as a second family—a place to make mistakes and be yourself. The book's rhyming text emphasizes kindness, empathy, and inclusivity among classmates.

Your Name is A Song

Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow and Luisa Uribe (illustrator)

A girl becomes frustrated when her teacher mispronounces her unique name at school, and her mother shows her that all names have a beautiful melody. They create a song to celebrate the importance of cultural identity and the beauty of diversity, inspiring readers to embrace their own names and to honor and respect the names of others.

Related: The All-Time Best Books for Toddlers

Elementary School

New Kid Jerry Craft

In this Newbery Medal winning graphic novel, 12-year-old Jordan Banks navigates the challenges and complexities of being a Black boy in a predominantly white private school: identity, friendship, and microaggressions in an unfamiliar environment. Funny and poignant, the work shines a spotlight on systemic racism and encourages readers to question societal norms and embrace the beauty of diversity.

Save Me A Seat Gita Varadarajan and Sarah Weeks

Varadarajan and Weeks' middle grade novel follows the parallel lives of Ravi, a recent immigrant from India, and Joe, a boy struggling with learning differences. Through alternating perspectives, chapters explore the challenges and triumphs these two characters face as they navigate school bullies and cultural misunderstandings—and discover the power of true friendship.

Related: Alternate Summer Reading List: Dr. Ibram X. Kendi's Antiracist Book Recommendations

Middle School

The First Rule of Punk Celia C. Pérez

A 2018 Pura Belpré Author Honor Book, The First Rule of Punk follows 12-year-old María Luisa O'Neill-Morales, or Malú, a spirited Mexican-American girl who rebels against her new school's strict dress code and finds solace in punk music. "I wanted to write a book for brown weirdos," the author said in an interview with NPR . "There is no one way to be anything. I just wanted to kind of get across that there are so many different ways to be Latino."

Indian No More Charlene Willing Mcmanis and Traci Sorell

Drawing from personal experiences, McManis tells the story of an Umpqua girl named Regina Petit, who, in the wake of the Termination Act, is forced to leave her tribal land in Oregon and adapt to a new life—and new school —in Los Angeles. The book offers a nuanced exploration of identity, culture, and resilience, and invites readers to reflect on the lasting impact of government policies on Indigenous communities.

Merci Suarez Changes Gears Meg Medina

In this Newbery Medal winning novel, 12-year-old Merci Suarez kicks off a new school year at an elite private school in Florida. As she grapples with changes in friendships and mean girls, academic pressures and her scholarship, she becomes increasingly aware of her grandfather's declining health—his forgetfulness and falls—and the impact it has on her tight-knit community.

Three Keys Kelly Yang

Mia Tang, 12, faces new challenges and fights against injustice in this sequel to Front Desk . The book is set in the 1990s, when California's Prop 187, which would have banned undocumented immigrants from access to health care and public schooling, was on the ballot. Determined to fight back, Mia and her friends embark on a journey to rally the community, raise awareness, and stand up for what is right.

Related: Why Book Banning Is Bad For For Our Kids

High School

The Greatest Thing Sarah Winifred Searle

Winifred's two best friends have transferred to a private school; she must now navigate high school on her own. Set in the Portland, Maine, area in the early 2000s, this graphic novel follows anxious and broken Winifred as she makes new friends: April, whose wealthy parents are emotionally absent, and Oscar, who struggles with depression. Despite the book's weighty themes, it is healing and empowering: the trio are each other's lifesavers.

It's Not Like It's a Secret Misa Sugiura

Sana Kiyohara, 16, carries secrets small and big: she has a huge crush on her best friend, Trish, and she suspects her father is having an affair. When the family moves from predominantly white Wisconsin to much more diverse California, Sana realizes that the world is much more complex than she previously assumed. Sugiura deftly explores the intersecting issues of race, immigrant-family relationships, and queer romance.

Related: Alternate Summer Reading List: Dahlia Adler's LGBTQIA+ YA Book Recommendations

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This month’s best paperbacks

Looking for a new reading recommendation here are some brilliant new paperbacks, from acutely observed novels to a laugh-out-loud memoir.

Wed 3 April 2024 9.00 GMT

best educational books in the world

The Wren, The Wren

Anne enright, art monsters, lauren elkin, study for obedience, sarah bernstein, ordinary human failings, megan nolan, biography of x, catherine lacey, jennifer homans, the archaeology of loss, sarah tarlow, small worlds, caleb azumah nelson, close to home, michael magee, is this ok, harriet gibsone, attack warning red, julie mcdowall, the female gaze, the wren, the wren anne enright.


