Announcing the TeachersFirst 2024 Spring Book Club Topic:

Encouraging Empathy through Critical Thinking
with Literature

See the featured books and the schedule

Join our teacher book club as we read and discuss powerful stories that promote identity, empathy, and social-emotional growth. Through thoughtful conversation guided by critical thinking standards and habits of mind, we will explore strategies for bringing these meaningful books into our classrooms. Our students need stories that both reflect their experiences and open windows into the lives of others. Together we will learn new techniques to model critical thinking skills and create inclusive, thoughtful learning environments. All US educators are welcome - we can't wait to read, reflect, and grow together!

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.

Why Join 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.


The spring book club starts on April 1st and ends on May 31st. Time commitment is approximately 3 hours per week for each of 8 weeks for a total of 24 hours (reading/responding/online meetings).

Featured Books

Planet Omar book cover

Elementary School
(Grades K-5)

  • The Day You Begin by Jaqueline Woodson
  • Sarai and the Meaning of Awesome by Sarai Gonzalez and Monica Brown
  • Planet Omar: Accidental Trouble Magnet by Zanib Mian

$30 reimbursement

Front Desk book cover

Middle School (Grades 6-8):

  • New Kid by Jerry Craft
  • Front Desk by Kelly Yang

$20 reimbursement

This Light Between Us book cover

High School (Grades 9-12):

  • This Light Between Us by Andrew Fukuda

$10 reimbursement

How the Book Club Works

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

  1. The application deadline is March 15, so apply ASAP!

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

  2. You'll be assigned popular, age-appropriate books based on the grade(s) you teach.
  3. Join us in for our book club meetings, engage in conversation with other members, and have fun!! 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.

At the conclusion of the book club, members who complete required activities, participate in all discussions, and attend the two required live sessions, will receive a certificate of participation for the appropriate number of PDUs and reimbursement for the price of the book(s).