Professional Book Reviews: The Book Whisperer and Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

The Book Whisperer
"Reading changes your life. Reading unlocks worlds unknown or forgotten, taking travelers around the world and through time. Reading helps you escape the confines of school and pursue your own education."

The Book Whisperer inspired me to read more young adult novels and children's literature, and make sure students know how much I like reading. 

The author really knew books and she knew her student’s interests.  I feel like I know picture books pretty well, but not as many “cool” chapter books.  The author reads at least a book a week, plus lots over school breaks.  Only books that she has read are in the library (at least she had to have read the author).  This book gave me so many ideas for chapter book suggestions.  I now have a long list of “fun” reading, because many of these books are brand new to me!  

It is so important for students to have time set aside during the school day to read.  This is where they can practice the strategies they are being taught.  In 1977, Richard Allington discussed how students were not reading enough during reading instruction.  The author agrees that 40 years later this is still true!  My school district is really wanting to see "eyes-on-text" when teachers are observed during guided reading time.  This book advocated for lots of "eyes-on-text!"  

I'm happy I read this book.  I think any book that inspires me to make a change in myself to help more students is a good read!

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
 "You have to work hardest for the things you love the most."
I would normally not pick up this kind of book (not really my style), but I heard about it at the PLC conference I went to, and knew I must read it!  It has given me so much to think about, and I know I will use it not only with students I work with, but my own children!

Growth mindsets involving believing that anyone can succeed with effort, motivation, and education.
Fixed mindsets are when people believe their qualities are already carved in stone and intelligence is more important that hard-work and effort.

I decided that I have a growth mindset, most of the time.  As long as I enjoy something, then I have a growth-mindset.  If I don’t enjoy it, and cannot find value in it, then I definitely have a fixed mindset. I must note that I don’t have to be good at something to have a growth-mindset. 

For example, I started running when I was 34 years old.  I am not fast.  I keep working and reading articles on how to improve my times.  I would say that I have a growth mindset when it comes to running, and I know that if I continue to work hard, I will get faster.
Golf on the other hand is something that I definitely have a fixed mindset about.  I do not like golf.  I am not any good at it.  I have no desire to spend my free time working on improving my game.  I think Mark Twain said that golf ruins a good walk, and I would have to agree!

The funny thing is when I was reading this book I started playing Candy Crush.  I got so frustrated, I just deleted the app!!!!  Then I felt guilty because I had a fixed mindset about Candy Crush.  I redownloaded it :)  Although I do not have time to play it!!!!  Every so often if I'm waiting for my children to finish an activity, I'll try it.  I doubt the author's had Candy Crush in mind when they wrote the book!!!!

Based on this book, if I want to have a growth mindset, I must have a plan, with steps on how to achieve the goal.  I also must take responsibility for my success or lack of success in my endeavors.

There was an entire section on working with gifted students (from a teacher and parent perspective).  Many times gifted students are praised for their intelligence, and sometimes they don't want to take risks because they are afraid of failure.  Some important questions that can be discussed at dinner with the whole family are the following?

What did you learn today?
What did you work hard at today?
What mistakes did you learn from?

I work with students from poverty and I have seen first hand how much effort plays into their success in school.  This book reinforced what I already believed, but also gave me specific strategies to help more students achieve a growth mindset.


  1. I'm a big fan of The Book Whisperer. It's such a great read.
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

  2. The Book Whisperer inspired me to start really reading for pleasure again (not to mention letting the kids have more independent reading time in class). I will definitely have to check out Mindsets-I teach gifted kids and am always looking for advice to give to parents about encouraging them. Thanks for the recommendations! :)


    1. It is really insightful when it comes to gifted students. The author is a college professor and has lots of stories about what can happen when gifted students go to college!


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