Anne Enright is one of our acutest chroniclers of relational complexity. In her eighth novel, she again gives us a portrait of a uniquely unhappy family. Intimate and ambiguous, refusing to settle anywhere for long, The Wren, The Wren is told in three voices. There’s middle-aged Carmel, recalling her childhood on the outskirts of Dublin with her ailing mother, resentful older sister and womanising father. There’s Carmel’s free-spirited daughter Nell, who is trying to escape the intensity of their bond but only succeeds in swapping it for a far riskier one with an abusive lover; and finally, there is Carmel’s father himself, the poet Phil McDaragh, garrulous, seductive, pathologically self-regarding; the fount and origin of most of this dysfunction. In Enright’s novels violence is never heroic, though it’s often clarifying. Again and again, the real action is between women. As adults, Carmel and her sister Imelda act out the antagonism bred by years of fighting for their parents’ love by slamming each other around their childhood home: “A little hugff of air came out of Imelda as she hit the wall and Carmel shifted into a brighter place … It was as though her skull were filled with light.” The Wren, The Wren is ruthless, raw stuff, both less calculated and more illuminating than anything Phil McDaragh could have written.

Elizabeth Lowry

Daring to be different

Art monsters lauren elkin.

Who gets to be a monster? Is the term reserved for enemies or can it be applied to heroes too? Lauren Elkin’s work of radical feminist criticism asks us to meet her art monsters, who are all women, and to see their monstrosity as central to their being and their art. She defines an art monster as someone “reaching after the truth of her own body”, someone who “takes for granted that the experiences of female embodiment are relevant to all humankind”, someone who “alerts us to what is outside of language”. Her book is written in a series of short and long snippets, separated by slashes. Some of them are critical engagements with works of art, others are fragments of memoir about existing in a female body or the process of writing the book itself; still others are more general art historical criticism or reflection. The immediacy of it all carries the reader along with Elkin as she thinks through her questions and disrupts traditional expectations of how “serious” theory should be written. Art Monsters joins a larger conversation about monstrousness and art. In Claire Dederer’s recent Monsters: A Fan’s Dilemma, the monsters in question are mostly men who committed various forms of violence, abuse and discrimination. She asks how (and if) we can appreciate their work in spite of their monstrosity. Elkin’s use of the word is very different, but she grapples with similar questions about what we consider acceptable behaviour for artists and how that is connected to gender and power. Instead of separating the art from the artist, she fuses the two together completely, provoking new, deeper questions about how feminism can and must evolve to engage with those who do things differently – the monsters in our midst.

Eliza Goodpasture

Life as a survivor

Study for obedience sarah bernstein.

In the years since #MeToo, an outpouring of fiction by writers such as Emma Cline, Sophie Mackintosh and Rachel Yoder has grappled with what it means to be a victim, and what it takes to be an abuser. Montreal-born, Scottish-based author Sarah Bernstein’s Booker-shortlisted novel, Study for Obedience, spins a carefully woven web of culpability and criminality – of which gender is one fine thread – in answering its central question: if attacks on minority groups are unrelenting, in what ways do those groups internalise blame? The narrator’s encounters with modern-day antisemitism are captured acutely and absurdly “I knew they were right to hold me responsible,” professes Bernstein’s unnamed narrator at the outset. “They” are the native residents of an unspecified remote northern country where her entrepreneurial elder brother lives in a lavish, former gentry-owned manor house. After his marriage breaks down, she drops everything and travels to be at his beck and call. The crime of which she stands accused is begetting a series of local environmental catastrophes on her arrival: a dog’s “phantom pregnancy”; a depressive sow crushing her piglets; and a herd of crazed cattle. As in her first novel, The Coming Bad Days, Bernstein paints from a palette of dread, her fickle narrator imagining that the land itself is trying to “expel” her. Little actually happens, but, mirroring the protagonist’s daily ramblings through the woods, the novel is made up of philosophical, sometimes rhapsodic meanderings logged in meticulous, measured prose. Bernstein was named one of Granta’s best young British novelists of 2023, and it’s little wonder. This masterly follow-up to her debut acts as a meditation on survival, the dangers of absorbing the narratives of the powerful, and a warning that the self-blame of the oppressed often comes back to bite.

