Back to School Picture Books Perfect to Create an Inclusive Classroom

back to school picture books upper elementary


So many books, so little time!

The list of back to school read alouds is endless.

Picking the perfect back to school read aloud can be a difficult decision. The books that you read at the beginning of the school year set the tone for the year ahead and the classroom community that you are building.

I love using picture books with themes of kindness, self-worth, community, diversity, acceptance, and empathy at the beginning of the year. I want our very first conversations as a community to be about the topics that will shape our classroom climate for the year.

Start your school year with these read alouds to welcome students and you will set the tone for a positive and inclusive school year. Be sure to grab the free coordinating activities to use with each book at the bottom of this post.



Back to School Picture Books Perfect to Create an Inclusive Classroom


Just Ask written by Sonia Sotomayor


Make this the very first read aloud of your school year! This book follows Sonia as she meets new kids, all of whom have something unique and different about them, like a food allergy or is deaf. She encourages readers to "just ask" when they notice someone different. I love the questions on each page to help get kids engaged in meaningful discussions about how we are all different but have many things in common. Perfect to build a positive and inclusive classroom community.




ruby finds a worry read aloud activity


Ruby Finds a Worry written by Tom Percival


I love this book for any time of the year, but especially during back to school season. This book tells the story of Ruby who is trying to shake her worries. After trying to ignore her feelings, she realizes that she needs to face her worries and is able to do that with a little help from a friend. Back to school time is a time of worries for many kids. Through this read aloud, students are easily encouraged to share their worries and fears and take comfort in knowing that they are not alone in how they are feeling. Be sure to grab the free coordinating activities to use with each book at the bottom of this post.


Back to School Picture Books Perfect to Create an Inclusive Classroom

Be You written by Peter H. Reynolds

I love all the books written by Peter H. Reynolds, especially this one! This book is a powerful and motivational book to uplift and inspire your students to be true to themselves. With easy to read text you will want to visit this book often throughout the year. A simple follow up to a read aloud of this book is to have students share one thing that they love about themselves. This is perfect to not only have students get to know one another during the first weeks of school, but also to empower students to be who they are.



Back to School Picture Books Perfect to Create an Inclusive Classroom


You Matter written by Christian Robinson

The book You Matter by Christian Robinson is truly an inspirational book for any age. I even felt extremely inspired and that I matter after reading this book. The book simply reminds the reader how important and valuable they are, a message I want my students to hear over and over throughout the year. And bonus, the beautiful illustrations capture diverse children all together, showing that everyone regardless of race or ability matters in your classroom. This will be your new favorite back to school read aloud for years to come. Be sure to grab the free coordinating activities to use with each book at the bottom of this post.



Back to School Picture Books Perfect to Create an Inclusive Classroom


All Are Welcome written by Alexandra Penfold

This book can be read year after year in every classroom. Sometimes we want to read a book that students have not heard. But the very popular book All Are Welcome, written by Alexandra Penfold is one that students need to hear each and every year. It follows a diverse class of students as they learn and grow together, celebrating each child's culture and uniqueness. It is a great book to read to welcome your kids into your classroom and to teach students acceptance and the power of inclusion.



Back to School Picture Books Perfect to Create an Inclusive Classroom


Lone Wolf  written by Sarah Kurpiel

If you value the power of building a strong classroom community, this is the read aloud for you! Lone Wolf, written by Sarah Kurpiel tells the story of Maple, the Parker family dog who is Husky but is often mistaken for a wolf. Maple begins to second guess herself as a house dog and wanders off on her looking to find her true identity. In the end, Maple ends up back home and realizes who she really is and that she is part of the best pack around. With adorable illustrations that offer many teaching points this book is perfect to discuss the value of each student as both an individual and as a part of your classroom community. I LOVE this one! Be sure to grab the free coordinating activities to use with each book at the bottom of this post.



Back to School Picture Books Perfect to Create an Inclusive Classroom


Same, Same But Different written by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw


Bust out the Venn diagrams for a fun interactive reading of this book! This book follows two young pen pals, one that lives in America and one that lives in India as they learn about each other and how they are the same, but different. This book is perfect to celebrate each other's differences and how to recognize how we are the same. This book is a great way to invite students to share their own culture with their new classmates.


These back to school books will not only become your new favorites, but they will begin powerful conversations in your classroom community and help your students to feel accepted for who they are. Continue important conversations in your classroom with some of my favorite kindness books, too.


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Back to School Picture Books Perfect to Create an Inclusive Classroom




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