When you think of “social-emotional learning books,” lists of read-alouds and picture books for students probably come to mind. But SEL skills aren’t just for our students--educators can build social and emotional capacity too!
More and more schools are recognizing the importance of adult SEL. We can’t pour from an empty cup. In order to create positive spaces for student learning, we need to care for our own social and emotional well-being.
In case your to-be-read pile isn’t large enough already, here are 10 highly recommended books to help you deepen your practice, strengthen SEL skills, build community, and get some well-deserved rest. And if you love these books, check out our list of 10 trending SEL podcasts—with the latest SEL reaching and learnings from school and district leaders.
...want to bring trauma-informed practices to your school or district, try...
“The Trauma Sensitive Classroom” by Patricia A. Jennings
In order to help children recover from difficult experiences, schools can take a trauma-informed approach to social-emotional learning. Jennings provides an important background on trauma and its effects on body, mind, and behavior, as well as actionable strategies and practices educators can bring to their classrooms. [Tweet this book]
...want to enhance your family engagement strategy, try...
“Beyond the Bake Sale: The Essential Guide to Family-School Partnerships” by Karen L. Mapp, Anne T. Henderson, Vivian R. Johnson, and Don Davies
A strong family engagement strategy is critical in creating positive academic and social-emotional environments for learning, but developing a practice that works is easier said than done. “Beyond the Bake Sale” offers tips, insights, strategies, and resources for teachers, families, administrators, and policymakers on building positive relationships and school communities. [Tweet this book]
...want to build your resilience, try...
“Dare to Lead” by Brené Brown
A playbook filled with research-backed, actionable strategies, “Dare to Lead” is an inspiration for teachers, administrators, and district leaders alike. Embrace vulnerability, find your courage, and rise. [Tweet this book]
...want to learn about culturally responsive SEL, try...
“Teaching with the HEART in Mind” by Lorea Martinez Perez
This new book encourages educators to build their own social-emotional capacity while helping students develop SEL competencies. Transform your elementary, middle, or high school with new techniques for teaching SEL skills like strengthening relationships, managing emotions, developing self-control, and responsible decision-making. [Tweet this book]
...want to increase your emotional and self-awareness, try...
“Permission to Feel” by Marc Brackett
In order to teach social-emotional skills to students, educators must work on their own social-emotional development. Brackett’s years of research have resulted in a framework for cultivating positive mental health and well-being that he hopes will help children, families, and teachers around the world. [Tweet this book]
...want to learn more about educational equity, try…
“Coaching for Equity” by Elena Aguilar
Transformational conversations can help us address inequities in our education systems. Aguilar provides guidance on how to overcome obstacles and work together to create meaningful change through tangible strategies and tools for teachers, administrators, and coaches. [Tweet this book]
...are reflecting on your role as an educator, try…
“The Ball” by Todd Whitaker
A short yet powerful story about a retired teacher and former student, "The Ball" is a must-read for any educator who has found themselves wondering about their impact. [Tweet this book]
...want to introduce restorative practices, try…
“Restorative Practices at School” by Becky McCammon
Restorative practices are a classroom management method that allow teachers and students to handle problems in a constructive and respectful way. This workbook will provide you with examples, prompts, strategies, and exercises at every grade level. [Tweet this book]
...want to develop your growth mindset, try...
“Mindset” by Carol Dweck
Having a growth mindset is an important life skill. Dweck's research shows that our success is tied to our beliefs in our capabilities--when we see ourselves as learners capable of growth and change, we can succeed in school, work, and life. [Tweet this book]
...are looking for a mindful rest, try…
“How to Relax” by Thich Nhat Hanh
This small book by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh is the perfect companion for the busy educator. Relaxation doesn't always come naturally, but the mindfulness techniques and meditations included in this book will help you get the rest that you deserve. [Tweet this book]