I love back to school time. When I was a child there was a great tree in our yard in our home in New York. It was almost like a weeping willow but had flowering branches that reached the ground (note to self; find out what kind of tree). Every year my elementary school would have a textbook sale at the end of the school year and I would buy the most random text books for 10 cents. Then over the summer when the tree bloomed, it officially became my classroom.
Now my tree is Amazon and books are not 10 cents but 10 dollars, but it still feels the same.
Even though things are still up in the air to whether my school will open or not. I’m still adding to my back to school list and I’ve put together some of my favorite book finds to share with you today. All of these books are great for young readers (though some are on the longer side for read alouds) and are inclusive. I also found some fun germ related books and because it’s 2020, let’s do this.
What Riley Wore by Elana K. Arnold
Gender-creative Riley knows just what to wear for every occasion during a busy week with family and friends in this sweet and timely picture book from Elana K. Arnold and Linda Davick.
Riley wears whatever clothes feel right each day. On Monday, Riley feels shy and wears a bunny costume to school. On Tuesday, a scary trip to the dentist calls for a super hero cape. For a trip out with Otto and Oma, a ball gown is the perfect outfit.
The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson
National Book Award winner Jacqueline Woodson and two-time Pura Belpré Illustrator Award winner Rafael López have teamed up to create a poignant, yet heartening book about finding courage to connect, even when you feel scared and alone.
There will be times when you walk into a room
and no one there is quite like you.
There are many reasons to feel different. Maybe it’s how you look or talk, or where you’re from; maybe it’s what you eat, or something just as random. It’s not easy to take those first steps into a place where nobody really knows you yet, but somehow you do it.
Do Not Lick This Book by Idan Ben-Barack
In this interactive children’s picture book, microbiologist Idan Ben-Barak and award-winning illustrator Julian Frost zoom in on the microscopic world found on everyday objects―and in our bodies―warning readers Do Not Lick This Book.
Min is a microbe. She is small.
In fact, so small that you’d need to look through a microscope to see her. Or you can simply open this book and take Min on an adventure to amazing places she’s never seen before―like the icy glaciers of your tooth or the twisted, tangled jungle of your shirt.
Germs Vs. Soap by Didi Dragon
You know who really doesn’t want you to wash your hands? Germs.
Germs vs. Soap shows children (and adults) the secret world of germs and how much germs absolutely, positively do NOT like soap. In fact, these germs will do anything to trick kids into not washing their hands with soap because it’s the one thing standing between them and their beloved energy cupcakes. And all they want is to gobble up all the energy cupcakes humans have to offer and then spread to eat some more. But only if soap doesn’t get in the way. Otherwise, it’s all down the drain for them.
Our Class is a Family by Shannon Olsen
Teachers do so much more than just teach academics. They build a sense of community within their classrooms, creating a home away from home where they make their students feel safe, included, and loved.
With its heartfelt message and colorfully whimsical illustrations, “Our Class is a Family” is a book that will help build and strengthen that class community. Kids learn that their classroom is a place where it’s safe to be themselves, it’s okay to make mistakes, and it’s important to be a friend to others.
All Welcome Here by James Preller
With gorgeous multimedia paintings-and-collages by acclaimed artist Mary GrandPre, James Preller’s All Welcome Here promises to be an evergreen gift picture book for children about to take the big leap into their first days of school.
The Colors of Us by Karen Katz
A positive and affirming look at skin color, from an artist’s perspective.
Seven-year-old Lena is going to paint a picture of herself. She wants to use brown paint for her skin. But when she and her mother take a walk through the neighborhood, Lena learns that brown comes in many different shades.
Through the eyes of a little girl who begins to see her familiar world in a new way, this book celebrates the differences and similarities that connect all people.
Karen Katz created this book for her daughter, Lena, whom she and her husband adopted from Guatemala six years ago.
The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi
The new kid in school needs a new name! Or does she?
Being the new kid in school is hard enough, but what about when nobody can pronounce your name? Having just moved from Korea, Unhei is anxious that American kids will like her. So instead of introducing herself on the first day of school, she tells the class that she will choose a name by the following week. Her new classmates are fascinated by this no-name girl and decide to help out by filling a glass jar with names for her to pick from.
Your Name is a Song by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow
Frustrated by a day full of teachers and classmates mispronouncing her beautiful name, a little girl tells her mother she never wants to come back to school. In response, the girl’s mother teaches her about the musicality of African, Asian, Black-American, Latinx, and Middle Eastern names on their lyrical walk home through the city. Empowered by this newfound understanding, the young girl is ready to return the next day to share her knowledge with her class. Your Name is a Song is a celebration to remind all of us about the beauty, history, and magic behind names.
You Matter by Christian RobinsonIn this full, bright, and beautiful picture book, many different perspectives around the world are deftly and empathetically explored—from a pair of bird-watchers to the pigeons they’re feeding. Young readers will be drawn into the luminous illustrations inviting them to engage with the world in a new way and see how everyone is connected, and that everyone matters.
All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold
Join the call for a better world with this New York Times bestselling picture book about a school where diversity and inclusion are celebrated.
Discover a school where—no matter what—young children have a place, have a space, and are loved and appreciated.
Follow a group of children through a day in their school, where everyone is welcomed with open arms. A school where students from all backgrounds learn from and celebrate each other’s traditions. A school that shows the world as we will make it to be.
Lucy’s Mask by Lisa Sirkis Thompson
Suddenly, masks are everywhere. Are your kids confused and anxious about wearing a mask? Lucy’s world turned upside down. She’s bored. She can’t be together with her friends. But when she finds out her mom is making her a new mask her boredom turns into excitement. Lucy loves masks! She dives into her toy box full of costumes and opens a world of imagination and make-believe adventure, far beyond the walls of her room. Of course, she doesn’t realize that the mask her mom is making is not a costume at all but one that will keep her safe and make her a real-life superhero.
I hope this list helps you add to your home or classroom! I’d love to know what new books you have been reading lately!