I am a sucker for inspirational teacher characters in literature. I love books that include a teacher (or coach or mentor) who provides quiet support for a main character at just the right moment. I just finished reading Towers Falling by Rhodes and cheered for Mrs. Garcia when she quietly helps Deja adjust to the new school and anticipates Deja’s frustrations. In Hate That Cat, by Creech, I want to be the character, Miss Stretchberry. Miss Stretchberry is that once-in-a-lifetime teacher who changes a child’s entire school career. She sees all of the hidden strengths in Jack, the narrator in the story, and spends time nurturing those qualities.
Characters such as Miss Stretchberry and Mrs. Garcia are some of my favorites. They are not the only teacher characters in literature who inspire me. I love the way Mr. Burton in No Talking embraces the students’ creativity in participating in class with as few words as possible. I have so much respect for Miss Harris in The Great Gilly Hopkins when she negotiates Gilly’s anger in a positive way. I learn something valuable for my teacher toolkit from every teacher character in these books.
My Favorite Inspirational Teacher Characters Book List
- Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery
- Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea
- Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
- Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
- The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
- Hank Zipzer by Henry Winkler (pay attention to the music teacher)
- Homesick by Kate Klise
- Love That Dog and Hate That Cat by Sharon Creech
- Mrs. Bixby’s Last Day by John David Anderson
- No Talking by Andrew Clements
- The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen, 7th grade+ (pay attention to the math teacher)
- The Secret School by Avi
- A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park
- Towers Falling by Jewell Parker Rhodes
- The View from Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg
- The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt
- Wonder by R. J. Palacio
- Word after Word after Word by Patricia MacLachlan
- The Year of Miss Agnes by Kirkpatrick Hill
For adults (and particularly teacher adults), try the book Educating Esme by Esme Raji Codell.