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A few weeks ago, I shared my favorite FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL read alouds = excellent books to kick off a brand new school year. You will be reading every single day in your classroom…here are some great books for making your school community more caring. Hopefully, after reading these books, you can have good conversations with your students about helping and understanding friends in the classroom, the school, and even into the larger community. Stories are powerful and by reading some of these books to your students, you will have a more beautiful and caring classroom, which will hopefully ripple out into the rest of the world! PS – You do not have to be a classroom teacher to read and share these books with kids! Read them at home with your own children!
Wonder and We Are All Wonders by R.J. Palacio. Wonder is a novel that I think everyone should read. It is the story of Auggie, a boy with a facial deformity. He has always been homeschooled, but is now going into public school for the first time. This story will make you cry and cheer and always “choose kind.” The novel is a perfect read aloud for 4th grade on up. We Are All Wonders is the picture book companion to Wonder and is an excellent read aloud for ALL grade levels. The picture book is basically about how we are all different and special and that we need to show kindness to one another. PS – the movie based on the book comes out in November!
Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney is a classic. It is the story of a woman who wants to do something to make the world more beautiful. Read this and then see what your students might be inspired to do in their community to make it more beautiful.
It is Okay to Be Different and Be Who You Are by Todd Parr. I cannot say enough how much I love Todd Parr’s books. They are simple with bright illustrations. Excellent read alouds for Pre-school/Kindergarten – 2nd grade. Great kick starters for conversations about being different and unique.
George by Alex Gino is a wonderful book for 4th grade on up. The main character is George, a transgender child who identifies with being a male, but is actually female. Read it first and decide for yourself how you would want to share this book with your students, but it is an excellent novel for children who can put themselves in George’s shoes.
The Dot by Peter Reynolds. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Peter Reynolds and I think The Dot is one of my most favorite books by him. It is all about learning how to make your mark. Do what you can to make the world a more beautiful place. So many extension activities with this book! Be sure to check out International Dot Day and have fun celebrating!
Red: A Crayon’s Story by Micheal Hall is a good book about just being yourself and about letting others be themselves. Great read aloud for all grade levels and an excellent conversation starter.
One by Kathryn Otoshi is about how one person (or number, in this case) can make a difference or “be the change.” Otoshi’s trilogy (Zero, One, and Two) are all excellent and belong in every classroom.
Wishtree by Kathryn Applegate – This book comes out September 26 and I think it needs to be read aloud in every 3rd – 5th grade classroom and even middle school and high school classrooms. So beautiful with an important story about acceptance and understanding.
Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena – Such a beautiful story with lovely illustrations about a young boy and his grandmother on a bus going to help others. The grandmother helps show the young boy all of the things in his city that are beautiful. Another one that belongs in every classroom.
What are some of your favorite books for community building and for showing readers how to make the world more beautiful?