Teachers’ Pick • Joanna Tsacoyeanes
A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Reading/Writing/Literacy program, Joanna is now a 4th grade teacher living and teaching in the Boston area. This is her 3rd year teaching 4th grade. When she’s not with her students, you can find Joanna reading, walking, or practicing yoga.
Currently teaches at: Lilja Elementary School in Natick, MA
Book recommendation: Finding Perfect by Elly Swartz
Why: Finding Perfect tells the story of Molly, a middle school-aged girl who struggles to navigate friendships, family, and the challenges of OCD. This story makes OCD just one part of Molly’s experience; the story is mostly about friendships, but Swartz weaves Molly’s identity as a person with OCD into the story to show the unique challenges of a middle school-age girl who is navigating mental health struggles. This is the first story I’ve read for middle grades readers that beautifully shows how mental health struggles are just one (sometimes minor, sometimes more pronounced) part of a person! Molly reminds us that those who appear to “have it all together” might be struggling. She teaches all readers, not just those with OCD, will grow in empathy and compassion.