Suggested Reading List

Center for Powerful Public Schools is committed to providing educators with real-world case-studies for professional development and capacity building better equipping them to achieve success in their schools. Interested in submitting reading suggestions? Email your suggestions to Sara Maldonado at

Keepin’ it Real: School Success Beyond Black and White

By Prudence Carter

Utilizing an ethnographic qualitative approach, Carter delves into the cultural capital and code-switching of students at several historically segregated schools in the New York City area. Carter argues students of color straddle between their cultural identities and what they perceive to be academic validation in the classroom. As with much of the literature surrounding the achievement gap, the identity piece discussed in Keepin’ It Real provides the reader insight into the centrality of identity to student achievement and success.

Speed of Trust

By Stephen M.R. Covey

This is a great read about establishing trust in group settings, whether the workplace or the classroom.  It is easy to understand and easily applicable to anyone interested in creating a more trusting atmosphere.

Crucial Conversations

By Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, Kerry Patterson, and Al Switzler

The work of education requires tough conversations.  This book is a helpful guide to how to speak in ways that allow one  to understand and be understood, especially around difficult topics such as racism, sexism, exclusion, expectations, and others that impact our schools.

The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace

By Jeff Hobbs

This is a well written story, albeit a very sad one, about a brilliant young man of color. The community he is part of (including schools) feature prominently in his life, as well as the people who end up shaping his thinking and world view.  This book highlights the possibilities and limits of schools on a young man’s life.

Make Just One Change: Teach Students to Ask Their Own Questions

By Dan Rothstein and Luz Santana

Transform the educational experience by getting students, rather than teachers, to assume responsibility for posing questions. The book is centered on the protocol, Question Formulation Technique, which enables learners to produce their own questions, improve their questions, and strategize how to use them.