Miriam Balanescu

Lyrical tale of a family accused

Ordinary human failings megan nolan.

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Ordinary Human Failings is a considerably more interesting book than it claims to be. It’s pitched as a procedural thriller of sorts – an unsolved murder, the cops closing in, an ambitious journalist snooping around. While there may be a depressing commercial logic to this framing, it does the novel scant justice; those plot elements amount to little more than a deftly handled framing device. Beyond lies a subtle, accomplished and lyrical study of familial and intergenerational despair, a quiet book about quiet lives. And it also happens to be an excellent novel: politically astute, furious and compassionate. It’s considerably better than Nolan’s first novel, the acclaimed Acts of Desperation – worth stating, given our neophilic literary culture’s obsession with debuts and novelty. Set mostly in the early 1990s, it tells the story of the Greens, a family of Irish immigrants who have moved to London in the hope of escaping the social stigma of daughter Carmel’s teenage pregnancy and her brother Ritchie’s escalating alcoholism. Judged reclusive and odd by their new neighbours, the Greens are easy scapegoats when tragedy visits their estate. As we gradually learn more about the psychological and structural forces that have shaped the family, a picture emerges of lives foreclosed; of youthful audacity hardening into resignation and resentment, fresh starts rendered heavy by old habit, sadnesses handed from parent to child like cursed heirlooms. Nolan describes the Greens as having “ordinary human failings, tragedies too routine to be of note”. But in this deeply tender book, she not only notes those tragedies, she also bears witness to them. To do so is an act of compassion. To do so with such grace is a genuine achievement.

Keiran Goddard

Who is this mysterious artist?

Biography of x catherine lacey.

Celebrated for her novels, her art installations and her musical collaborations with David Bowie, Tom Waits and Tony Visconti, the artist known as X was, until her death in 1996, one of the more enigmatic cultural figures of the 20th century. She always refused to confirm her place or date of birth, and after she took the pseudonym “X” in 1982, it was never clear which if any of her previous identities – Dorothy Eagle, Clyde Hill, Caroline Walker, Bee Converse – corresponded to her actual name. This is a biography drawing on X’s archives and a range of interviews with the people closest to her, joining the dots about her background and exploring her difficult relationship with contemporary America. And it is, like X herself, entirely a work of fiction. There is so much that’s impressive about this book. It makes you think afresh about America and American history. It roves over the muddy trenches of identity politics while saying things that are original and not parti pris. At its centre, X is a charismatic, tantalising figure who takes aim at all orthodoxies. It’s hard to locate influences, but one mention of the Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges made me think of his story Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius. In this strange tale, objects from a fictional world penetrate our world and transform it. A lovingly made facsimile of a nonfiction book, Biography of X resembles a Tlönian artefact from a parallel reality. Though it may not change the world, it will leave the reader altered.

Marcel Theroux

The story of a showman

Mr b jennifer homans.

The dancer and choreographer George Balanchine – known to his dancers as “Mr B” – saw himself as “a musician and theatre man”, a showman who had worked in opera houses and touring troupes, from the Russian czar’s Mariinsky Theater of his youth to the Paris Opera, Broadway theatres, Hollywood movies, and his own New York City Ballet, founded in 1948, which had more than a hundred dancers at his death in 1983. He described himself as “a cloud in trousers” (after Mayakovsky’s poem) and dancers often referred to him as “the breath”, meaning spirit. For Balanchine was split between physicality (trousers) and spirit: he was sensual, a lover of fine wine and beautiful women, especially his young dancers, whom he nurtured (“he gathered and shaped them, making his own paints and pigments from their flesh and blood”) and with whom he often fell in love. According to Balanchine, “everything a man does, he does for his ideal woman.” But there was also a profound inwardness to Balanchine that made him strangely detached from the world, “like an angel who knows everything but feels nothing”. Georgi Balanchivadze was born in St Petersburg in 1904. He was accepted into the Imperial Theater School at the age of 9. The ballet teachers liked his “slight physique, straight posture and calm exterior”. His older sister was rejected the same day. As a child, he experienced cold and starvation in revolutionary Russia: “the fear of gnawing hunger and acrid smell of dead bodies piled in the streets in those early years never really left him”. But as Jennifer Homans points out in her Baillie Gifford prize shortlisted book, the revolution that ruined his childhood also provided the source of his genius. He fled Russia in 1924, going first to Weimar Germany (“he had a knack for swallowing dying civilizations whole and getting out”), then Paris, where he worked with Sergei Diaghilev and the Ballet Russe. In 1933, he went to America where he created “a music-filled monument to faith and unreason, to body and beauty. It was his own counterrevolutionary world of the spirit.” During the Cuban Missile Crisis, Balanchine returned to the Soviet Union with the New York City Ballet. When a prominent Moscow critic told Balanchine he had no soul, “he sharply retorted that since Soviet critics didn’t believe in God, they couldn’t know about the soul”. Homans trained at Balanchine’s New York ballet school, where she watched him rehearse and took classes with him. She has also performed in his ballets and attended Balanchine’s funeral at New York’s Russian Orthodox church. She spent a decade writing this magisterial biography, an experience she describes as “the greatest adventure and challenge of my professional life”. It is a suitably weighty tome (more than 700 pages), but it is brilliantly crafted and a pleasure to read. Indeed, her accounts of his “beautiful, glamorous, glorious, strange, outrageous, at times grotesque” dances are both illuminating and deeply moving. This remarkable study takes us into the mind of one of the great creative forces of the 20th century and in Homan’s hands his life-story becomes a heartfelt celebration of the power of modern dance.

