By Kaitlin Johnstone

Our Favorite Back to School Books

Back to School Season is upon us and here are some of our favorites to ensure you start the school year off right!

Be intentional and inclusive in your class read alouds with these books:

Fresh Juice by Robert Liu-Trujillo is the story of a young boy who wants to help his father feel better when he is sick. After looking everywhere for the key ingredient, ginger, he realizes he needs help from his neighbors. The story and illustrations showcase the beauty of different families and how everyone can come together to help one another.

Salat in Secret by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow and Hatem Aly is the story of a young boy who receives his special salat rug for his seventh birthday, but is nervous to do one of his prayers during school hours. In the end, his teacher helps him find the perfect place.

Stacey’s Remarkable Books by Stacey Abrams in the companion text to her New York Time’s Best Seller, Stacey’s Extraordinary Words. In this story, Stacey’s class goes on a trip to the library and she realizes one of her friends is having trouble reading in English. Stacey starts to help her classmate and slowly everyone else jumps in!

Wallflowers by Mackenzie Joy is a beautiful book that celebrates shy children. It’s a beautiful reminder that you don’t have to be loud to be meaningful. Every wallflower deserves to grow.

Queen of Kindergarten by Derrick Barnes is the companion book to King of Kindergarten and it follows MJ as she embarks upon her first day of Kindergarten. Following the advice of her mom, she practices kindness by doing all things that a Queen would do.

Sam’s Super Seats by Keah Brown celebrates the beauty of self-love, the power of rest, and the necessity of accessible seating in public spaces. This book also includes narrative description of art for those with low/limited vision.

Ways to Welcome by Linda Ashman and illustrated by Joey Chou is a lyrical rhyming text about the power of random acts of kindness.

Amy Wu and the Warm Welcome by Kat Zhang is a great book to read when you have a new student. Follow along as Amy does everything in her power to make the new student in her class from China feel comfortable and welcomed.

Light for All by Margarita Engel celebrates the contributions of immigrants in our country and focuses on the importance of appreciating all people.

Beautifully Me by Nubela Noor celebrates a Bangladesh girl who believes in body positivity and everyone loving the body that they are in.

You Matter by Christian Robinson is a go to read aloud for the beginning of the year that reminds all children of their worth. You matter empowers children to be who they are.

A New Kind of Wild by Zara Gonzales Hoang is an incredible debut picture book that takes the reader on an imaginative exploration into what home means.

Our Class is a Family by Shannon Olsen is the perfect way to start the school year. Throughout the story, children learn that your classroom is a safe, loving community to be a part of.

Your Name is a Song by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow is a reminder of the beauty and power behind the story of names. After a long day of teachers and students mispronouncing her name, a little girl tells her mom she doesn’t want to go back to school. Her mother teaches her the story of her name through song.

The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson is a story that empowers young children to live freely and bravely. There will be times when you walk into a room and no one there is quite like you. This book teaches children to walk in proudly.

I Got the School Spirit by Connie Schofield-Morrison is an upbeat story that encompasses all 5 senses as a young girl heads off to her first day of school. She hears the school spirit in the bus driving up the street–VROOM, VROOM!–and in the bell sounding in the halls–RING-A-DING! 

What Riley Wore, by Elana K. Arnold is refreshing tale of acceptance. On the first day of school, Riley wears a bunny outfit. Riley, who is never gendered, wears various outfits that elicit praise from students, teacher, and others. When another child asks, “Are you a girl or a boy?” Riley simply answers, “Today I’m a firefighter.

Heather Has Two Mommies by Lesléa Newman is a great book to start the year by showcasing all different family dynamics. There are thousands of wonderful, inclusive books out there to start the school year.

These are just a few of our favorites. Check out our other blogs for more recommendations!

1 comment

  • There are so many picture books out there and sometimes it can be overwhelming trying to find one that my daughter will really enjoy (and learn from). I am so pleased I came across this list – I think books about school experiences or working/playing together with other children is always an important read. I was recently told about a children’s picture book series that my daughter and I read together, and I think it 100% fits this category. It’s called, “The Garden Scouts: Buzzing With Love” by Rachael Hartzell. From adorable illustrations to really fun characters I think this book teaches empathy, the power of determination and other valuable life lessons in a wonderful way. The main characters, Kiki and Rhino, an unlikely bug duo, are hoping to earn their “Honor Crown Pin” from Garden Scouts (and Kiki is really hoping to make a new friend or two). I can’t wait for the rest of the series to become available! Here is the website if you want to check it out – – I think it’s definitely worthy of making a future list! Happy reading parents!

    Nancy A on

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