This year, for so many reasons, kids need to feel the safety of the classroom community more than ever. And, of course, whether your students are Zooming or social distancing, creating community will be extra challenging. Here are some books to help you get started.
The Big Umbrella by Amy June Bates and Juniper Bates
Published by Simon and Schuster
This umbrella is big enough to cover everyone. A quick read, great illustrations, and a diverse cast of characters get the conversation on inclusion rolling. Buy it on Amazon.
The Buddy Bench by Patty Brozo
Published by Tilbury House Publishers
What happens when kids are being left out at recess? This class has a solution: build a buddy bench. When you see someone sitting on the bench, you know they’re looking for a friend. Buy it on Amazon.
The Cool Bean by John Jory
Published by HarperCollins
In this school, the cool kids are also kind, and the bean who’s been feeling kind of uncool appreciates it. Buy it on Amazon.
The Many Colors of Harpreet Singh by Supriya Kelkar
Published by Sterling Children’s Books
Harpreet dresses according to his moods, and a new school has him wearing white every day, trying to fade into the background. But a new friendship helps him start dressing in all the colors of the rainbow again. Buy it on Amazon.
I Walk With Vanessa: A Story About a Simple Act of Kindness by Kerascoet
Published by Schwartz & Wade
The girl in this wordless story has to figure out what to do when she sees new girl Vanessa getting picked on. The whole school ends up coming together to put an end to the bullying. Buy it on Amazon.
Be Kind by Pat Zietlow Miller
Published by Roaring Brook Press
After her friendly overtures are rebuffed, a girl reflects on what it means to be kind. Buy it on Amazon.
All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Rhyming text and busy illustrations show a diverse classroom of children and families coming together to form a community. Buy it on Amazon.
Say Something! by Peter H. Reynolds
Published by Orchard Books
“Some people find it easier to say something than others. But everyone has something to say.” Encourages extroverts and introverts alike to express themselves in a variety of ways. Look for Reynolds’ newest book Be You! Buy it on Amazon.
You Matter by Christian Reynolds
Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Even when you feel small, insignificant, or lost, you matter. A quick and reassuring read for every member of the group. Buy it on Amazon.
The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson
Published by Nancy Paulsen Books
Four kids feel a little strange on the first day of school, but as time goes on, they start to connect and feel okay about what makes them unique. Buy it on Amazon.