Till death do us part

The archaeology of loss sarah tarlow.

Sarah Tarlow built her academic career as an archaeologist researching grief and mourning. Now she has written her own memoir of care, followed by the remaking of the relationship between the survivor and the deceased. In 2013, Mark, Tarlow’s partner of 15 years and the father of her three children, developed the first symptoms of a degenerative disease that was never fully diagnosed. In May 2016, while Tarlow and her children were out on a rare family visit, Mark took a fatal overdose of a drug he had bought online and kept hidden until he judged he’d lost enough to be sure about ending his life while still being able to do it. It was not, Tarlow insists, an irrational decision. Mark was not mentally ill: “Being dead is sometimes better than being alive.” She played no part in his death, and the arrangements he made were plainly intended to leave no doubt as to her ignorance. All the same, she cannot regret his passing – because Mark was in terrible and worsening pain, had lost his capacity to do anything he found pleasant or meaningful, and expected only further deterioration. For Tarlow, the labour of care had been overwhelming. Mark’s cognitive impairments had made him hostile and aggressive towards the children and their friends as well as his partner. There were few visitors or outings and no respite. The NHS could keep Mark alive and supply Tarlow with hoists and rails so she could move him around their Victorian house, but there were no sociocultural resources: “We are very bad at supplying the community, the human contact, that would compensate for the things our science and technology cannot do.” Tarlow is frank about her resentment and despair, and also about her guilt over her resentment and despair. She is clear-sighted about what the rest of us have invested in ignoring carers’ misery – because if we recognised that many people do not find it worthwhile to give up their careers and friendships and health to look after relatives, we would see that “as a society, we build our ability to function on a foundation of unhappiness”. This book will be divisive because ambivalence in caring for the dying is as much of a taboo as ambivalence in caring for babies used to be. “I wish the character of me was a bit nicer,” Tarlow writes, and one sees why. But the narrator has the scholar’s inability to soften or sweeten what she knows, which is that we don’t always love the dying and the dead, and that rage and mixed feelings are at least as interesting as sorrow. Look elsewhere for cheeriness; the pleasures offered here are those of intelligence and complexity in the hard times that will come to many of us.

Dancing in Peckham

Small worlds caleb azumah nelson.

best educational books in the world

Peckham, a district of south-east London formerly associated with substandard housing, tabloid reports of criminality and overpolicing, has been in the throes of a remarkable transformation over the last decade. Not only has it witnessed gentrification but, as seen in the recent film Rye Lane and in Caleb Azumah Nelson’s novel Small Worlds, it is increasingly a site of inspiration for creative artists. Small Worlds, the follow-up to Nelson’s multi-award-winning debut Open Water, focuses on Stephen, a teenage second-generation migrant of Ghanaian parents, Eric and Joy. Theirs is an involved and loving family. Stephen’s closeness to his mother is especially apparent in their tender biweekly visits to the Peckhamplex cinema. Small Worlds is determinedly not another rehearsal of the kind of voyeuristic tabloid interest in Black people’s lives marked by violence and social deprivation; rather, it’s a love story. At least it sets out that way. Some novels announce their intention from the first page. Here the burgeoning romance between Stephen and his fellow sixth former, Del, moves glacially from a beginning that risks appearing banal to an affecting meditation on the migrant experience. Though a perceptive narrator, Stephen is frustrated by his own inarticulacy. Del is sassy and beautiful. “I want to say this to her,” he admits, “but outside of song and film, I’ve never heard this spoken.” It might help Stephen if he was more familiar with his parents’ mother tongue, but he informs us: “Mum always says my Ga has come home in a suitcase, like I’m a visitor in my own language.”

