June 15, 2022

Essential Summer Reading for Educators, Students, and Families

Summer reading isn’t just for students! Without the usual classroom obligations, summer allows us to dive into our interests that we might not have time for during the school year. We did some digging of our own and came up with a summer reading list of impactful books to inspire educators, students, and families! But you don’t have to take our word for it, we went out and found real reviews from real people. 

Books for Educators on Self-Care, Mental Health, and Leadership 

I Wish My Teacher Knew: How One Question Can Change Everything for Our Kids

Third-grade teacher Kyle Schwartz once asked her students to fill in the blank with the following sentence: “I wish my teacher knew__.” The answers changed her life and opened her eyes to how she viewed education and the support given to students. The book shares the responses of students and is a great guide for teachers on creating a supportive space for students. Interested in learning more about what students wish adults knew? Check out this white paper.

“Wonderful book! Information that teachers are aware of but written in an eye-opening, inspiring way! It’s a teacher and administrator MUST READ!”
– Erica, Online Review


Hacking Leadership: 10 Ways Great Leaders Inspire Learning That Teachers, Students, and Parents Love (Hack Learning Series)

Award-winning school administrators and authors, Joe Sanfelippo and Tony Sinanis share how to engage with learning by identifying and providing 10 problems and solutions they have personally seen in schools. Read this book to learn how to encourage educators to lead, empower students’ voices, and bring passion into your school community.  

“As a school superintendent, I’m always looking for the next great book study for our administration team and this one did not disappoint. It’s an easy read and every chapter has practical “what to do tomorrow” strategies that are easy to implement but offer high-impact.”
– Lisa, Online Review


The Teacher’s Guide to Self-Care: Build Resilience, Avoid Burnout, and Bring a Happier and Healthier You to the Classroom

We’re big believers in you can’t be what you can’t see. Teachers are some of our first role models and provide guidance, inspiration, and compassion. Setting the example of taking care of yourself is crucial to creating a positive space, not only for you but for your students as well. The Teacher’s Guide to Self-Care shares the value of creating a self-care routine, and how to do it. 

“This book is a must-have for every teacher! I started reading and couldn’t put it down! I love how you can easily read it cover to cover, but then also pick it up and read certain sections as you need it! Over the years I am finding more and more how important self-care is in our profession and this book explains why and how to do it!“
– Diana, Online Review


Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience 

Author Brené Brown takes readers through 87 different emotions of what it means to be human. She maps out a framework on how to form meaningful connections, and how we can create power and change in what we do. Brown shares, “I want this book to be an atlas for all of us, because I believe that, with an adventurous heart and the right maps, we can travel anywhere and never fear losing ourselves.”

“A must-read for understanding and navigating emotions! It’s given me a new perspective and is especially helpful for educators when cultivating meaningful connections with students.”
– Brianna, TSI Team Member


Books for Students 

Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World 

New York Times bestseller, Make Your Bed, is based on a Navy SEAL’s graduation speech that, according to the Wall Street Journal, should be read by every leader in America. Admiral McRaven shares 10 core tenets to change themselves and their surroundings. 

“Excellent. Gave it to my 11-year-old grandson, he read it in 4 days and played back the message of never giving up when you encounter a tough situation and the importance of teamwork.” 
-Paul, Online Review


The Gifts of Imperfection, 10th Anniversary Edition: Features a New Foreword 

In this book, author Brené Brown writes, “This book is an invitation to join a wholehearted revolution. A small, quiet, grassroots movement that starts with each of us saying, ‘My story matters because I matter.’” With 10 strategies to live a wholehearted life, this book shares with us the tools and strategies we can use to not let expectations get in the way, and instead, allow ourselves to feel empowered by our imperfections. 

“I read this book my sophomore year of high school with 6 of my best friends and our moms. This book helped me change the way I looked at my own story and my imperfections. It showed me that nobody is perfect and that we each have the power to change our mindset.”
-Zoe, TSI intern


The Circles All Around Us 

New York Times Bestseller, The Circles All Around Us, tells the story of our lives. When we are first born, our circle is small. But as we grow up, our circle gets larger to include family, friends, and more. This book shares how we can expand our circle with “kindness and inclusivity- even if it seems scary or uncomfortable.” 

“This book would be great for any kid and adult to be reminded of the power of showing love to ALL. So calling all teachers, parents, and all other human beings!! GET. THIS. BOOK. #drawacircle #buildyourworld”
Becky, Online Review


Books for Parents 

Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language

Named as one of TIME’s Best Books of 2019 and a Wired must-read of the summer, Because Internet, teaches readers the newfound language of the internet, understanding memes, and the intersection of social media and the English language. 

“Gretchen McCulloch is the real deal: a trained linguist whose knowledge is deep *and* wide-ranging. Her understanding of the fluidity of language in an internet era is refreshing and celebratory. “Because Internet” is a guide for everyone: digital natives and the digitally baffled, and everyone else who uses, wants to use, or needs to decipher, memes, emojis, excessive punctuation and lolz.”
-Karen, Online Review


Media Moms and Digital Dads: A Fact-Not-Fear Approach to Parenting in the Digital Age 

We know from our research and discussions with students that scaring and restricting students’ use of social media and tech rarely, if ever, works. Media Moms and Digital Dads discusses the impact social media has on students, through science-backed research and data. Dr. Yalda Ulhs uses her experience as an expert on child development and as a mother of digital teens to show us the power of equipping students to navigate the digital world. 

