Books by Theme

Welcome to School, Friend!

A Friend Like Simon

A Friend Like Simon

By: Kate Gaynot
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

When an autistic child joins a mainstream school, many children can find it difficult to understand and cope with a student that is somewhat ‘different’ to them. This story encourages other children to be mindful and patient of the differences that exist and to also appreciate the positive contribution that an autistic child can make to the group.

A New School Year: Stories in Six Voices

A New School Year: Stories in Six Voices

By: Sally Derby
Illustrated by: Mika Song
Genre: Poetry
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Meet a diverse group of six children ranging in age from Kindergarten through fifth grade. With nerves and excitement each child gears up for a new school year by hustling in the morning, meeting new teachers and new classmates during the day, and heading home with homework and relief by day’s end. Simple, bright illustrations focus on each child and their worries, hopes, and successes on the first day of school.

All Are Welcome

All Are Welcome

By: Alexandra Penfold
Illustrated by: Suzanne Kaufman
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

A lively neighborhood school (inspired by the one attended by illustrator’s daughter) welcomes its diverse students at the start of a school year, proclaiming that all are welcome! Joy-filled, colorful, engaging paintings combine with brief, rhyming text to celebrate children and families coming together to learn and share.

Ally-saurus and the First Day of School

Ally-saurus and the First Day of School

By: Richard Torrey
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Ally, a great dinosaur aficionado, has first day jitters — but then so do the other imaginative kids in kindergarten. They come together and learn they actually have a great deal in common, including ways to create new adventures.

Danbi Leads the School Parade

Danbi Leads the School Parade

By: Anna Kim
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Danbi is thrilled to start her new school in America. But a bit nervous too, for when she walks into the classroom, everything goes quiet. Everyone stares. Danbi wants to join in the dances and the games, but she doesn't know the rules and just can't get anything right. With a spark of imagination, she makes up a new game and leads her classmates on a parade to remember.

Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten?

Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten?

By: Audrey Vernick
Illustrated by: Daniel Jennewein
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

A girl with ponytails takes her buffalo to school, and as one might guess, the buffalo doesn't respond quite the same as everyone else. But the buffalo learns about individuality and respect just like the children starting kindergarten will. Cartoon illustrations enhance the silliness of the sincere message.

Ming Goes to School

Ming Goes to School

By: Deirdre Sullivan
Illustrated by: Maja Löfdahl
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

A gentle story about the everyday discoveries and accomplishments that school can bring. Ming is curious and playful and ready for adventure, but even she gets scared of new things sometimes. Kids will relate to her desires and fears and will be excited to see Ming at the top of the slide by the story’s end.

Moony Luna

Moony Luna

By: Jorge Argueta
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Five-year-old Luna is afraid she'll find monsters at her new school until a kind teacher and her new classmates show her that she has nothing to fear in this touching bilingual story.

Our Class Is a Family

Our Class Is a Family

By: Shannon Olsen
Illustrated by: Sandie Sonke
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Teachers build a sense of community within their classrooms, creating a home away from home where they make their students feel safe, included, and loved. This 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. 

Our Favorite Day of the Year

Our Favorite Day of the Year

By: A. E. Ali
Illustrated by: Rahele Jomepour Bell
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Musa's feeling nervous about his first day of school. He's not used to being away from home and he doesn't know any of the other kids in his class. And when he meets classmates Moisés, Mo, and Kevin, Musa isn't sure they'll have much in common. But over the course of the year, the four boys learn more about each other, the holidays they celebrate, their favorite foods, and what they like about school. The more they share with each other, the closer they become, until Musa can't imagine any better friends.

Pedro's Whale

Pedro’s Whale

By: Paula Kluth
Illustrated by: Justin Canha
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Pedro, a young boy who loves whales more than anything, is heartbroken when he's told to put away his favorite toy whale on the first day of school. But then Pedro's teacher discovers the secret to helping him do his best work: not only giving him his whale, but also incorporating his special interest into the whole curriculum. Soon, Pedro's whale is helping all the children learn, as the teacher works whales into math lessons, storytime, simple science experiments, and more! Pedro's whale helps him make friends, too, as the other children start to share his special interest. 

School’s First Day of School

School’s First Day of School

By: Adam Rex
Illustrated by: Christian Robinson
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

It's the first day of school at Frederick Douglass Elementary and everyone's just a little bit nervous, especially the school itself. What will the children do once they come? Will they like the school? Will they be nice to him? The school has a rough start, but as the day goes on, he soon recovers when he sees that he's not the only one going through first-day jitters.

The Day You Begin

The Day You Begin

By: Jacqueline Woodson
Illustrated by: Rafael López
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

“There will be times when you walk into a room and no one will be quite like you.” But slowly you’ll find a bit of you in others along with your own wonderful uniqueness. Poetic language is complemented by expressive translucent illustrations presenting recognizable situations as the diverse students gradually develop friendships.

The Name Jar

The Name Jar

By: Yangsook Choi
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

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.

Yes I Can! A Girl and Her Wheelchair

Yes I Can! A Girl and Her Wheelchair

By: Kendra Barrett
Illustrated by: Violet Lemay
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Carolyn is a regular girl who likes regular things. The only difference is that she uses a wheelchair. Yes, Carolyn can do whatever other kids can but sometimes not in the same way. The upbeat cartoon-like illustrations depict typical classroom activities and discussion starters for adults to use with children.

Your Name Is a Song

Your Name Is a Song

By: Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow
Illustrated by: Luisa Uribe
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

A celebration of the beauty, history, and magic behind names. 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. 

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