Colin Grant

Belfast struggles

Close to home michael magee.

Novels about precarity are a precarious business. Far too many debuts of recent years claim to capture what it is like to be a young person in this age of intersecting economic and social crises, when in reality they focus on a set of experiences that are much narrower, much more class-specific and much more temporary. If you were being uncharitable, you could boil many such books down to “recent arts graduate feels emotionally, financially and erotically unsatisfied and works in the service industry while they figure their life out”. This sense of ennui simply isn’t a luxury that is available to many who are living at the sharp end, where the parlous state of things feels both systemic and permanent. Close to Home, the taut and impressive debut by Michael Magee, has none of these limitations and, as a result, feels like that rarest of things: a genuinely necessary book. The novel depicts a period of readjustment for Sean, a reflective, slightly sullen man in his 20s who has returned to Belfast after university. He finds exactly what he left; a network of lives being shaped and misshaped by poverty, addiction, casual violence and trauma. Sean spends his days drinking and sniffing, wrestling with his masculinity, falling in and out of employment and vaguely hoping that a different way of living might eventually present itself. The structural forces that underpin his sense of stasis are ever-present and stifling; a collapsing economy, rampant landlordism and the long, complex shadow that continues to be cast by the Troubles.

Second life

Is this ok harriet gibsone.

Harriet the Spy is a 1964 childrens’ book about a little girl who snoops relentlessly on her neighbours. Harriet Gibsone did the same thing when she was young. Now in her late 30s, she still shares with the fictional Harriet a powerful imagination and endless fascination with others. Harriet the Spy was banned in a number of American schools; apparently morally upright people didn’t approve of watchful girls trying to figure out the world on their own terms. I love these characters, nurturing as they do some feeling of control in a world where they do not have any. Is This OK? is a memoir, full of finely told stories that were once secrets existing only in the writer’s mind; addictions, obsessions, weirdnesses. Gibsone came of age at the same time as the internet, her own development shaped by its strange currents. She chooses episodes from her life and makes some of them funny – laugh-out-loud-on-the-train funny; some of them are frightening and sad. Many illuminate a bigger truth about living at this peculiar time and in the grey area between the online and offline worlds. This is a memoir that swings between silliness and profundity; Gibsone is a writer taking herself seriously but having fun while doing it. Is This OK? is a book to hold on to and one to share, a warning and a map created by a watchful girl, telling others what may lie ahead.

Maeve Higgins

The horrific reality of nuclear war

Attack warning red julie mcdowall.

Julie McDowall first became aware of the threat of nuclear war in September 1984, when she was just three years old. She should have been in bed, but instead she watched Threads on TV with her father. Set in Sheffield, Mick Jackson’s shocking drama is, says McDowall, “perhaps the most powerful nuclear war film ever made”. She was “transfixed by the nightmare on the screen. The experience scarred me for life.” As anxieties about war with Russia are once again making headlines, McDowall’s book is certainly timely. She takes us back to the early days of the Cold War in the 1950s, to the testing of the H-bombs or “Horror-bombs” as the British press termed them and the realisation that a war fought with such weapons would not just obliterate a few cities, as happened at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, but would mean the end of civilization itself. McDowall explains how in the following years British governments attempted to think the unthinkable and prepare for war: from the ladies of the Women’s Royal Voluntary Service practising setting up field kitchens and how to fortify homes against nuclear bombs (“they had well-meant plans to provide post-apocalyptic blankets, books and jigsaws”), to civil servants anticipating the use of forced labour to clear corpses from city streets. Today their plans seem hopelessly inadequate. As she says, “the good old Blitz Spirit was summoned again and again”. The population would have had just four minutes warning before the bombs fell. All TV channels would play the same message: “Here is an emergency announcement. An air attack is approaching this country. Go to shelter or take cover immediately.” After this, sirens would wail (“the streets of Britain would be shrieking”), private phone lines would be disconnected, and motorways would by blocked by the police. There was no escape from nuclear war. As the top-secret Strath Report informed the government in the 1950s, this was a new era of “total war”, when “the entire nation would be in the front line”. In the hills above Largs, near the Firth of Clyde, McDowall visits Royal Observer Corps 23 Post Skelmore. It was one of many such bunkers spread across Britain, from where observers would report on explosions and radioactive fallout during a nuclear war: “with the weak light, low ceiling and stacks of clutter, the thought of being confined here while a nuclear war roared above is almost unbearable.” From how to create a fallout bunker in your house using doors and boxes of earth or even books, to what to do with the bodies of family members (label them, wrap with plastic or blankets and bury in the garden if not collected within five days), McDowall’s excellent book is a chilling reminder of the horrific reality of nuclear war.


