If there's one thing I've learned in my nearly 18 years as a parent (and I've learned a few things, but only a few), it's to never underestimate the role your children's teachers play in their lives. The right teacher can mean the difference between an "okay" school year and one that's legitimately life-changing. It's true that your little one might not fully comprehend how important these relationships are now, but there are some incredible children's books about teachers out there that can encourage a sense of appreciation for the teacher in her life right now (and those to come). Because teachers deserve all the appreciation they can get, frankly!
From tales of particular teachers who went above and beyond to stories that serve as love letters to teachers in general, the books on this list serve as proof of the profound impact teachers have on individuals and society as a whole. There are titles for younger kids who might be feeling a little bit nervous about the prospect of a new (or even first) teacher, but there are also books for older kids who've already had a favorite teacher or two. And they're all bound to bring back fond memories for you. (In fact, you just might find yourself inspired to look up some of your elementary school heroes on Facebook after reading your child these books.)
1. "The Best Teacher Ever" by Mercer Mayer
I grew up with Mercer Mayer's Little Critter Books, and I actually remember this one well. The Best Teacher Ever is the story about Ms. Kitty and how she makes math class fun. So naturally, Little Critter wants to find the perfect gift for her — because anyone who can make math fun deserves an award. In my opinion anyway.
2. "Thank You, Mr. Falker" by Patricia Polacco
OK, I think someone is cutting onions in here. Thank You, Mr. Falker is a true story, y'all. Patricia Polacco pays tribute to her teacher who never gave up on her and encouraged her to overcome her dyslexia. "Patricia Polacco will never forget him, and neither will we," says the description. Boy, you've got that right. This book would be a great story to read to your kids about how teachers help students overcome struggles, or would even make a great gift for the teacher who has made a special difference in your child's life.
3. "A Letter To My Teacher" by Deborah Hopkinson
This sweet book is written as a thank you note to a teacher from a "little girl who prefers running and jumping to listening and learning," according to the description. In A Letter to My Teacher, the little girl thanks the teacher who "gently inspires her" and shows how teachers love even the more difficult students and will always be there for them no matter what.
4. "Teachers Rock!" by Todd Parr
Teachers Rock! is a celebration of all the things teachers do to make our lives better, whether it's "teaching us new things," "making us laugh," or "helping us make new friends," and how they always encourage us to do our very best and make learning fun.
5. "What If There Were No Teachers?" by Caron Chandler Loveless
What If There Were No Teachers is a story about teachers hopping on a bus and going on their merry way, with some even enjoying some time at the beach. And it lets teachers and young readers know that we definitely couldn't do life without them (and how sad it would be!).
6. "Thank You: A Book For Teachers" by Sandy Gingras
As an Amazon description raved, Thank You: A Book For Teachers strikes "the right tone of gratitude without being overly sentimental," and it talks about all the special gifts teachers give to us, big and small. Kids and teachers alike will enjoy the beautiful watercolor pages throughout the book, too.
7. "Thank You, Teacher!" by Josephine Collins
Thank You, Teacher! is another notable book that demonstrates just how much teachers do for their students inside the classroom and out. Not only is it an important read for young students, but it would make a great gift for the teachers and mentors in your life.
8. "Teacher Appreciation Day" by Lynn Plourde and Thor Wickstrom
Teacher Appreciation Day is the story about Maybella Jean Wishywashy, who is being, well, wishywashy, about what to bring her teacher for Teacher Appreciation Day. "While the other kids choose apples for their teacher, Maybella buys a whole array of different foods. When other students dress in Mrs. Shepherd's favorite color, Maybella decides to wear all the colors," the description reads. This fun book will be a great read for elementary-aged kids who are learning about teachers.
9. "Because I Had A Teacher" By Kobi Yamada
Because I Had A Teacher is a sweet, sweet book that shows just how important teachers are to their students and how many lives they truly touch. The story is about a bear who reflects on all the things he's able to do in his life all because of teachers, and it's sure to delight children and teachers alike.
10. "You Know You're A Teacher" by Char Forsten, Jim Grant, & Betty Hollas
Even though You Know You're A Teacher If... would be the perfect book gift for adults who are teachers, many an Amazon reviewer said they read it to their elementary-aged students in class and the kids loved it. This book shows just how above and beyond teachers go for their students and how creative teachers are.