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Educators are a talented bunch, and often their creativity spills over into a book, album or other publication. We’re happy to debut a new, recurring section that showcases their gifts.

California Faculty Association member Kathleen Contreras is a bilingual educator and author of children’s books, including the new picture book Harvesting Friends/Cosechando Amigos (grades pre-K–3). In the book, young Lupe and Antonio learn that planting and tending a garden not only yield great veggies, but can grow community as well. A few simple recipes are included.

South Tahoe Educators Association member Bridey Thelen Heidel met student Sameer Jha at Human Rights Campaign’s 2017 Time to Thrive conference, which promotes safety, inclusion and well-being for LGBTQ+ youth. Jha, who was severely bullied at middle and elementary school for being different, was 16 when he wrote Read This, Save Lives: A Teacher’s Guide to Creating Safer Classrooms for LGBTQ+ Students in 2017. One chapter contains an interview with Heidel, who teaches English at South Tahoe High School and founded the school’s Gender and Sexuality Alliance. Read an excerpt of the interview.

For Members Only:   Jha, now a leading trans activist, is making his book available for free to Educator readers March 1-3. Download it here. You’ll find more than 100 actionable tips created with busy, resource-constrained teachers in mind, as well as cutting-edge research, critical terminology, real-world case studies, and resources from some of the best LGBTQ+ rights organizations in the country.

As an elementary school teacher for almost 30 years, Rosalind Henderson, Inglewood Teachers Association, understands stress. Henderson is also a certified leadership trainer, and her book, The ABCs of an A+ Workplace: Self-Care to Avoid Teacher Burnout, shares research-based strategies, mindsets and tools that will help you control your work environment so you can be a more powerful educator. Burnout is preventable, says Henderson, and she can show you how.

Oakland Education Association members Peter Catalfo and Susan Summerfield’s kindergarten and first-grade classes at Reach Academy figure prominently in Breath Friends Forever: A Mindfulness Story for Kids by Kids (grades pre-K–2). That’s because their students served as study subjects for authors Laurie Grossman, Angelina Manriquez and Chasmin Moses’ fourth-grade class. The book tells the story of how little Leo teaches his friend Nessa a few easy ways to stay calm while dealing with day-to-day stresses

Work, Work, Work

Do you have or know of work by CTA members that can be highlighted on these pages? Let us know! Send details to, with “Lit From Within” in the subject line. We lean toward work that can be used in the classroom. (Member letters, opinion pieces and essays are welcome; send inquiries to

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