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‘Boy Erased’ Author Returns With a Historical Novel About Forbidden Love

Garrard Conley makes his fiction debut with a story about a queer affair between a reverend and a doctor in Puritan New England.

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This illustration shows two Puritan men approaching a house situated in a New England town. Most of the illustration is rendered in shades of green, giving the impression that the image is a historical screen print.

By Tom Crewe

Tom Crewe is a contributing editor at The London Review of Books. His first novel, “The New Life,” has won four literary prizes and was chosen as The Sunday Times’s novel of the year.

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ALL THE WORLD BESIDE , by Garrard Conley

Like Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter,” on which it is modeled, Garrard Conley’s “All the World Beside” begins after the fact. When the novel opens, it is 1730, in the recently established Puritan town of Cana, Mass., and the Rev. Nathaniel Whitfield (who founded the town after leading a religious revival) and Arthur Lyman (a doctor who followed him there) have already committed their crime against the moral order, just as Hawthorne’s classic takes place after Arthur Dimmesdale and Hester Prynne’s illicit tryst. Somewhat unexpectedly, there is a baby here too, who is both the relationship’s proof and symbol.

Alas, Conley — whose first book was a memoir, “Boy Erased,” about his time in gay conversion therapy — has neither Hawthorne’s clarity of intention, nor his skill. Hawthorne chose his setup because it allowed him maximum space for psychological exploration. An absence of action was the precondition of success; it allowed him to emphasize the dramatic, hidden changes taking place on the level of conscience and personality.

Conley’s book is equally short on action, but without a compensating depth of character analysis. “All the World Beside” is ostensibly about two Puritan men’s adulterous relationship, and its repercussions for them, their families and their town. But over a 15-year period, Nathaniel and Arthur contrive neither to have a full affair, having sex only twice, nor to ever truly break with each other. Nor do they, until the very last moment, face any real danger because of their relationship.

Instead they have some dialogues about how to reconcile their love with faith and family, but these read as dutiful airings of the issues rather than convincing products of an anguished human relationship. Neither man gleams with individuality. The tiny amount of sex that does occur is blurred with generalities and lacks intensity: “The word, ‘abomination,’ redefines itself with each second that passes, so it seems to lose all meaning, for what they are doing now is more than a word.”

The weakness of the central situation affects other aspects of the book. Much of the novel is given over to Nathaniel’s wife, Catherine; his daughter, Sarah; and his son, Ezekiel. But because Nathaniel and Arthur’s relationship is discovered early on — and hardly develops — these characters have little to react to. Catherine’s sadness manifests as an overwhelming lethargy, and she sleeps through many pages. Sarah hardens against her father and finally challenges him by attempting to lead a second revival in Cana (this is an awkwardly joined and underwritten plot point). Ezekiel is attracted to women’s clothing and turns mute. The perspectives of Arthur’s wife, Anne, and his daughter, Martha, which might offer complicating contrasts, do not fully engage Conley’s attention.

I can see what Conley was aiming for. There is promise in the idea of two families growing and warping around the secret of queerness, in such a time and place. Yet its development here is circular and shallow. This is how Conley conveys Catherine’s realization of her husband’s sexuality: “She will not even think to herself what she now suspects to be true, for it is unthinkable; it is unknowable, impossible. She has never heard of such a thing, not really, only rumors of court cases with that horrible word, ‘sodomy.’” Later, when she confronts Nathaniel, Conley writes: “Shock. She has shocked him.”

