Bookshelf: 20 Books to Stimulate Thinking for the (Arts) Educator

By Heather Vaughan-Southard

I am a reader. I am at my best when I have new information to process and to apply to my teaching and my life. Recently, a mentee asked me to provide a list of reading materials to shift her from her standard thinking and teaching patterns. Here is a list of resources which have shaped some of my professional and personal development in recent years. Though the list here is non-fiction, I also recommend fiction, fiction, and more fiction. – Heather Vaughan-Southard (Dance)

What books would you add?

For Getting Students to Respond Critically to Their Art and the Art of Others

Critical Response Process by Liz Lerman and John Borstel

Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler

For Engagement, Creativity, and Productivity

Flow: The Pscyhology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Sparks of Genius: The 13 Thinking Tools of the World’s Most Creative People by Robert and Michelle Root-Bernstein

Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain by David Eagleman

So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love by Cal Newport

Mindsight: the New Science of Personal Transformation by Daniel J. Siegel

Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential in Us All by Tom Kelley and David Kelley

Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success by Adam M. Grant

Food for Thought in Reaching Hard to Reach Kids (and Adults)

The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel Van Der Kolk

Teach, Breathe, Learn: Mindfulness In and Out of the Classroom by Meena Srinivasan

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

Teaching with Love and Logic: Taking Control of the Classroom by Jim Fay and David Funk

For Thinking Like an Artist:

The Elements of Story: Field Notes on Nonfiction Writing by Francis Flaherty

Story/Time: The Life of an Idea by Bill T. Jones

Hiking the Horizontal: Field Notes of a Choreographer by Liz Lerman

For Re-thinking the Status Quo

The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly by Seth Godin

Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That’s Transforming Education by Sir Ken Robinson and Lou Aronica

For Remembering What it is Like to Learn Something New

How to Bake Everything by Mark Bittman


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