It’s time to say thank you to the teachers in your life, and you can with these gift ideas! Now more than ever, it’s important that we share our gratitude for the educators who’ve stuck by our children in these confusing times.
We want to help you pick out the perfect gift. Maybe we’re biased, but we there’s no greater gift in the world than the gift of reading!
Not only do we love books, but we also love recommending them! Below is a curated list of picture books, inspiring reads, and off-the-beaten-path page turners for the teachers and educators in your life.
However, we know no two teachers are the same, but that every teacher deserves our thanks! Therefore, this list has something for everyone! Who knows? Maybe you’ll see not just for your teachers, but for your family, too!
Picture Books to Say Thank You to the Teacher in Your Life
Here come the waterworks! These picture books are perfect for saying “thank you” to the teachers and educators in your life. Why? Because it reminds both the teachers and us just how important they are to us, and the lasting effect they have on our lives.
Because I Had a Teacher by Kobi Yamada
We all remember our favorite teacher, right? Where would we be without those special people who inspire us, support us, and encourage us? Most importantly, without them, how would we know to inspire, support and encourage others? Whether they’re an educator, a coach, or a mentor, this book is for them. To celebrate the worlds they open up for us, and to thank them for the difference they make. This heartwarming book is a thank you gift for great teachers everywhere.
A Letter to My Teacher by Deborah Hopkinson
Whenever I had something to tell you, I tugged on your shirt and whispered in your ear. This time I’m writing a letter. And so begins this heartfelt picture book about a girl who prefers running and jumping to listening and learning, and the teacher who gently inspires her.
What Do You Do With an Idea? by Kobi Yamada
This is the story of one brilliant idea, and the child who helps to bring it into the world. As the child’s confidence grows, so does the idea itself. And then, one day, something amazing happens.
What Do You Do With an Idea? is a story for anyone, at any age, and any person who has ever had an idea that seemed a little too big, too odd, or too difficult. It’s a story to inspire you to welcome that idea, to give it some space to grow, and to see what happens next. Because your idea isn’t going anywhere. In fact, it’s just getting started.
What If There Were No Teachers? by Caron Chandler Loveless
Everyone knows that teachers are overworked and underpaid. Too often even the students they teach don’t understand the effort that is put into each class period. What If There Were No Teachers? uses illustrations on the order of Norman Rockwell to let teachers everywhere know that we couldn’t live without them.
A beautifully illustrated poem reveals how sad life would be without teachers, and this uplifting book will be a gift that any teacher will cherish.
Teachers Rock! by Todd Parr
Teachers are amazing! They teach you new things, make you laugh, and help you meet new friends. Always encouraging us to do our best, and making the classroom a great place to be!
From admiring the way teachers foster creativity in the classroom to how they ensure all children’s needs are met, Todd Parr offers an ode to everything teachers contribute to the world.
Thank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco
The real-life, classic story of a dyslexic girl and the teacher who would not let her fail. A perfect gift for teachers and for reading students of any age.
Trisha could paint and draw beautifully, but when she looked at words on a page, all she could see was jumble. It took a very special teacher to recognize little Trisha’s dyslexia: Mr. Falker
The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson
There are many reasons to feel different. Maybe it’s how you look or talk, or where you’re from; maybe it’s what you eat, or something just as random. It’s not easy to take those first steps into a place where nobody really knows you yet, but somehow you do it.
Jacqueline Woodson’s lyrical text and Rafael López’s dazzling art reminds us that we all feel like outsiders sometimes-and how brave it is that we go forth anyway.
Little Tree by Loren Long
For graduates, for their parents, or for anyone facing changes, here is a gorgeously illustrated and stunningly heartfelt ode to the challenges of growing up and letting go. A story of the seasons and stepping stones as poignant for parents as for their kids, from the creator of Otis the tractor and illustrator of Love by Matt de la Pena.
Inspiring Reads to Gift
This has been a difficult time for all of us, and our teachers and educators have shown up in support of their students and our kids. These inspiring reads will get them ready for the upcoming school year as we continue to face challenges together! Moreover, they inspire us, too!
