3 Community Building Picture Books To Kick Off Your School Year

picture books to build community

If you are like me, you read many, many picture books during the first few weeks of school to settle into new routines and discuss the new school year’s expectations. What better way to build relationships than by getting cozy with your new students in your freshly organized classroom library and discussing exciting new books?  Picture books are a great way to begin discussions about your classroom community, too. Creating a classroom atmosphere where students feel safe to take risks and feel a sense of belonging is always my goal not just for back to school season, but for the entire school year.  The picture books listed below are my go to books that I love to read with my new students to begin creating a strong classroom community. These three books allow for meaningful discussions, role playing activities and carry similar themes. What I love about each of these books is that they have a main character who changes throughout the story, allowing for comparing and contrasting of not just the stories, but the characters, too.


Weslandia Written by: Paul Fleischman

This is one of my favorite books to read and refer back to all year long. This book is about a boy who feels like he doesn’t fit in with his peers and is strong enough to not be a follower to all the current trends. Instead he begins his own land where he is free to be himself.  The land he creates reflects his interests and his unique personality. He finds out that by being himself, he ends up with more friends than he could imagine. A fun follow up activity is for students to create their own land based on their interests and unique personalities. This is a great way for students to get to know one another, too. This is a definite must read!

picture books to build community

One Written by: Kathryn Otoshi

This book is filled with many metaphors, but truly perfect for any grade level. The main character of this book is Blue, who normally likes himself, except when hot headed Red is around. With the backing of  his colorful friends and a new friend too, Blue has the courage to stand up to Red. This book offers the opportunity to discuss how students can work together to look out for one another in your budding new classroom community. This cleverly written book will become your new favorite back to school read aloud!

picture books to build community

The Invisible Boy Written by: Trudy Ludwig

This book is about a quiet boy named Brian who literally feels invisible everywhere he goes at school. The illustrations are amazing, with colors that reflect how Brian is feeling. When Brian is feeling invisible he is drawn in black and white. Brian becomes more colorful as his feelings change and he becomes visible to his peers at school. This story is very relatable allowing students to make connections on each and every page.

These stories can easily be compared and contrasted by students in small groups after reading them all aloud. Grab some great discussion questions and student writing activities to use with these books for FREE HERE.

These three picture books are a great way to kick off your classroom discussions about your new classroom community. You can continue to have discussions about the community you have created in your classroom by revisiting these books throughout the year. What books do you like to read to encourage classroom community building?

picture books to build community

picture books to build communityLooking to continue to discuss classroom community in your classroom each day? These quotes are a great way to engage students in discussing important themes like kindness, friendships and of course community building! See more information HERE.

Interested in reading easy and fun strategies to bring kindness into your classroom? Click HERE.

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