5 Books to Add to Your Collection in 2013


Like everyone else, I always like to start fresh in a new year. Clean email box, clean desk, and clean shelves (instead of just piling scads and scads of things to read). I often ask Santa for some books, and he’s pretty consistent on getting them. Here are five books I read during the year (I tend to check out at the library before I buy) and found to be assets for my reference collection:


Given the Newtown tragedy, I couldn’t think of a more timelier book. I know it sounds morbid, but I read it cover to cover over winter break, and must have tweeted a dozen times referencing points made in it. This is not a knee-jerk reaction book. This is a valuable tool that every leader needs in their collection.

From a book review website: At what point should violent student expressions be considered a legitimate threat? This legal handbook helps you apply caution and logic in protecting your students’ freedom of speech while also protecting the safety of everyone in the building. Gretchen Oltman, an experienced educator and licensed attorney, shows you how to react appropriately to warning signs from students. You’ll discover how to:

  • Prevent violence by creating a positive and safe school environment
  • Guide teachers in assessing written threats of violence
  • Evaluate writing outside the classroom, including texting and Facebook postings

Violence in Student Writing delves into the real-life experiences of administrators, teachers, and students, exploring current and relevant issues in student writing violence and offering solutions that every school administrator needs to know.


This book is AWESOME. Dave Burgess is one of those teachers who you can tell hated to leave the classroom. Many of us that leave yearn for the classroom when we see lessons that are great or content that we once taught. Dave gets down to basics and give you pointers to light fires under your students; something that all teachers should be doing. I encourage every English & Reading teacher to check this out.

Book Review: Based on Dave Burgess’s popular “Outrageous Teaching” and “Teach Like a PIRATE” seminars, this book offers inspiration, practical techniques, and innovative ideas that will help you to increase student engagement, boost your creativity, and transform your life as an educator. You’ll learn how to: • Tap into and dramatically increase your passion as a teacher • Develop outrageously engaging lessons that draw students in like a magnet • Establish rapport and a sense of camaraderie in your classroom • Transform your class into a life-changing experience for your students This groundbreaking inspirational manifesto contains over 30 hooks specially designed to captivate your class and 170 brainstorming questions that will skyrocket your creativity. Once you learn the Teach Like a PIRATE system, you’ll never look at your role as an educator the same again.


I previously posted about this book. You can find it here. The gist: this is Todd at his best, teaching us how to deal with difficult people in your school. Hopefully you’ve read Whitaker before; if you haven’t, start with this.

Book Review: Poor employees get a disproportionate amount of attention. Why? Because they complain the loudest, create the greatest disruptions, and rely on others to assume the responsibilities that they shirk. Learn how to focus on your good employees first, and help them shift these ‘monkeys’ back to the underperformers. Through a simple but brilliant metaphor, Whitaker helps you reinvigorate your staff and transform your organization.


Salome Thomas-El is THE MAN! He can light an iceberg on fire! So passionate about being the best we can be, @PrincipalEL offers tips, tactics, and thoughts on how we can mentor and create superior learning environments for all students in today’s challenging times. I read this and thought it was tough love meets the ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’ series. Sidenote – if you ever have the chance to see him in person, GO. He’s amazing.

Book Review: Influenced in no small part by the powerful mentors in his own youth, the award-winning educator and acclaimed author of I Choose to Stay offers a commonsense, inspiring road map to mentoring kids to thrive in today’s challenging world–and creating a legacy of success for generations to come. By identifying the most important areas in which mentors can affect the lives of young people, Thomas-EL shows how you can be of influence in ways you may not expect. Whether you decide to provide a professional influence by exposing youth to the dynamics of the workplace, or a healthy influence by modeling participation in sports and showing how to make healthful food choices, or an influence in good character through interactions that demonstrate respect, friendship, and discipline, you’ll find that the immortality of influence is achievable in every arena of life. Anything is possible when kids are given our time, taught to care for themselves and others, and led by our example–not only at home, but in the community at large. For any caring adult, this book is an essential guide to making a difference–not just for today, but forever.


Not the first educational book that comes to mind, being being a history teacher of both World and American History teacher before becoming an administrator, I like to reflect on other historical leaders and their influence. Attila the Hun has a bad reputation, but if you peel the layers, you’ll see what Attila is all about: effective leadership, listening, and responding accordingly. If you choose to read it, I bet you can relate to a thing or two.

Book Review: Discover the leadership secrets of the warrior who centuries ago shaped an aimless band of mercenary tribal nomads into the undisputed rulers of the ancient world-and who today offers timeless lessons in win-directed, take-charge management. Based on historical research-and filled with illuminating maxims-this essential guide offers the wisdom of a man who unified thousands, led the charge, kept the peace, picked his enemies wisely, and negotiated brilliantly-all the vital management principles that lead to success. Listeners will learn to Never to underestimate the power of an enemy to rise against you on another day, Never to give a Hun a reward that holds no personal value to yourself, Never to arbitrate, for it allows a third party to determine your destiny, and Never to misuse power, for such action causes friction and rebellion in the tribe and nation, and much more.

These five books are all superb references. I hope they will serve you well.

One thought on “5 Books to Add to Your Collection in 2013

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