Category Archives: recent press

Education Week Teacher: Teachers Stay Because They Made a Choice to Serve

Education Week Teacher imageI was happy to have the opportunity to answer a question for the Education Week Teacher blog. It was: Why do some teachers stay at difficult to staff schools? What are the rewards? What do these long term teachers learn about specific communities & learning that benefit their students?

Three educators from across the country, in different educational environments were asked this same question. This post shares our answers. It was my honor to share insight from and with my fellow educators on this topic.



The Order of the Trees on Twitter

One of my favorite places to fit in a little writing each day is Twitter. Brief, pointed, and focused text– high engagement, low risk. I love it. Here’s what some folks have been saying about my new middle grade fiction book on Twitter:

The Order of the Trees (pre-orders open now)

TreesCover2 (2)

I am thrilled (and a bit nervous!) to announce that Green Writer’s Press, a homegrown, Vermont publisher with a focus on “authors who want to make the world a better place” will be publishing my first middle level/young adult novel in May. I couldn’t ask for a publisher that is more in line with the my values and this story. It makes me proud that the book will be printed on FSC certified recycled paper with soy based inks in the U.S.

The book is called The Order of the Trees– and is about Cedar, who was found as a baby under an old growth tree in the Vermont woods. This is the story of her sixth grade year, her first true friend, and how their fate is connected to the magical woods in which she was found.

The Order of the Trees is now available for pre-order through Amazon. If you order during the pre-order period and let me know (in the comments, on Facebook or Twitter) I would be happy to send you a previously unpublished short story about redemption on a junior high bus that was filled with spit balls, harassment and exclusion. This story created a forum for those who experienced similar traumatic events on junior high buses. Many found the story validating and I am so grateful for this as it has helped me to process this challenging time as well.

I couldn’t be more excited about my new publisher. Dede Cummings, literary agent and publisher, is a fireball of positivity and is bringing beautiful books to life this spring about sustainability, climate change, teaching and mindfulness. I am so excited to be included in this spring catalog. 

I’m so lucky that two of my favorite Vermont authors for young adults wrote blurbs for the book after reading advance copies: Rita Murphy, author of Night Flying, and Doug Wilhelm, author of The Revealer and many other books. I will share those soon.

I would be so grateful if you could ask for this book at your local library, bookstore, and school. It releases on May 1st and I will fill you in on other details as the date draws near!

Eat Non-Toxic: a manual for busy parents available now on Kindle!



Eat Non-Toxic: a manual for busy parents based on all that I have learned while blogging, researching, cooking, and parenting. It’s a guide for busy parents looking to limit their family’s exposure to chemicals and toxins in food and feeding gear. The manual is packed with practical and quick tips for parents, recipes, where to go for more information, and Cliff Notes for the most sleep deprived among us.


After BPA was banned in baby bottles and cups for children 2012 by the FDA (finally!), I wanted to update the information to include this and the latest research about the use of plastics in baby bottles, cups, and waterbottles. I also wanted to make sure all the links, research, and resources were up to date.


And then all of a sudden, I had a newly updated edition of the ebook! I uploaded it to Kindle and now it is on sale at Amazon. Already its gotten some wonderful reviews (thank you readers!).


If you have a Kindle, or an ipad (with the Kindle app) you can have the book delivered to you in less than a minute for 3.99. It is easy and fast!

15 Must Read Books on Education in the U.S.


I’m so thrilled to have my book, Why Great Teachers Quit and How We Might Stop the Exodus chosen for the Christian Science Monitor’s list of 15 Must Read Books on Education.


I have wonderful company…one of my heros, Jonathan Kozol, and other well known education writers and leaders such as Diane Ravich. I’m pleased to see several new voices on the list as well.


Thanks to the Christian Science Monitor for including the voices of real, practicing teachers who have an in the trenches perspective that is much needed in the national conversation about teaching.  Just yesterday, I led a workshop for teachers in New Hampshire and they voiced many of the themes in the book. All of them admitted to extreme frustration with the direction of teaching and education, and eagerly discussed possible solutions. These are the kind of voices we need at the policy making level.

6 Things Teachers Want Parents to Know (but may not tell them) As School Starts

It’s that busy time of year in the Northeast when teachers are in countless meetings, trainings, and in-sevice days, and in between setting up and cleaning their classrooms to get ready for students. In my own classroom, the nametags are on the hooks, the mailboxes and cubbies are labeled, and a hand-written welcome note, a bookmark, and a new pencil sits on each child’s desk.


As a teacher and a parent, I get a bird’s eye view of how teachers and parents can team up to provide the best education possible for a child. Here are a few things I think most teachers would want parents to know as the school year begins.


1. Share what you know! You are your child’s first and best teacher. You know what excites, frustrates, and inspires your child. Fill out any surveys sent home, and send in insights about your child via email or notes, or even a quick hallway chat. Teachers want to learn quickly how to best reach and teach your child.