This trite flatness is typical. When Conley does try for an effect, his figurative language is often confused: “Behind every facade, I imagine I can see the secret life beneath it, just waiting for someone to open its doors.” Other times, it’s silly: “Sarah feels as though her head has been stabbed with a spear.” And sometimes it’s both: “Within the relentless rags of time, they will require diversions.”

These are symptoms of a larger problem with the prose. Sensibly, Conley doesn’t attempt to recreate the speech of 18th-century Puritans; anachronism has to be forgiven because authenticity is intrinsically beyond reach. The issue with his dialogue is that it’s undifferentiated, every character sounding the same. And what can’t be forgiven is his profligacy with verbal cliché: “You should have thought of that earlier”; “Arthur can hardly believe his luck”; “the logical next step.” Crawling across this prose desert, the reader pants, thirst unslaked, for a pleasurable sentence, a fresh image, a dynamic scene, a single sign of genuine life.

In an afterword, Conley criticizes, with belated zest, those historians who have hesitated to name gay desire when they have encountered it, often claiming “romantic friendship.” He is right that heterosexuality has not been relativized with anything like the same insistence. And he is right that the challenge of writing queer history lies in “expanding the way we think about the past, the way we make assumptions, in opening up possibilities.” Certainly, “All the World Beside” does not represent a failure of sympathy. It represents a failure of art.

ALL THE WORLD BESIDE | By Garrard Conley | Riverhead Books | 336 pp. | $28

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Harvard says it has removed human skin from the binding of a 19th century book

FILE - This Nov. 13, 2008 file photo shows the campus of Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. Harvard University said it has removed human skin from the binding of a 19th century book about the afterlife that has been in its collections since the 1930s. The decision came after a review found ethical concerns with the book's origin and history. (AP Photo/Lisa Poole, File)

FILE - This Nov. 13, 2008 file photo shows the campus of Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. Harvard University said it has removed human skin from the binding of a 19th century book about the afterlife that has been in its collections since the 1930s. The decision came after a review found ethical concerns with the book’s origin and history. (AP Photo/Lisa Poole, File)

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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) — Harvard University said it has removed human skin from the binding of a 19th century book about the afterlife that has been in its collections since the 1930s. The decision came after a review found ethical concerns with the book’s origin and history.

The book, “Des Destinées de L’âme,” meaning “Destinies of the Soul,” was written by Arsène Houssaye, a French novelist and poet, in the early 1880s. The printed text was given to a physician, Ludovic Bouland, who ”bound the book with skin he took without consent from the body of a deceased female patient in a hospital where he worked,” Harvard said in a recent statement . The book has been at the university’s Houghton Library.

Bouland included a handwritten note inside the book. It said “a book about the human soul deserved to have a human covering,” associate university librarian Thomas Hyry said in a published question-and-answer segment online Wednesday. The note also detailed the process behind preparing the skin for binding.

Scientific analysis done in 2014 confirmed the binding was made of human skin, the university said.

FILE - West Virginia University students lead a protest against cuts to programs in world languages, creative writing and more amid a $45 million budget deficit, Aug. 21, 2023, outside Stewart Hall in Morgantown, W.Va. (AP Photo/Leah Willingham, File)

In its statement, Harvard said the library noted several ways in which its stewardship practices failed to meet its ethical standards.

“Until relatively recently, the library has made the book available to anyone who asked for it, regardless of their reason for wishing to consult it,” Harvard said. “Library lore suggests that decades ago, students employed to page collections in Houghton’s stacks were hazed by being asked to retrieve the book without being told it included human remains.”

When the testing confirmed the book was bound by human skin, “the library published posts on the Houghton blog that utilized a sensationalistic, morbid, and humorous tone that fueled similar international media coverage,” the university said in its statement.

The removed skin is now in “secure storage at Harvard Library,” Anne-Marie Eze, Houghton Library associate librarian, said in the question-and-answer session.

The library said it will be conducting additional research into the book, Bouland and the anonymous female patient. It is also working with French authorities to determine a “final respectful disposition.”

Harvard said the skin removal was prompted by a library review following a Harvard University report on human remains in its museum collections, released in 2022.

“Harvard Library and the Harvard Museum Collections Returns Committee concluded that the human remains used in the book’s binding no longer belong in the Harvard Library collections, due to the ethically fraught nature of the book’s origins and subsequent history,” Harvard’s statement said.

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