Books in our fav Abbott Elementary characters’ TBR stacks

Class is in session, and your homework? Watch Abbott Elementary.

The new ABC sitcom created by the funny and talented Quinta Brunson is the mockumentary-style comedy we needed. It’s absolutely one of the best sitcoms right now, and with stars like, Tyler James Williams, Janelle James, Lisa Ann Walter, Chris Perfetti, and Sheryl Lee Ralph, it’s easy to see why.

And reading is fundamental to a great education, so what kind of books would make up these teachers’ TBR stacks?


Janine is sweet and a little naive but overall is the epitome of what a teacher should be: Caring, almost to a fault, and ready to do whatever it takes to motivate and educate the young students in her second-grade class. We know she definitely has a TBR stack that’s as inspirational and excitable as she is.

Call Us What We Carry by Amanda Gorman

The poetry collection by the No. 1 New York Times bestselling author and presidential inaugural poet captures a shipwrecked moment in time and transforms it into a lyric of hope and healing.

The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris

This is an electric debut about the tension that unfurls when two young Black women meet against the starkly white backdrop of New York City book publishing. It’s a whip-smart and dynamic thriller with sly social commentary that is perfect for anyone who has ever felt manipulated, threatened, or overlooked in the workplace.

Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley

Eighteen-year-old Daunis has never quite fit in. She dreams of a fresh start at college, but when family tragedy strikes, Daunis puts her future on hold. The only bright spot is Jamie, the charming new recruit on her brother’s hockey team. But as Daunis falls for Jamie, she senses he’s hiding something. And everything comes to light when Daunis witnesses a shocking murder, thrusting her into an FBI investigation of a lethal new drug.


Oh, Greg. Even though you eat plain boiled chicken and have a hard time opening up not just to your students but to your colleagues, we can’t help but love you and your awkward glances to camera. Greg is a surprise in himself, and the books on his TBR might surprise you as well.

Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead

This book is a gloriously entertaining novel of heists, shakedowns, and rip-offs set in the 1960s. It’s a family saga masquerading as a crime novel, a hilarious morality play, a social novel about race and power, and ultimately a love letter to Harlem.

Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Drawing on her life as an indigenous scientist, and as a woman, Kimmerer shows how other living beings offer us gifts and lessons, even if we’ve forgotten how to hear their voices. For only when we can hear the languages of other beings will we be capable of understanding the generosity of the earth, and learn to give our own gifts in return.

Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour

This book is a hilarious, razor-sharp skewering of America’s workforce, a crackling, satirical debut novel about a young man given a shot at stardom as the lone Black salesman at a mysterious, cult-like, and wildly successful startup where nothing is as it seems.


You either love her or you hate her — and you can trust that she does not care either way. You can count on the fabulously funny principal of Abbott Elementary being up to date with the hottest books of the moment and ready to drop whatever it is she’s doing to talk about them.

Miss Me With That by Rachel Lindsay

Rachel Lindsay rose to prominence as The Bachelor’s first Black Bachelorette and has since become one of the franchise’s most well-known figures — and outspoken critics. But there has always been more to Lindsay than meets the eye, and in this book, she finally tells her own story, in her own words.

Untamed by Glennon Doyle

Soulful and uproarious, forceful and tender, this book is both an intimate memoir and a galvanizing wake-up call. It is the story of how one woman learned that a responsible mother is not one who slowly dies for her children, but one who shows them how to fully live.

Luster by Raven Leilani

Irresistibly unruly and strikingly beautiful, razor-sharp and slyly comic, sexually charged and utterly absorbing, the book is a portrait of a young woman trying to make sense of her life — her hunger, her anger — in a tumultuous era. It’s also a haunting, aching description of how hard it is to believe in your own talent, and the unexpected influences that bring us into ourselves along the way.


Can we go back to kindergarten and have Barbara be our teacher? (Okay, but really.) This education veteran knows how to dish out tough love but never doubt that she would drop whatever she’s doing to help those she cares for. From faith to fiction, we think Barbara would gravitate toward books that really make you think — and we would happily listen to all her thoughts on them in the break room.

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

A stunning new novel about twin sisters, inseparable as children, who ultimately choose to live in two very different worlds, one black and one white. Bennett offers an engrossing page-turner about family and relationships that is immersive and provocative, compassionate and wise.

Uncommon Ground by Timothy Keller and John Inazu

These two authors bring together a thrilling range of artists, thinkers, and leaders to provide a guide to faithful living in a pluralistic, fractured world. Providing varied and enlightening approaches to reaching faithfully across deep and often painful differences, this book shows us how to live with confidence, joy, and hope in a complex and fragmented age.

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

This novel follows the parallel paths of these sisters and their descendants through eight generations: from the Gold Coast to the plantations of Mississippi, from the American Civil War to Jazz Age Harlem. The book illuminates slavery’s troubled legacy both for those who were taken and those who stayed — and shows how the memory of captivity has been inscribed on the soul of our nation.


From food to family to telling Janine like it, Melissa is down to earth and refreshingly honest. She talks tough, but we know she’s got a heart of gold and is ready to fight — figuratively and literally — for what she believes in. Like her, there’s definitely more to her TBR than meets the eye.

Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner

With humor and heart, Zauner tells of growing up one of the few Asian American kids at her school in Eugene, Oregon; of struggling with her mother’s particular, high expectations of her; of a painful adolescence; of treasured months spent in her grandmother’s tiny apartment in Seoul, where she and her mother would bond, late at night, over heaping plates of food.

Wow, No Thank You by Samantha Irby

Irby is forty, and increasingly uncomfortable in her own skin despite what Inspirational Instagram Infographics have promised her. The essays in this collection draw on the raw, hilarious particulars of her new life, and this book is Irby at her most unflinching, riotous, and relatable.

Five Families by Selwyn Raab

This is a vivid story of the rise and fall of New York’s premier dons, from Lucky Luciano to Paul Castellano to John Gotti and others. This definitive history brings the reader right up to the possible resurgence of the Mafia as the FBI and local law-enforcement agencies turn their attention to homeland security and away from organized crime.


As nerdy and awkward as he can be (and as bad as he is at roasting) we’re glad the students at Abbott have Jacob as a teacher. Even though he tries a little too hard to be woke, we know his heart’s in the right place. And the books he’s picking up would go perfectly on any millennial’s shelf.

Crossroads by Jonathan Franzen

A tour de force of interwoven perspectives and sustained suspense, its action largely unfolding on a single winter day, this is the story of a Midwestern family at a pivotal moment of moral crisis. Franzen’s gift for melding the small picture and the big picture has never been more dazzlingly evident.

The Guncle by Steven Rowley

The Guncle is a warm and deeply funny novel about a once-famous gay sitcom star whose unexpected family tragedy leaves him with his niece and nephew for the summer. It’s a moving tribute to the power of love, patience, and family in even the most trying of times.

The Prophets by Robert Jones Jr.

A singular and stunning debut, this novel is about the forbidden union between two enslaved young men on a Deep South plantation, the refuge they find in each other, and a betrayal that threatens their existence.