The Herb Kohl Reader

Awakening the Heart of Teaching

The best writing from a lifetime in the trenches and at the typewriter, from the renowned and much-beloved National Book Award–winning educator

“[Herb Kohl’s writing] brings out all the sweetness, passion, and . . . mischief-making humor of an infinitely vulnerable and honest human being who has made it his vocation to peddle hope in the face of despair.” —Jonathan Kozol

In more than forty books on subjects ranging from social justice to mathematics, morality to parenthood, Herb Kohl has earned a place as one of our foremost “educators who write.” With Marian Wright Edelman, Mike Rose, Lisa Delpit, and Vivian Paley among his fans, Kohl is “one of only a handful of writers,” as William Ayers says in his introduction, “to have had a serious impact on the practice of education over the past four decades.” Now, for the first time, readers can find collected in one place key essays and excerpts spanning the whole of Kohl’s career, including practical as well as theoretical writings.

Selections come from Kohl’s classic 36 Children, his National Book Award–winning The View from the Oak (co-authored with his wife Judy), and all his best known and beloved books. The Herb Kohl Reader is destined to become a major new resource for old fans and a new generation of teachers and parents.


“Kohl has created his own brand of teaching. . . . [He is] a remarkable teacher who discovered in his first teaching assignment that in education he could keep playing with toys, didn’t have to stop learning, and could use what he knew in the service of others.”
—Lisa Delpit, The New York Times
“Herb Kohl awakens the heart of teaching.”
—William Ayers
“For almost fifty years, Herb Kohl’s work has been a vibrant moral and political force for good teaching.”
—Norm Fruchter, New York Institute for Education and Social Policy
“Herb Kohl renders teaching as a moral craft and expresses a refreshing idealism about the possibilities of the classroom.”
—Mike Rose, author of Possible Lives: The Promise of Public Education in America

Books by Herbert Kohl

She Would Not Be Moved
How We Tell the Story of Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott

Herbert Kohl

The Muses Go to School
Inspiring Stories About the Importance of Arts in Education

Herbert Kohl, Tom Oppenheim

The View from the Oak
The Private Worlds of Other Creatures

Herbert Kohl, Judith Kohl

Should We Burn Babar?
Essays on Children’s Literature and the Power of Stories

Herbert Kohl

Goodreads Reviews