Best Back to School Books and Activities

Back to School Season is such a fun and exciting time in the school year! It’s also a great time for the class to get…

Back to School Season is such a fun and exciting time in the school year! It’s also a great time for the class to get to know each other and begin building trust, relationships, and community! Below are my recommendations along with activities that are perfect for the K-2nd classroom!

Click on the images or links below to add the books to your classroom library!

All Are Welcome by Alexander Penfold & Illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman- This sweet lyrical book paired with adorable illustrations reminds students that everyone is welcome at school and ALL are loved and celebrated when they walk through the doors!

Our Class is a Family by Shannon Olsen & Illustrated by Sandie Sonke- Written as rhyming poem, this book invites students into a loving and caring classroom that is just like a FAMILY whose members are loved and cared for. The illustrations are also so cute and heartwarming!

First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg & Illustrated by Judy Love- It’s the first day of school and Sarah is having trouble getting out of bed and getting ready for school. She struggles until she makes it to school and the principal shows her her classroom. Read to the very end to find a fun surprise that your students will love and beg to read again! It’s also a great book to use for making predictions!

David Goes to School by David Shannon- Help students set the rules for the classroom by following David to school as he learns the ins and outs of what to do and what not to do. This is so sweet and is definitely a must-read and a classic!

Where Are You From? by Yamile Saied Mendez & Illustrated by Jaime Kim – A little girl comes home from school confused because her classmates keep asking her where she is from. After a walk home with her grandpa, she learns and realizes her rich family history and where she is truly from.

The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi Unhei just moved to Korea to America and is nervous that the children in her class won’t be able to pronounce her name. Instead of telling them her name, she said that she will choose another name and tell them the following week. Her classmates try to help by writing name suggestions on a sheets of paper and putting them in a jar for her. Suddenly, the jar goes missing and she learns that the best name for her may already be hers already.

Where Wildflowers Grow by Ha Dinh & Illustrated by Bao Luu-Uprooted from Vietnam, young Ha lives in a refugee camp with her family in the Philippines as they wait to be sponsored to America. She loves her teacher, best friend, and the wildflowers that they pick daily on their way to school. But today is Moving Day, and everyone is excited but Ha. Will she be able to say goodbye, embrace hope in new beginnings, and continue to grow like the wildflowers that she loves?

Your Name is a Song by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow & Illustrated by Luisa Uribe- A little girl is sad and frustrated that her name is not pronounced correctly at school. When her mom picks her up after school, she shares her frustrations but then realizes that how special and beautiful her name and many others are when they are spoken from their heart and sung like a song. Not only is this story important, its illustrations are colorful, beautiful, and really draw students’ attention to the message of the story.

The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn & Illustrated by Ruth E. Harper and Nancy M. Leak- This book is truly a classic and one that really hits home for young children who are starting school and missing their loved ones at home. Follow along as Chester the Raccoon finds strength and courage to go to school by remembering and carrying the love that his mom left for him in his palm. This story feels like a great big hug for students!

Wimberly Worried by Kevin Henkes- Wimberly spends most of her days and nights worrying about little things, big things, and all the things in between. Her worrying increases as she starts school, but she meets a new friend and learns to cast her worries aside.

Pete the Cat: Rocking in My New School Shoes by Eric Litwin & Illustrated by James Dean- Pete is a beloved and whimsical cat who goes to school and shows young readers all the fun things that he can do at in his new school shoes. With confidence of a rockstar, Pete the Cat makes going to school cool and fun!

We’re All Wonders by RJ Palacio- Based on the novel, WONDER, this story follows Auggie, a little boy who feels self-conscious because of his facial features but discovers that everyone is extraordinary and wonderful in their own way, including him.

Be You by Peter H. Reynolds A beautiful and lyrical book to remind us that we are all born to do great things, big things, amazing things for ourselves and for others. But the most important thing for us to be always is to be ourselves.

What Does It Mean to Be Kind? by Rana DiOrio and illustrated by Stephane Jorisch- This book is perfect for the beginning of the year as it reminds students what being kind looks like, feels like, and sounds like. It’s poetic and helps young children understand the importance and power of being kind to themselves and each other.

I Am Enough by Grace Byers & Illustrated by Keturah A. Bobo- Build your students’ confidence and remind them how special and loved they are in your classroom at the beginning of the year with this beautiful and lyrical book. Filled with encouraging reminders, students will love to read this story and see the gorgeous illustrations one every single page. It’s definitely one of our class’ favorites!

The Raft by Jim LaMarche- Nicki doesn’t think he won’t have a good time in Wisconsin with his grandmother who lives in the woods. One day Nicki spots a raft drifting from the river, which then encourages him to explore the beautiful natural world around him. With a river rat as his new friend and a bit of imagination, Nicki finds himself immersed in wildlife of the river and connected to his grandmother in a way that he never thought possible. This is a wonderful book with breathtaking illustrations to help your students think about to their own adventures during summer break.

The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson & Illustrated by Rafael Lopez- This story reminds readers that somethings you may feel like an outsider walking into something unknown. Sometimes you may feel different and like you don’t belong, but always remember to have courage and learn to connect with others and you will see that it’s all part of a journey that will grow you and make you YOU!

If you need activities to go along with these beautiful books, check out the activities below.

Check out these activities for 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade too!

To add these books to your classroom library, click on the image below!

For more Back to School Resources, click on the images below!