back-to-school-books
Twenty Books for the First Week of School

Hey y'all! I know summer is just getting started, but that's no reason why we can't start looking at new books! I absolutely love sharing new books with my class and the first week of school is the perfect time to get that started. Here are a few of my favorites, both new and classic titles.
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1. The Kissing Hand
This is a favorite book for incoming kindergarteners. Many are afraid to leave mom and dad for the first time and "big kid" school can seem a little scary. My kindergarten team and I read this book and did Kissing Hand activities the whole first week of school to calm our littles' nerves.


2. Be Big!
Beatrice is going to her first day of first grade and is nervous about being her true self. But her friend Benjamin assures her that being herself is totally okay. It makes sense to read this on the first day of first grade, but my second graders also loved this book. And end of the year kindergarteners may enjoy it before transitioning into the summer.


3. First Day Jitters
Everyone is a little nervous on the first day of school. Surprise your second or third graders with this sweet book about how everyone can be a little nervous, even teachers.


4. There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Books
We read the Old Lady books all through the school year. This is the first in the series that we read together and is a great introduction to shared reading as students quickly pick up the pattern and are eager to read along.


5. School's First Day of School
Everyone has jitters on the first day of school. But can the building be nervous too? This book is great for primary aged students settling in to their first big day.


6. Pete The Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes
Your kindergarten and first grade students will love rocking the new school year with everyone's favorite cat. Pete does a great job introducing the different rooms in a school, which leads us straight into our tour of the building.


7. All Are Welcome
Our schools are becoming more and more diverse every year. All Are Welcome is a fantastic story about acceptance differences and being kind towards others. This will definitely be a first week book for many years to come.


8. The Day You Begin
We all need help feeling safe and secure in our new classroom. The Day You Begin is a beautifully illustrated book showing the value of being you, even when it might you a little nervous.


9. Be Kind
We spend A LOT of time at the beginning of the year setting behavior expectations and discussing what is and is not okay to do at school. Be Kind is an excellent introduction to what kindness is and how we can show it at school. We read this at the beginning of the year, and we re-read it every time we begin to forget about being kind to each other.


10. The Name Jar
Being the new kid can be scary--especially when no one can say your name. The Name Jar celebrates the uniqueness of each person's name and reiterates the fact that we are all special and should be celebrated.


11. Alma and How She Got Her Name
Along the lines of The Name Jar, Alma has a really long name. Throughout the book, Alma discovers the meaning of each of her six names and how special it really is. This book is another great story about accepting you for you without trying to change you into something else.


12. I Walk With Vanessa
This wordless picture book teaches about compassion and standing up to bullies. It's great for setting the tone at the beginning of the year that our class takes care of each other and we won't have anyone bullying anyone else. My littles LOVE to "read" this book together and tell the story to their neighbors.


13. The Crayon Box That Talked
I love reading this one to my kindergarten and first grade classes at the beginning of the year. (It's also good for MLK Day!) Not everyone has the same talents or does the same things, but it's important to celebrate everyone in our class.


14. How to Get Your Teacher Ready
Adults and children alike will love this sweet story about how a class gets their teacher ready for the school year. You will be laughing along with your students as you build a classroom community that is student-centered.


15. The Recess Queen
A bullying tale at its finest, The Recess Queen is a great introduction to appropriate playground behavior. Mean Jean comes by her name honestly, but the new kid in town puts a stop this foolishness right away. We read this book just before going over playground rules and expectations.


16. Eraser
Eraser is a super cute book about discovering your talents and using them to help others. Eraser isn't appreciated by all the other school supplies, but when she finds out her true talent, it makes a world of difference for her.


17. Stick and Stone
This sweet little book is perfect for kindergarten and first grade, but even my second and third graders liked it. It's about a stick and a stone that each need a friend and how they helped each other out during a tough time. It's a great conversation starter about how friends should treat each other.


18. Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day
This one is a classic, but I read it every year to introduce our classroom's cool down spot, aka "Australia." We talk about how not every day is fantastic and it's okay to need a break to regroup. We go over expectations for this space and when appropriate times and reasons are for using it. This book is the perfect introduction since Alexander has such a tough day and needs a break of his own.


19. Nerdy Birdy
You may have already seen this little gem. And if you're like me, you can probably relate to it pretty well. Nerdy Birdy is trying to fit in with the "cool kids" and thinks he's found his group. But he later finds out that his new group is just as judgmental as the "cool kids." This is a great book about being true to yourself and being kind to others. If you have some cliques in your classroom, this book is great for addressing it.


20. I Am Human
Peter Reynolds is a genius and I Am Human is just as beautiful as his other books. This simple story lets students know that it's okay to make mistakes and you don't have to be prefect all the time. We read this story when we're setting the tone for trying our best and showing perseverance when things are challenging.



And two new bonus books!
The Pigeon is a favorite in our classroom and when Mo Willems's newest book came out, I knew I had to get it. The Pigeon is nervous about starting school and needs some reassurance about how things are going to go. This book is a fabulous first book to read this year and is a perfect introduction to checking students' internal weather (aka feelings check-in). 


22. We Don't Eat Our Classmates
This is my new go to for introducing classroom expectations. It's also great for talking about the Golden Rule. Penelope Rex learns through trial and error that making friends comes easier when you are nice to them and don't eat them. There are so many great talking points in this story and your students are sure to love it.


I love all of these books and read as many of them as I can each year without creating overkill. I hope you found some new favorites to start off next year with. Thanks for stopping by and check back soon for more ideas and resources.

Stay cozy,