“As a parent of two teenagers, I am deep in the weeds with trying to figure out the most reasonable and healthy digital path for my family. As a researcher and parent, Dr. Uhls offers a nice blend of empirical evidence derived from a variety of studies and personal stories based on her experiences with her own family to help me with this task. It’s a very interesting read and one that I highly recommend.”
-Peter, Online Review


When You Wonder, You’re Learning: Mister Rogers’ Enduring Lessons for Raising Creative, Curious, Caring Kids

When You Wonder, You’re Learning, co-written by authors, Ryan Rydzewski and Gregg Behr, is a book about bringing Mister Rogers’ lessons into the digital age. It shares how Mister Rogers, just like teachers, continues to be a model of curiosity and an example of how to create safe spaces for students to learn.  Check out our blog post about Mister Rogers’ teaching and how his inspiration still applies today. 

“If you learned about life from Fred Rogers’ example, the better off you are. His beloved Neighborhood was a place of curiosity and kindness, of simple joys found in a complicated, yet safe world. Each of us has a role to play in building Neighborhoods of our own. What Behr and Rydzewski have done here is bring Fred Rogers’ essential humanity down to earth. That is a gift for all in the Neighborhood.”
―Tom Hanks, Academy Award-winning actor and star of A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood


Wired and Connected: Brain-Based Solutions To Ensure Your Child’s Social and Emotional Success

Wired and Connected, written by Craig Knippenberg, shares the different stages of brain development that children go through while offering practical strategies to raise positive and healthy children and nurture and empower them. Through his book, he shares brain-based solutions so that parents can ensure student-well being. 

“This book is transformational for parents and kids alike! Thoughtfully prepared with years of data to support the conclusions.”
-Annmarie, Online Review


Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide

In her essential guide, Parenting Blogger, Rebecca Eanes, shares that parenting is more than getting children to behave. She shares the lessons learned from each stage of parenting, with solution-oriented advice from one parent to another. Through her advice and strategies, she shares wisdom and experience to foster connections while raising children. 

“If you are looking for the one positive parenting book to read first and/or share with your spouse or friend who is about to become a parent, this is the one. This book gives a sense of inspiration and motivation rather than the complete overwhelm that can come along with trying to learn a new and more positive, connected way to parent than the way most of us were raised.”
-Mandy, Online Review


Books We Love 

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

A #1 New York Times bestseller, and with over a million copies sold, Atomic Habits leads readers into the practical strategies of building healthy habits and how we can break bad ones. In this book, author James Clear shares how to make time for new habits, overcome a lack of motivation and willpower, get back on track when you fall off course, and so much more! 

“Not only is this scientifically backed and driven at every step, but its steps are also simplified down to a single page that you can reference as much as you need (it’s so easy though that you won’t need to). I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has been putting off learning a new skill or trying to get rid of a bad habit. You’ll be upset how easy it actually was all long but glad you finally did it.”
Andy, Online Review 


Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life

Designing Your Life, written by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans, teaches readers how design thinking can empower us to create a meaningful and fulfilling life, “regardless of who or where we are, what we do or have done for a living, or how young or old we are.” This book goes into detail about how the design thinking process that happens behind the scenes in our technology is the same process that we can use to build our life. 

“This is great if you’re trying to figure out what you’d like to do in life. It’s also not high pressure either, so I definitely recommend it.”
LC, Online Review


Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration

Creativity, Inc is a fun book for Disney fans, animation fans, and budding creatives to learn about Pixar Animation history and get an inside scoop into the creative process of how some of the most successful films in history have been made. In this book, author Ed Catmul, shares the strategies that have made Pixar movies so loved.

“Creativity, INC. is the best management and leadership book I have read for a long time. Ed Catmull, probably because of his background in storytelling at Pixar, provides three books in one.”
-Timothy, Online Review


How to Win Friends & Influence People

Dale Carnegie’s book, How to Win Friends & Influence People, shares with readers the skills and strategies to change the way people think, how to make people like you, and influence others and your surroundings. For over 60 years, this book has helped thousands around the world “climb up the ladder of success in their business and personal lives.” 

I wish I had purchased this book sooner. If you’re having troubles in life and simply can’t figure out what you’re doing wrong, this is a fantastic place to start. Good luck on your journey!” 
-CJ, Online Review

We’re excited to use this summer to re-charge, rejuvenate, and explore new interests, hobbies, and skills. Interested in hearing more tips and recommendations? Follow us on social media @thesocialinst to stay up-to-date as we navigate student trends and all things social media and tech. 

The Social Institute (TSI) is the leader in understanding student experiences and creator of #WinAtSocial, a gamified, online learning platform that equips students, educators, and families to navigate social experiences — online and offline — in healthy ways. Our unique, student-respected approach incorporates topics like social media, technology use, and current events that have a significant impact on student well-being.  Lessons teach life skills for the modern day to inspire high-character decisions that support the health, happiness, and future success of students. For schools, our turnkey technology allows for easy implementation and a comprehensive game plan to support the well-being of school communities.