Today I Made a Difference
Everyone remembers that teacher who made a difference. The one who went the extra mile to truly affect lives, whose lessons carried as much importance outside the classroom as inside. This book is a celebration of those teachers who continue to make an impact. A collection of stories from some of the country’s top educators, this book is a celebration of teachers’ work, and motivation for them to continue.
It Won’t Be Easy by Tom Rademacher
The book follows a year of teaching, with each chapter tackling a different aspect of the job. Pulling no punches (and resisting no punch lines), the author writes about establishing yourself in a new building; teaching meaningful classes, keeping students a priority; investigating how race, gender, and identity affect your work; and why it’s a good idea to keep an extra pair of pants at school.
Happy Teachers Change the World by Thich Nhat Hanh and Katherine Weare
Happy Teachers Change the World is the first official, authoritative manual of the Thich Nhat Hanh/Plum Village approach to mindfulness in education. Spanning the whole range of schools and grade levels, from preschool through higher education, these techniques are grounded in the everyday world of schools, colleges, and universities.
Unshakeable by Angela Watson
Passion cannot be faked. Moreover, students can tell when we’re just going through the motions. However, how can you summon the energy to teach with passion when there are so many distractions pulling you from what really matters? Furthermore, if you barely have time for taking care of yourself, then how can you have anything left to give your students? Don’t wait for teaching to become fun again: plan for it!
Daring Greatly by Brené Brown
Firstly, we love Brené Brown. Secondly, we love Brené Brown. Thirdly…you get the picture. Brown explains how vulnerability is both the core of difficult emotions like fear, grief, and disappointment, and the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, empathy, innovation, and creativity. She writes: “When we shut ourselves off from vulnerability, we distance ourselves from the experiences that bring purpose and meaning to our lives.”
Hundred: What You Learn in a Lifetime by Beike Faller
What did you learn in life? At age 3? At 21? What about 45? 65? 80 and beyond? Moreover, how can you share this wisdom with the people you love?
Your first smile, kiss, true love. The breakthroughs that come with age and experience. The realizations we have about ourselves and the world as the number of candles on your cake creeps up.
There is so much to learn. Also, there is so much to teach. In this beautiful fully illustrated book, you’ll follow, page by page, year by year, the course of a lifetime as each of us learns the little things that together make up a whole life.
Teaching When the World Is on Fire by Lisa Delpit
An energizing volume that speaks to our contentious world and the necessary conversations we all must have about it. Teaching When the World Is on Fire is sure to inspire teachers to support their students in navigating the current events, cultural shifts, and social dilemmas that shape our communities and our country.
The Whole-Brain Child by Daniel J. Siegel, M.D. and Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D.
In this pioneering, practical book, Daniel J. Siegel, neuropsychiatrist and author of the bestselling Mindsight, and parenting expert Tina Payne Bryson offer a revolutionary approach to child rearing with twelve key strategies that foster healthy brain development, leading to calmer, happier children.
The Power of Moments by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
While human lives are endlessly variable, our most memorable positive moments are dominated by four elements: elevation, insight, pride, and connection. If we embrace these elements, we can conjure more moments that matter. What if a teacher could design a lesson that he knew his students would remember twenty years later?
Make Your Bed by William H. McRaven
Based on a Navy SEAL’s inspiring graduation speech, this #1 New York Times bestseller of powerful life lessons “should be read by every leader in America” (Wall Street Journal).
If you want to change the world, then start off by making your bed. Told with great humility and optimism, this timeless book provides simple wisdom, practical advice, and words of encouragement that will inspire readers to achieve more, even in life’s darkest moments.
Something A Little Different
There may be no better way to say “thank you” to the teachers in your life than to properly distract them! Here’s a list of some reads that are a little different! From travel to laughs to drinks, it’s exactly what they need!
Atlas Obscura by Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras and Ella Morton
Inspiring equal parts wonder and wanderlust, Atlas Obscura is a phenomenon of a travel book that shot to the top of bestseller lists when it was first published and changed the way we think about the world, expanding our sense of how strange and marvelous it really is.
