Gift Guide: 7 Books To Give Your Favorite Teacher

It’s the most wonderful time of the year again! Start holiday shopping now with these 7 excellent books to gift your favorite teacher.

Author's Corner Book Culture Diverse Voices Diversity Fiction Memoirs & Biographies Non-Fiction Opinions Recommendations

Now that Halloween has passed, it’s time to get cracking on holiday shopping. With so many online deals and in-person sales, this can be a stressful time for those who want to get the perfect gifts for friends, family, and everyone in between. But this year, Bookstr has you covered! In our first gift guide for the season, let’s give thanks to the people who continuously work to educate and inspire future generations…teachers! Here are 7 wonderful books to give to your favorite educator this holiday season!

1. Because I Had a Teacher by Kobi Yamada

Gift Guide: 7 Books to give your favorite teacher. 'Because I Had a Teacher' book cover with two bears holding a balloon.

Want to show appreciation to the teacher who inspired you the most? Because I Had a Teacher by Kobi Yamada is a great gift to give any educator, coach, or mentor during the holidays. This book is the perfect way to say thanks. Accompanied by delightful drawings and heartfelt messages, this book will surely put a smile on your favorite teacher’s face. Teachers do everything they can for their students, so it’s time that we show them just how much we treasure their teachings.

2. Teachings to Transgress by bell hooks

Gift Guide: 7 Books to give your favorite teacher. 'Teaching to Transgress' book cover. Yellow cover with a ladder in the middle.

This is the book for the teacher that never shied away from telling the truth. Teaching To Transgress by bell hooks is an outstanding gift. From one of the most profound teachers/writers out there, bell hooks speak to the nuances of teaching, and how education promotes freedom. We’ve all had that one teacher that opened our eyes to the bigger world out there. As a student, I always loved learning about the depths of our society, and I had amazing teachers who guided me in understanding the complexity of living in the world. If you had a teacher like that, this is the ideal book for them!

3. Up The Down Staircase by Bel Kaufman

Gift Guide: 7 Books to give your favorite teacher. 'Up The Down Staircase' book cover. Pink and Orange blocks like a staircase.

For new teachers in this country, the job is truly overwhelming at times, so to calm their stresses, gift them Up The Down Staircase by Bel Kaufman. Even though the novel was published in 1964, its messages still stand today. The book follows Sylvia Barrett and her journey as a brand-new teacher in New York. Primarily told through memos, notes, and homework assignments, Sylvia and her co-workers try to help bandage a system that has been broken for years. Riddled with humor, truth, and a taste of reality, this will make any new teacher more hopeful for the future.

4. Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson

Gift Guide: 7 Books to give your favorite teacher. 'Harbor Me' book cover. Six children stand looking at the Statue of Liberty against the sunset.

Middle school is a tough time for everybody. Students are in a transitionary period, parents are trying to keep up with them, and teachers are just doing their best. It’s no wonder that things slip from time to time, but in Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson, she illustrates the vital relationship between teacher and student. 

In her novel, six students are struggling at home and school, but everyone seems to ignore the problem. That is until Ms. Laverne steps in. She creates a safe space for the students to talk about anything they need, without the pressure of an adult listening in. With a newfound sense of security, the six middle schoolers don’t have to hide their fears anymore. This is a wonderful tale that shows the importance of teachers listening to what their students might need.

5. Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Gift Guide: 7 Books to give your favorite teacher. 'Fish in a Tree' book cover with a fish in a tree.

As a person who moved around 13 times when I was growing up, I can highly recommend gifting this book to any teachers who’ve helped new students. Moving is hard, but especially difficult for young Ally. School has never been her forte, and she makes that known to her teachers. But one of her instructors, Mr. Daniels, intends on sticking with Ally until they find out what’s wrong. With his help, Ally is able to thrive in her new town and school. Even in stressful situations, sometimes, a teacher’s advice can make all the difference.

6. I Did My Homework In My Head by Alyssa Cowit and Greg Dunbar

Gift Guide: 7 Books to give your favorite teacher. 'I Did My Homework In My Head' book cover. 8 pencils cover the page.

Looking to make your teacher laugh? Look no further! Based on the popular Instagram page, @LivefromSnackTime, New York City teacher, Alyssa Cowit, has collected ridiculously funny comments from her students and turned them into a book. I Did My Homework In My Head (And Other Wacky Things Kids Say) is packed with humorous revelations from curious elementary children. We all know that kids have no filters, and they can say some of the darndest things. So when the going gets tough for your favorite teacher, this book will surely make them laugh at the hilarity of schoolchildren.

7. Because of a Teacher by George Couros

Gift Guide: 7 Books to give your favorite teacher. 'Because of a Teacher' book cover with an abstract tree.

Even though teachers inspire kids on a daily basis, teachers also need a dose of inspiration as well. Because of a Teacher by George Couros does just that. In his book, Couros brings in over 15 leading educators to share their stories of working within the institution of education. These personal accounts bring a sense of hope and encouragement for all teachers, old and new. Especially in our current environment, teachers should know that the work they’re doing is selfless, life-changing, and, most importantly, cherished.

Our world would simply fall apart without the help of teachers. They spend so much time, money, and effort to ensure that the next generation is prepared to participate in the messy society we live in. So, this holiday season, make sure that your favorite teachers know why they’re your favorite. 

Looking for more bookish holiday gifts? Click here!

Interested in other recommendations? Click here!