Discover books to to support your professional development, personal development; or to put on your class bookshelf. Recommended for educators by our R.I.S.E. authors.

Book cover - 'Beneath a Scarlet Sky', by Mark Sullivan.

‘Beneath a Scarlet Sky’, by Mark Sullivan

Recommended by: Susan Harvey

This book is based around the story of Pino Lella. Not my usual reading, but I’m so glad I gave it a go. It follows the horrors of World War II in Italy – how many people were subjected to become German soldiers, Pino’s love for Anna, and tested friendships. Harrowing at times, and very emotive, as war always is. However, so many uplifting parts showing the bravery of not just Pino, but his friends and family who put their lives on the line to protect those who needed help.

‘You Are Not a Before Picture’, by Alex Light

Recommended by: Vicki Tayler

We are surrounded by diet culture, inundated with its messaging daily (whether we want to be or not!). ‘You Are Not a Before Picture’ delves into the origins of diet culture and the history of beauty standards, to empower the reader to make peace with the body they’re in. By the end of this book, I had lost count of how many times I’d sat silently in shock at how many inaccurate underlying beliefs I held. It’s not very often I read a book that I think will truly change my life, but I think this one might. I just wish it had been around ten years ago!

Book cover - 'You Are Not a Before Picture', by Alex Light.
Book cover - '‘The Dyscalculia Toolkit’ ,by Ronit Bird'.

‘The Dyscalculia Toolkit’, by Ronit Bird

Recommended by: Hari Neocleous

This is a ‘must-read’ book for anyone who teaches primary maths. The introduction begins with a definition and signs of dyscalculia. Then the book explains the tiny steps/layers needed when teaching/doing intervention work. The book explores the CPA (Concrete Pictorial Abstract) approach with an emphasis on visualisation skills – something many of us take for granted. Full of top tips, examples of maths jottings (e.g., blank number lines and bar models) and how to use Cuisenaire rods and other resources. The book also contains 55 maths games and 220 activities! With pedagogy and progression in number concepts, this book shows you how to do ‘game-based learning’ in maths. There is even an online code to further resources so it really is value for money. Ronit Bird has been my favourite dyscalculia expert for 10 years now – Ronit is easy to follow and to the point. (Not my typical holiday book but it was on the Dyscalculia course reading list!)

‘Head Trauma- The Bruising Diary of a Headteacher’, by Nick Smith

Recommended by: Lynn How

This book was a great easy summer read and a humorous but realistic account of what a headship role entails. With useful comparisons to other fields Nick has worked in, he explains how his career progressed and how he has navigated leadership. It was not always easy, and I loved his ‘tell all’ approach as he developed an unfaltering growth mindset in the face of adversity. His upbeat writing style supports the reader in discovering that reflection and perseverance is key in leadership – as you won’t always get it right the first time!

'Head Trauma- The Bruising Diary of a Headteacher', by Nick Smith.
Book cover: 'You Are A Badass Everyday' by Jen Sincero

‘What’s Next Sir?’, by Steve Hill

Recommended by: Oliver Wright

This is a rare book, in that it is both inspiring and entertaining. It will appeal to those who teach, but also to many of the children we work with. Steve Hill is a teacher in the broadest sense of the word. He cares passionately about those he works with, developing in them a sense of expectation, excitement and resilience. He shows his pupils that anything truly is possible; in his day-to-day work within a school, his fundraising and his amazing adventures. He shares his adventures, and what he has learnt along the way in a way that will inspire you to follow your own dreams.

‘Diverse Educators: A Manifesto’, by Hannah Wilson and Bennie Kara

Recommended by: Penny Whelan

Diverse Educators is the kind of book that you can dip in and out of and every page is a gem to read. It’s lots of short chapters from some amazing different people and it talks about real issues- giving you practical advice and ideas you can implement in school. The book
covers all aspects of diversity in education and the workplace. It’s become my ‘go-to manual’ for improving my own practice as a teacher and a leader. These are the real issues that we need to be brave enough to address. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

Book cover - 'Diverse Educators: A Manifesto', by Hannah Wilson and Bennie Kara.
Book cover - 'My school #Governance handbook', by Al Kingsley.

‘My school #Governance handbook’, by Al Kingsley

Recommended by: Liz Bury

I don’t work in a school, so you may wonder why I have read this book, let alone recommend it! But actually, it’s kind of the point. Schools need governors from all walks of life, so if this book can pique the interest of people outside the sector, that’s a pretty good start! The author has vast experience in governance and his whole-hearted enthusiasm runs throughout. He chats about everything prospective volunteers need to know: school and MAT structures, governor tasks, tips for getting up to speed, and more. I found the explainer list of education terms really handy, as were the multiple signposts to supporting resources. Hand on heart, the 300 or so pages whizzed by and I came away feeling extremely informed! This accessible book will be useful to existing and prospective volunteers – and school leaders will find the recruitment tips invaluable, too.


  • Katherine Cauchi

    Kat Cauchi is a WeAreTechWomen #TechWomen100 2023 award winner and a 2022 Nexus Education 'Classroom and Curriculum' improvement award winner. She is the community engagement manager at NetSupport, editor of R.I.S.E. Magazine, and the host of two podcasts. Kat is a member of the Global Equality Collective, a Global EdTech author, InnovateHer ambassador and Technocamps Girls in Stem role model.
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