This second edition takes readers to even more curious and unusual destinations, with more than 100 new places, dozens and dozens of new photographs.
F in Exams by Richard Benson
F in Exams gathers the most hilarious and inventive test answers provided by students who, when faced with a question they have no hope of getting right, decide to have a little fun instead. Whether it’s science (Q: What is the highest frequency noise that a human can register? A: Mariah Carey), the humanities (Q: What did Mahatma Gandhi and Genghis Khan have in common? A: Unusual names), math, or other subjects, Richard Benson’s book proves that while everyone enjoys the spectacle of failure, it’s even sweeter to see a FAIL turn into a WIN.
How Teachers Swear Coloring Book
Sometimes it’s like teachers have their own language, right? Most importantly, they have their own swear words. Frankly, we get it. This clean swear words coloring book is not only hilarious, but a fun and meditative activity for all educators.
32 Third Graders and One Class Bunny by Phillip Done
Phil Done has taught elementary school for twenty years. He fixes staplers that won’t staple, zippers that won’t zip, and pokes pins in the caps of glue bottles that will not pour. He has sung “Happy Birthday” 657 times. 32 Third Graders and One Class Bunny is for anyone who has ever taught children—or been to third grade. This collection of tightly written, connected essays is an “unexpected pleasure…an absolute joy”
The New Yorker Book of Teacher Cartoons
The New Yorker Book of Teacher Cartoons, Second Edition is a hilarious compilation of cartoons that capture the joy, terror, excitement, anxiety, fun, and bedlam that teachers experience every day, as seen through the eyes of The New Yorker’s best-loved cartoonists. Firstly, teachers will laugh. Secondly, they might cry. And thirdly, they’ll likely do both!
There’s a lot to be said for taking life a little easier, like our sloth friends do.
As Mahatma Gandhi once said, ”There is more to life than increasing its speed.”
In rest, we find replenishment, and sometimes those leaps of brilliance that come only when we’re relaxed and open to them.
So, to quote Sylvia Boorstein, ”Dont just do something, sit there.” And kick back with this little book of quotations from sages of slow, from Shakespeare to Charles M. Schulz, from Aesop to Maya Angelou.
Tequila Mockingbird by Tim Federle
Pour yourself a drink and brush up on your literary knowledge with this clever guidebook that pairs cherished novels with both classic and cutting-edge cocktails. No B.A. in English required!
From barflies to book clubs, Tequila Mockingbird is the world’s bestselling cocktail book for the literary obsessed.
Teachers: The Struggle is Real by Bored Teachers
Not only great for teachers, but people close to educators will also recognize many of the stories and stresses found here. Teachers is full of administrative frustrations and madcap humor. Most importantly, it’s a reminder of the heartfelt love we have for the most under-appreciated profession of them all.
This hilarious romp through the weeds of the people that educate our children is the perfect gift for that special someone who manages (tries to manage) 30+ children, 5 days a week.
The Bucket List
Each activity is location-specific and as geographically unique as bird-watching in Kenya, or driving through clouds in Sri Lanka. Furthermore, it has other to-dos that can be done anywhere, such as sketching a sunset behind an architectural monument. Additionally, the book contains advice on how to achieve some of the most popular goals for people of all ages.
Speeches of Note by Shaun Usher
This thoughtfully curated and richly illustrated collection celebrates oratory old and new, highlighting speeches we know and admire, while also shining a light on profound drafts that were never delivered or have until now been forgotten.
Share Your Book Recs With Us!
Firstly, not only do we love recommending books, but we love having books recommended to us! Not seeing your favorite gift book here? Head down to the comments, then tell us what books you love to gift to teachers!
Secondly, this list is not only meant to help you say thank you to the teachers in your life with some gift ideas for the end of the year, but also to remind us to always show gratitude toward our educators.
When you buy your books with the Blue Manatee Literacy Project, we donate one to a child in need in Cincinnati. If these books don’t tickle your fancy, then purchase a gift card with us for the teachers in your life to pick out their own gift! It’s a win-win!
We hope this list helps inspire you to give thanks, to feel grateful, and to also pay it forward!