Book Recommendations

In an effort to share information, I thought I’d put together a list of books that have been very helpful to me as a person, teacher and parent.  I’ve written reviews of some of them, so you can link to those below, or head over to Amazon to find out more.


  1. The First Days of School: How to Be an Effective Teacher by Wong (The main point: procedure, procedure, procedure — the best and most effective teaching tool (I think it’s effective as a parent as well). He gives other info, but that was my huge take away, and it made my classroom function 100 times better.)
  2. Help Your Preschooler Build a Better Brain: Early Learning Activities for 2-6 Year Old Children by Bowman (I hate the title, but if you are looking for ways to implement Montessori ideas into your home, it’s a great read.)
  3. The Passionate Teacher: A Practical Guide by Fried (Just a good summer pick-me-up read for teachers)
  4. The Rise and Fall of the American Teenager by Hine (Made me realize how little faith I placed in my middle school student’s abilities.  I also began to give them more credit and think of them as competent young adults, rather than the moody, rebellious or clueless youth stereotype perpetuated by our society.)
  5. The Social Neuroscience of Education by Cozolino (Read my review!)
  6. Teaching Students to Write by Purdy (Caveat: The next three books are independently published and have editing errors, but the information is fantastic.  He’s my second favorite Scott!  This book made writing into a formula, which was hugely helpful when it comes to teaching kids how to write.  I read it when I was 24 years old, to help me teach 5th and 6th graders to write.  And I’m pretty sure I learned as much, if not more, from it.  It is a helpful tool for teaching writing for 3rd up, but does mention Kindergarten.  He also included tons of resources and assignments that any teacher could type and print off for class tomorrow.)
  7. Time Management for Teachers by Purdy (The entire book is helpful.)
  8. Tomorrow Begins at 3:00 by Purdy (The entire book is helpful…seriously, he’s got great ideas.)
  9. The Unschooling Handbook: How to Use the Whole World as Your Classroom by Griffith (A helpful, quick read about the basic tenets of unschooling.)
  10. Why Gender Matters: What Parents and Teachers Need to Know About the Emerging Science of Sex Differences by Sax (Amazing information about the biological differences between the genders that helped me teach better.)
  11. How Children Learn by Holt (Lots of interesting tidbits. I’ve yet to read his other books, but they are definitely on my list.)


  1. A Fine Young Man: What Parents, Mentors and Educators Can Do to Shape Adolescent Boys into Exceptional Men by Gurian (Great advice and practical tips on raising and teaching boys.)
  2. Beyond the Sling: A Real-Life Guide to Raising Confident, Loving Children the Attachment Parenting Way by Bialik (Helpful, scientific, easy-to-read book that’s only slightly preachy.  Validating book for those seeking a more natural route to parenting.)
  3. Free Range Kids, How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant (Without Going Nuts with Worry) by Skenazy (This book is a great read.  Lots of statistics that might help calm some concerns.  Her website is good too.)
  4. How to Have Your Second Child First by Colburn (Great read before I had my daughter.  After having my daughter I realized it’s impossible, because everything is so  new. But, good tips to limit the craziness of first time parenting.  For example, we never bought a changing table! As they say (along these lines, since my sister-in-law has the book), the whole house is  changing table.  🙂 )
  5. I Was a Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids: Reinventing Modern Motherhood by Nobile (A funny and entertaining way of reminding moms that they don’t need to be perfect.)
  6. Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder by Louv (Read my review!)
  7. NurtureShock: New Thinking about Children  by Bronson (Awesome new insights into how we should think about children.)
  8. Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys by Thompson (Important information about boys)
  9. Soft Spoken Parenting: 50 Ways to Not Lose Your Temper with Your Kids byGoodard (Read my review!)
  10. Your ______ Year-Old by Ames (This series is really great with lots of info for each age group. It goes from one to 14!)

Health and Lifestyle

  1. The Essential Green You!: Easy Ways to Detox Your Diet, Your Body, and Your Life by Imus (Warning: This book will have you throwing away a lot of used and unused items.  It will also force you to spend hours reading labels.  It’s a good thing.  But also, a time consuming thing.)
  2. French Women Don’t Get Fat by Guiliano (A good read about enjoying food.)
  3. It’s All Too Much-Walsh (This led to a massive culling of all our stuff.  As well as giving us a great write off on our taxes, $500 from a garage sale, and, I kid you not, a weird, new open feeling to the house.  We need to do this again. P.S. Who did we lend this to?  Was it you?  We need it back now that we have a child and own a house and are accumulating at a very fast rate.)
  4. Trim Healthy Mama by Barrett and Allison (Not a huge fan of the few recipes I’ve tried, but starting to try and separate my carb based meals and fat based meals.  When I planned ahead and was diligent, I would lose about a pound to three pounds a week!  That never happened before.)

Birth and Baby Care

  1. Baby Catcher: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife by Vincent (Just really interesting stories. Birth happens in tons of different situations.)
  2. Belly Laughs: The Naked Truth About Pregnancy and Childbirth by McCarthy (This is written by comedienne Jenny McCarthy, so it’s very blunt and has a little profanity, but quite hilarious.  Do people still say “comedienne”?)
  3. Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Weissbluth (Although I found this a great book for a large amount of factual info on sleep, I do not agree with, nor did we try the crying it out method that he endorses.)
  4. Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way by McCutcheon (We did not actually do any of the exercises, because I didn’t want to feel like I should be doing something a certain way.  I just wanted to do whatever worked.  My husband and I read this together.  He found a lot of the explanations of what happens during the birth very helpful. And we got quite a few tips out of it.)
  5. Pushed: The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care by Block (As someone who tries to do the least amount of medical intervention, this book gave me lots of factual information about what would happen in the delivery room.  Also, helped me decide not to have a baby at the hospital.  Warning: The last part of this book is difficult to get through if you are a hormone filled pregnant woman.)


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