Slice of Life: NCTE Book Recommendations

11454297503_e27946e4ff_hThere are many things I love about NCTE’s Annual Convention. I love learning from authors, teachers, and researchers I admire. I love meeting friends from blogging and Twitter in real life. And I love all the free or discounted books, posters, and bookmarks being given away by publishers in the Exhibition Hall. 

Something else I love are the book recommendations presenters make during their sessions. Teachers are readers, and presentations are always grounded in research. So, in addition to coming home with a suitcase full of books to share with my students, I brought home a list of professional books and other “adult” reading that I’m looking forward to diving into. Here, in no particular order, are some of the titles I’ll be reading in the weeks to come.

During her session, “Tracing the Shape of Human Thinking,” presented with her husband, Randy, Katherine Bomer referred toThe Best American Essays 2015, edited by Ariel Levy. I picked this up over the weekend and have already read Anthony Doerr’s lovely “Thing with Feathers That Perches in the Soul.” Katherine’s presentation was based on her upcoming book, The Journey is Everything. She closed her part of the session by telling us that “the act of writing without boundaries leads kids on a magical journey where they can hear what they think and say what they have to say.” I cannot wait to read more of Katherine’s thinking about changing they way we teach essay writing.

                                            9780544569621        91+CPKVK80L

At the Wonderopolois Breakfast (which deserves it’s own post), Georgia Heard talked about Elizabeth Gilbert’s new book, Big Magic:  Creative Living Beyond Fear. In this book, Gilbert urges her readers to live “a life that is driven more strongly by curiosity than by fear.” Sounds like good advice.

Amy Benjamin and Barb Golub’s session, “Infusing Grammar Instruction into the Workshop Model” was packed to the rafters and full of practical suggestions for implementing a “concept-based approach to grammar.” Fortunately, Benjamin and Golub have written a book, published by Routledge, to help us implement “activities [that] build language knowledge for ALL learners.”


This list is by no means complete, and doesn’t begin to address all the kids books now piled on my desk. But it perfectly illustrates that the learning from NCTE reaches far beyond the Minneapolis Convention Center.  Happy reading, everyone!

Thank you to StaceyTaraDanaBetsyAnnaBeth, Kathleen, and Deb for this space for teachers and others to share their stories each Tuesday. Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers to read more Slice of Life posts.

7 thoughts on “Slice of Life: NCTE Book Recommendations

  1. Love reading your recommendations. I’ve read some of the ‘best of’ books through the years, always wonderful. I keep hearing about the Gilbert book, maybe a ‘self-Christmas gift’? Thanks Catherine!


  2. Catherine, I am so glad that we were able to spend time together at NCTE 15 and that you went to Katherine Bomer’s presentation (one of my favorite authors). I loved reading your takeaways and hope to get to my stacks of books soon.


  3. I am loving all the NCTE posts. One because there was no way to be in all the good places at once, and two, I am able to relive it again and again. Thanks for the book recommendations. My box came yesterday and my students had so much fun shopping for a new book to read.


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