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Social-Emotional Learning

10 Books for Educators to Enhance Your Own Social-Emotional Learning

Panorama Staff
Panorama Staff
10 Books for Educators to Enhance Your Own Social-Emotional Learning



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.

Key Takeaways:

1. Ensure access to SEL resources: Implement mechanisms to ensure that educators have access to a variety of SEL books and resources, including building a library of SEL materials and partnering with local organizations.

2. Integrate SEL into professional development: Incorporate SEL book recommendations into existing professional development programs for educators, such as staff meetings, workshops, or book clubs, to promote ongoing learning and collaboration.

3. Foster collaboration and community-building: Leverage SEL books to foster collaboration and community-building among educators within and across schools, providing opportunities for reflection, idea exchange, and collaboration on SEL initiatives.

4. Provide follow-up support: Offer follow-up support to educators after they have read SEL books, such as coaching, mentoring, or peer support networks, to help them apply the concepts and strategies in their practice effectively.


Free Download: Panorama's Adult SEL Toolkit for 2023-24


If you..

...want to bring trauma-informed practices to your school or district, try...

the trauma sensitive classroomThe 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 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 leadDare 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 mindTeaching 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 feelPermission 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 equityCoaching 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 ballThe 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-9781646040001_xlgRestorative 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 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 relaxHow 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]





Frequently Asked Questions:

1. What mechanisms can we put in place to ensure that educators have access to SEL books and resources?

District leaders may explore options for building a library of SEL books within schools, providing funding for book purchases, or partnering with local libraries and organizations to offer resources to educators.

2. How can we incorporate SEL book recommendations into existing professional development programs for educators?

District leaders may want to integrate SEL book discussions into staff meetings, workshops, or book clubs, and provide incentives or recognition for educators who participate in these activities.

3. How can we leverage SEL books to foster collaboration and community-building among educators within and across schools?

District leaders may facilitate opportunities for educators to share their reflections on SEL books, exchange ideas and best practices, and collaborate on implementing SEL initiatives in their classrooms and schools.

4. What follow-up support can we provide to educators after they have read SEL books to ensure that they are able to apply the concepts and strategies in their practice?

District leaders may offer coaching, mentoring, or peer support networks to help educators translate their learning from SEL books into actionable steps that promote positive social-emotional development in students.


Want more SEL resources for educators? Download the Adult SEL toolkit for 2023-24


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