Read-aloud books are a great way to encourage class discussions, teach students to feel comfortable sharing, and help you and your students establish which values will define your class’s identity.
I love reading and sharing picture books. The stories model important skills and problem-solving techniques. Kids relate to the characters and imagine themselves in their shoes. Each book on this list tackles an important topic from the way we feel, the way we behave, and the way we treat others.
I have created a list of books that we read in the first week of school. My goal is that these stories can help your students go into this new year with confidence.
Each book title links to Amazon just to make it easy – you can read reviews, a summary, and order should you choose! (This post contains affiliate links.) If you purchase using this link, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. I have placed these links for your convenience, but you can find many of these books at your public or school libraries.
Back To School Books
All Are Welcome– by Alexandra Penfold
This book does a beautiful job of promoting diversity, inclusivity, and kindness. In this story, readers will get an up-close look at a school where the students come from all walks of life…children from different ethnicities and cultures; children with different religious beliefs and celebrations; children with different abilities. This story lets young children know that no matter what, they have a place, they have a safe space, and they are welcome in school!
Our Class is a Family– by Shannon Olsen Illustrated by: Sandie Sonke
I absolutely love this book! I think it is a must-have for every classroom. It shares the message of a kind and caring classroom community where everyone can learn and grow together. Kids learn that their classroom is a place where they can be themselves.
Your Name is a Song– by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow
This book is all about celebrating the beauty of how different and unique each of our names is.
To give my students practice with their names and their classmates I created these build-a-name sheets. I put them in a dry erase sleeve so they can be traced with dry-erase markers and built on.
My students LOVED working with these sheets and also wanted to build all their classmate's names too!
You can grab this template with a few different fonts by clicking here
The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson and illustrated by Rafael Lopez
Another must-have book about the power of one’s voice and the friendships that emerge when you are yourself. The Day You Begin tells the story of a young girl who walks into a new classroom and finds no one like her. But then she sits down, her classmates begin talking, and as their words fill the air, shared sentiments become bridges to building a connection.
King of Kindergarten–by Derrick Banes and Vanessa Brantley-Newton
A “day in the life of a Kindergartener” style book, with the main character going through a typical day of school. He wakes up and has breakfast, then heads off to school facing each challenge with enthusiasm and confidence. After this book, we talk about what our daily schedule looks like and how it compares to the character in the book.
First Day Jitters–by Julie Danneberg
Another one of my personal favorites as both a mom and a teacher. You follow Sarah through her first-day jitters only to be surprised at the end that she is the teacher. A very cute story and it's wonderful for kids to know they aren't the only ones who experience first-day jitters.
Treat others like you want to be treated!
We Don’t Eat Our Classmates-by Ryan T. Higgins
This book is a giggle-worthy read-aloud that will help kids learn to treat others the way they want to be treated. It’s an excellent book to include during the first week of school when discussing making new friends. We use this book to start off our conversations about how to treat classmates with our Making Good Choices activity. I just adore that little dino!
The Pigeon Has To Go To School– by Mo Willems
In his classic quirky way, Pigeon has come up with every excuse in the book to not go to school. But he has to. Whether your kid is enthusiastic to try school or they’re as reluctant as Pigeon himself, this will be a funny book that will bring on laughter!
David goes to school– by David Shannon
This story is sure to elicit a few laughs and start a nice discussion about rule-breaking. This silly story follows the trouble-making David as he goes to school and causes trouble with his antics. I use this story as a starting point for us to create our classroom rules. Using our classroom rules posters students create what they think the expectation should be in our classroom.
Be sure to click on any of the books above to view them on Amazon. Most books you can have within a few days.
Pin this post for later!
If you need a few ideas for the First Day of School check out this post.