Books, Podcasts, Apps & More

This page is dedicated to resources I like & recommend.*

Great books help you understand, and they help you feel understood.

–John Green

Reading is a form of self-care for me. I learn, I’m transported, I laugh, I cry and I become a little better. Fictional or not, there’s a lesson in every book. These are just a few of the books I have enjoyed and find useful as a school counselor.

*This page contains affiliate links.

by Michele Borba

My introduction to Dr. Borba was at my first ever ASCA Conference where she gave the keynote. I was just a couple of years into being a school counselor & I will forever be grateful for her incredible caring & insight into developing empathy. Her research shaped the entire approach to my program. Anything that encourages people to be nice is worth the read.

I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book.

-J.K. Rowling

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
by Carol S. Dweck 

You’ve probably read this already. If you haven’t, please do.


The Obstacle is the Way
by Ryan Holiday

Introduces the basic concept of the ancient philosophy of Stoicism. Real life examples of people overcoming what seem like impossible situations help illustrate the concepts. This is easy to read and would provide great examples to pass on to students who are struggling with what may seem like impossible situations in their own lives.

The One Thing
by Gary Keller

A productivity book about how to focus on “one thing”. I know it sounds impossible to do as a school counselor, but there is wisdom in this book. Keller breaks down the steps to get focused on one thing and enable greater productivity.

The Gifts of Imperfection
by Brené Brown

One in a series of books written by Brown who explores our relationship with shame & vulnerability. Her viral Ted Talk about shame outlines the concepts in this book. Well worth the time to read and apply to your life if you have any doubts about who you are and expressing & accepting yourself in an authentic way.

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead
by Brené Brown

Encouragement to put yourself out there and take some chances. Daring Greatly thoughtfully breaks down the process of moving from detachment and loneliness to joy and connection. Reading Brown’s books is like sitting down to coffee with your dearest, best friend & they tell you exactly everything you need to hear.

Letters to a Young Therapist
by Mary Pipher

Recommended to me by a colleague for whom I have the utmost respect. 

Brief Counseling That Works: A Solution-Focused Therapy Approach for School Counselors and Other Mental Health Professionals
by Gerald B. Sklare

Solution-Focused Therapy is a must-have tool for any school counselor. If you are not familiar with this approach, it’s about focusing on the solution to a problem and what you can do now and in the future, rather than hashing over past events.

the life-changing magic of tidying up
by Marie Kondo

You can judge this book by its cover because it was life-changing for me. Loads of blog posts, checklists & more are all over the internet (search “konmari“). It’s been out for a while, but truly & completely shifted my way of thinking about the objects I own and the space I live in.

Show Your Work
by Austin Kleon

This was actually assigned reading for a class. From the title I thought it had to do with “showing your work” as in how you solved for a math equation. Far from it! It’s about sharing your work and what happens behind the scenes in what you do. I think in education we tend to get caught up in showing a perfect final product & need to demonstrate what happens behind the scenes (the process) to encourage learning.

Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative
by Austin Kleon

Another insightful & entertaining book by Kleon. It might look like a cute little coffee table book, but the ideas are big & deep. How many times have you heard a student say, “I’m not an artist, I can’t take art class.” Whether you draw like Michaelangelo or not, being an “artist” can mean many things. This little gem just might unleash that faint creative voice inside of you & your students.

Teach Like a PIRATE: Increase Student Engagement, Boost Your Creativity, and Transform Your Life as an Educator
by Dave Burgess

I had the pleasure of attending a workshop session for Teach Like a Pirate. I was delighted & inspired by the energy Dave has as well as his passion for teaching with creativity. Recommend this book & experiencing his workshop.


Children & Young Adult

Books in my personal library for school counseling.

Fish is Fish
by Leo Lionni

This book introduced me to the concept of constructivist learning theory. It’s a beautiful story of how the world is seen through the eyes of a fish. Cow udders? They are “pink bags of milk”. Nice approach for starting a conversation about how we see things differently.

It’s Mine!
by Leo Lionni

Three little frogs won’t stop fighting & soon discover the power of working together after they endure a flood. Beautifully illustrated.

I Love Monkey
by Suzanne Kaufman

Everyone in the room will smile as you learn a cute little lesson on being loved for exactly who you are.

by Mies Van Hout

What do friends do together? Laugh, play, fight, tease & more. Genius illustrations of friendship, tender moments and not so happy times. Wonderful resource for talking about friends.

Beautiful Oops!
by Barney Saltzberg

We all make mistakes. It’s not the end of the world! This dimensional book brings mistakes to life and shows us how to make them into beautiful things instead. Reinforces the growth mindset.

Oh No, George!
by Chris Haughton

Oh my goodness, poor George cannot control himself. Will he learn his lesson? Kick-off a conversation about self-control. Students know exactly how it feels to be George & the story elegantly illustrates the struggles and triumphs of controlling yourself.  

Little Owl Lost
by Chris Haughton

You can find your way home. Little Owl lost his mom and he wanders through the forest to find her. A small lesson on being reassured you will find your way home.

by Mies Van Hout

Need a lesson on identifying feelings? These adorable, colorful fish are just the solution. They are happy, furious, brave, shy, loving & more.

by Kathryn Otoshi

One conveys the power of working together and standing up for yourself. Profound lesson delivered in deceptively simple illustrations.

The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm
by Reading Rainbow

Introduces the concept of holding onto our feelings and the impact of dealing with traumatic life events. It was a little long, but still conveyed a great lesson.


The Secret Life of Bees
by Sue Monk Kidd

Powerful life lessons in forgiveness, transformation and love. Follow the journey of Lily Owens as she uncovers mysteries of her life. 

Make it a rule never to give a child a book you would not read yourself.

-George Bernard Shaw

Walk Two Moons
by Sharon Creech

Salamanca Tree Hiddle uncovers her past in an engaging journey that will bring tears and laughter. 

by R.J. Palacio

I read Wonder with a sixth grade class one year. We were all on the edge of our seat as we lived through the eyes of August Pullman, his sister and classmates. I will always recommend reading the book before watching the movie. : ) 

Boxes for Katje
by National Geographic Learning

I read this book to several classes every year because it reflects the compassion we have for each other. It’s a fictional story based on true events following World War II. Katje is a Dutch girl who strikes up a friendship with Rosie via letters back and forth. As Rosie learns of the strife in another part of the world, she finds a way to reach out and care for complete strangers.

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