Announcing the TeachersFirst 2022 Summer Book Club Topic:

Encouraging Empathy through Critical Thinking with Literature

See the featured books and the schedule

As classrooms become increasingly diverse, students need help understanding that life as we know it can consist of a range of different experiences. Literature can help students understand how a situation may make others feel by exposing them to perspectives different from their own. Using critical thinking strategies to facilitate related activities, teachers can use carefully chosen texts to teach students to put themselves in someone else's shoes. These activities will help students learn to understand one another and help build a positive classroom culture where empathy plays a prominent role.

Join our free, virtual book club where we'll look at critical thinking strategies to help students develop habits of mind that encourage the growth of empathy.

About Our Book Club

Our book club focuses on timely topics you and your students might be encountering in your day-to-day lives. The book club is a discussion-driven professional learning opportunity at the intersection of critical thinking, and literacy instruction designed to help you:

  • Learn how to use popular books to spark discussions about challenging topics.
  • Help students develop critical thinking skills and draw real-world connections to the fiction they read.
  • Discover strategies for planning and executing discussion-based lessons.
  • Connect, engage, and exchange ideas with other educators across the country.

How the Book Club Works

Members of the book club have the opportunity to earn CEUs through their active participation in the book club.

  1. The application deadline is June 24, so apply ASAP!

    Eligibility Criteria
    You must live in the United States to participate. Participation is limited to 40 participants per grade level.

  2. Next, download and review our Book Club Starter Kit. It explains:
    • How to join our Microsoft Team
    • Our rubric for book club discussions
    • What is expected of book club participants for fostering learning Conversations
    • How to prepare for participation in book club meetings.
  3. You'll be assigned popular, age-appropriate books based for the grade(s) you teach. Each week, participants will read a few chapters and join a post-based, asynchronous conversation in Microsoft Teams about the previous week's reading, facilitated by our expert discussion leaders.
  4. Join us in for our book club meetings, engage in conversation with other members, and have fun!!

At the conclusion of the book club, members who follow the book club rubric, actively participate in all discussions, and attend the two required live sessions, will receive a certificate of participation for the appropriate number of CEUs and reimbursement for the price of the book.


The summer book club starts on July 5th and ends on August 11th.
Time commitment is 4 hours per week for each of 6 weeks for a total of 24 hours (reading/responding/online meetings).

Featured Books

My Two Grannies book cover

Elementary School (Grades K-5):
Strictly No Elephants by Lisa Mantchev
My Two Grannies by Floella Benjamin
We're Not From Here by Geoff Rodkey


$30 reimbursement

Amari and the Night Brothers book cover

Middle School (Grades 6-8):
New Kid by Jerry Craft
Amari and the Night Brothers by B. B. Alston


$20 reimbursement

Children of Blood and Bone book cover

High School (Grades 9-12):
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi


$15 reimbursement

Looking for more free, high-quality lesson ideas and professional development opportunities? Check out the Infusing Technology blog and our OK2Ask virtual workshops, and our education Twitter chats!