2.  We are on the same team in the best interest of the child. I know it seems obvious, but starting conversations from the perspective of how we can best work together can be very powerful and productive. Amazing things can happen when parents and teachers team up. I’ve seen children make tremendous progress, gain confidence, and take on new challenges when teachers and parents communicate frequently and team up to support each other. Sometimes, we may have different perspectives and opinions, but teachers (like parents) want what is best for the child both emotionally and academically, and will work tirelessly for it.

Read the rest of this post at Fox News opinion

CNN School of Thought blog: 6 Ways to Retain Great Teachers

(Here is the first part of a post I wrote that recently published on CNN’s School of Thought blog. I was thrilled they contacted me to write an article about teacher retention based on the research for my book, Why Great Teachers Quit and How We Might Stop the Exodus.)

A big part of the national conversation about education is how to attract the best and brightest teachers to the profession. It is a favorite line of many a politician. While that is well and good, it seems that many policy makers and education experts are missing the point: how to keep good teachers in our nation’s classrooms once they are actually there.

With about one-third of our teachers leaving the profession in their first three years, and even higher turnover rates in some urban areas, this is a pressing issue in American education that isn’t getting much attention.

We have an anti-teacher climate that has only worsened since I wrote the book “Why Great Teachers Quit and How we Might Stop the Exodus.” Based on my interviews of teachers nationwide, I learned firsthand why teachers are quitting the profession in droves, and personally, I saw it happen to my friend and mentee.

Read the rest at CNN’s School of Thought blog.

Stop the Exodus (new article in Educational Leadership magazine)

Everyone seems to be talking about how to attract quality teachers to the profession.  This is absolutely important—but not many people are talking about how to provide a rich, supportive, engaging, and inspiring climate to help retain high quality teachers once they are working in America’s schools.

Why should we care about this?  With one in five teachers quitting in the first five years (NCTAF, 2003), and some early data showing these very teachers who quit are the ones with a higher measured ability (RAND 2004), this is a problem we can’t ignore.

Many of our schools have become institutions focused only on student achievement in the form of standardized tests—to the determent of the climate for students and teachers.

We need to make teaching a sustainable career, so that the people who enter this important profession can be challenged, supported, and empowered at every stage. With dwindling budgets, pressures from No Child Left Behind and an anti-teacher culture, making teaching more sustainable is not on anyone’s radar.

This has to change, because of course, the problems are interrelated.  Districts spend tens of thousands of dollars every year interviewing, hiring, and training teachers (Shockley, R., Guglielmino, P., & Watlington, E. 2006). With effort, planning, and a little more investment, schools can reduce attrition and improve the climate overall for students and teachers.

Read the complete edited version of this article in Educational Leadership magazine’s digital edition.

New Interview at Litworld

(March 7th, 2012  was World Read Aloud Day. I’m the WRAD advocate from Vermont, and planned all day activities to celebrate and support reading at my school.  I was interviewed by Litworld, the organization that coordinates World Read Aloud Day. Below is the post, followed by a link to the full interview.  Join us for this great event next year!)

Katy is a teacher, and she’s getting all her students involved in World Read Aloud Day. All this week, her sixth graders are creating bookmarks that support reading as a life changer.  They will sell these bookmarks on March 7-9, to support Litworld and global literacy. On World Read Aloud day, her class will read aloud to every elementary student at Rumney Memorial School throughout the day.

Read the whole post and interview here.

Eat Non-Toxic: a manual for busy parents by Katy Farber is released today!

(Eat Non-Toxic is now exclusively available on Amazon for Kindle!)

We all want to keep our kids safe from toxins and chemicals in food and feeding gear. Every day there seems to be a new report about what to eat, what not to eat, what to buy, what to avoid. It’s overwhelming for many new and tired parents!

Many of you don’t want to read scientific studies or lengthly articles. Who has time? You just want to know what to do keep your kids safe and healthy. Now. Yesterday, actually.

That’s what you’ll find in the new eBook, Eat Non-Toxic: A manual for busy parents, written by author, teacher, and the founder of the blog, Non-Toxic Kids, Katy Farber. In this book, you’ll find clear, useable, helpful steps for how to protect your family and the earth from the toxins and chemicals from food and feeding gear.

From Eat Non-Toxic, readers will:

1. Discover why you should avoid toxins in food and eating gear.

2. Learn the essentials for cutting your family’s exposure to chemicals.

3. Find real, practical, and usable tips and ideas feeding your family in a safe and healthy way.

4. Discover credible resources for more information.

5. Find trusted online retailers that feature safer, greener products for families.

6. Receive recipes and ideas for using more whole foods in your cooking.

7. Find background information about important environmental and safety issues.

8. Learn how to limit toxins in your family’s diet without huge costs, effort, or time.

This is officially launch day!  Woot!  For the next 4 days only, the manual will be priced at 25% off its regular price of 9.99.

This manual will help you simplify meal times, protect your children from unnecessary toxic exposures, eat healthier and lighter on the earth.

Please spread the word!