(April 26, 2005)

Most of us have memories of teachers who made lasting impressions. Maybe their enthusiasm led us to a love of books, or even toward our chosen profession. In support of Teacher Appreciation Week, May 1-7, 2005, Cheryl Hassler has compiled this list of titles featuring inspiring teachers.

To order any of these titles, contact the library by email, mail or phone. You may also request these titles online through our OPAC. Happy Reading!

Among Schoolchildren by Tracy Kidder.
RC 30238.
The author followed Chris Zajac, fifth grade teacher at an elementary school in Holyoke, Massachusetts, for a year as she taught her students, many from welfare families, half of them Puerto Rican, and some deeply troubled. She is a tough teacher, insisting each pupil do the best possible work, and she brooks no nonsense, but cares deeply for each child and the author evokes the same depth of caring in the reader.

Christy by Catherine Marshall.
RC 39327, BR 15428.
Based on the life of the author's mother, this is the tale of nineteen-year-old Christy Huddleston's first year teaching in an Appalachian mountain cove. With the help of Alice Henderson, the Quaker who founded the Cutter Gap mission school, Christy finds her point of reference in God. She makes friends among the hardscrabble Cutter Gap "clan," sees some of them succumb to typhoid fever, and inspires love in two admirable men.

The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson.
RC 32386, BR 8452.
An account of a minister's attempt to help seven boys indicted in New York City for the murder of a disabled teenager. His work with juvenile gangs led to the Teen Challenge movement with centers in Brooklyn, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

Dangerous Minds by LouAnne Johnson.
RC 41042.
Johnson tells of teaching English in a rough Los Angeles high school. She has only one rule: respect yourself and everyone in class. Her respect for the students and the reputation of her Marine Corps training break down the barriers to learning. In her program, she teaches the same students for three years, allowing her to become an influence in their lives. Made into a movie of the same title. Violence and strong language.

Educating Esmé: Diary of a Teacher's First Year by Esmé Raji Codell.
BR 13056.
Journal entries relate the author's first months in an urban classroom. Esmé recalls her refusal to be intimidated by her Chicago inner city fifth graders and her determination to make their learning experience unique and enjoyable, despite her own problems with an infuriating school principal. Strong language.

To Sir, with Love by E.R. Braithwaite.
RC 12659.
Recollections of a cultured young black from British Guiana who teaches in a London school for difficult teenagers. He endures insults and indignities from his students until he wins their respect and affection.

Goodbye, Mr. Chips by James Hilton.
RC 57794, BR 15211.
Chronicles sixty years in the life of Mr. Chipping, an English schoolmaster who arrives at exclusive Brookfield in 1870 with much enthusiasm but little experience. At first unpopular, Mr. Chips eventually develops a more personal relationship with his students and becomes a legend by the time they must say goodbye.

Hardball: A Season in the Projects by Daniel Coyle.
RC 38559.
Chicago 's Cabrini-Green may be the worst low rent housing development in the United States. The children have become inured to the sounds of gunshots and gang wars. In 1991 two men--one white, one black--with the support of several major corporations, set up a Little League. Coyle follows the First Chicago Near North Kikuyus through a year that sees them make it to the championships, in spite of the daily violence surrounding them. Violence and some strong language.

One Child by Torey L. Hayden.
RC 16782.
When six-year-old Sheila, the unwashed, unkempt daughter of a migrant worker injures another child, she is temporarily placed in the author's class of disabled preadolescents. Hayden soon realizes that this troubled child, whom the court wants to commit to a state institution, is gifted with the IQ of genius.

Ordinary Resurrections: Children in the Years of Hope by Jonathan Kozol.
RC 52379.
Portraits from their own viewpoint of some of the poorest children in the South Bronx, all African American or Hispanic, growing up in dangerous neighborhoods. These elementary school aged youngsters, many suffering from asthma, describe their feelings, routines, and living conditions.

Pay It Forward by Catherine Ryan Hyde.
RC 50012.
Twelve-year-old Trevor tackles his new teacher's extra credit assignment to improve the world. He performs three large favors, and instead of paying him back, each recipient agrees to pay favors forward to three more people, and so on. Initially a disaster, his project soon snowballs into a great success. Some strong language.

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark.
RC 25844.
A character study of the remarkable Miss Brodie, a middle aged school teacher in Edinburgh who exerts an enormous influence on a small group of impressionable schoolgirls. Also a portrait of adolescence, and its innocent curiosity about life and sex.

Small Victories: The Real World of a Teacher, Her Students, and Their High School by Samuel G. Freedman.
RC 32325.
Freedman, an investigative journalist, spent an entire school year at Seward Park High School on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. His focus is primarily on one teacher, Jessica Siegel, and her students, most of whom are immigrants or children of immigrants. He also interviewed other teachers, students, administrators, and parents.

Teacher by Sylvia Ashton Warner.
RC 15322.
A journal of incidents and personalities. A philosophy of education emerges as the author reflects on her teaching experiences with Maori children in New Zealand. She developed the Creative Teaching Scheme, based on the intensity of the child's interest, to prepare her pupils for the complex modern world.

'Tis: A Memoir by Frank McCourt.
RC 48813, BR 12529.
McCourt's reminiscences from October 1949, when he arrives in New York City at age nineteen, until his father's funeral in 1985. Describes his adjustments to America, including gaining an education, finding a career, marrying, and raising a family, interwoven with childhood memories. Some strong language.

The Water Is Wide by Pat Conroy.
RC 38036.
An account of the year that the author spent teaching eighteen fifth through eighth grade African American children in an ill-equipped, two room school on Yamacraw Island, off the South Carolina coast, and the public fight with the school board that cost him his job. For junior and senior high and older readers.