15 of the Best Books for Back to School

Back to school season is upon us! One of the best parts of planning the first week of school is deciding on which books to read. Today, I’m sharing all of my favorites with you!

Our Class is a Family

by Shannon Olson

Why I love this book:

Shannon, the teacher behind Life Between Summers, clearly knows best! Not only does she get it because, well, she’s a teacher, she does an amazing job at describing how your students become a variety of family throughout the year. It’s simple and sweet and makes a great first week read aloud!

All Are Welcome

by: Alexandra Penfold

Why I love this book:

What a better way to set the tone that our classroom is a place for everyone. This short but meaningful text is a perfect way to share the message of inclusivity with students. I love the representation in the illustrations. The rhyming as the author takes students through each part of the school day makes it a lovely listen for the first day. I actually selected it as the first read aloud of day 1 in my Back to School Planning series.

School is More than a Building

by: Kelley Donner

Why I love this book: This book is told from the perspective of a student as they detail all the things they love about their school that makes it a special place. Author Kelley Donner even reads it aloud on YouTube with a mini-drawing lesson at the end!

This School Year Will Be the Best

by: Kay Winters

Why I love this book: I love this book for getting pumped up about all the fun we are about to have this school year. I like to pair it with a writing activity where students share what they are most looking forward to. It is a great book to end the day or week!

The Day You Begin

by: Jacqueline Woodson

Why I love this book: The Day You Begin is a beautifully illustrated story about finding connections with others even when we feel very different. This book’s message about how our differences make us stronger and sharing our stories helps bond us makes the perfect first week book. It has helped me remember that sharing all about what we did over the summer can be an uncomfortable conversation for some and instead, learning about one another should be the focus.

Tony Baloney: School Rules

by Pam Munoz Ryan

Why I love this book: Tony is a well-meaning penguin who is starting school for the first time. He tries his best to learn and follow the rules but has a few mishaps. I love how Tony bounces back from his mistakes by being a good friend. It will help students realize that even if we accidentally break the rules, we can recover and learn to love school at the same time.

Do Unto Otters

by: Laurie Keller

Why I love this book: Who doesn’t love a good pun? The way in which the Otters describe how to treat your neighbors is humorous and entertaining. Adults will love all of the double entendres while the kids will love the Otter’s antics. Your students will learn how to be a good classmate by treating others with kindness and respect.

What Should Danny Do? School Day

by: Ganit and Adir Levy

Why I love this book: I don’t have enough words to describe what a difference “What Should Danny Do?” has made not only in my classroom but with my own children. Ganit and Adir are amazing authors who support teachers. They have written this series to help students with making choices based on logical consequences. When I got the first, original Danny book, it was the #1 most read book in my classroom that year. It is so worn from different students reading it every single day. GO GET THIS BOOK!! You will not regret it!

What if Everybody Did That?

by: Ellen Javernick

Why I love this book: Another great book for discussing logical consequences and how our behaviors affect those around us. After I read this book one year, I kept hearing my students ask “What if everybody did that?” when one of their peers would make a not so great choice.

Back to School Rules

by: Laurie B. Friedman

Why I love this book: I love this book because it says all of the things I want to say except in more fun way–ha! It goes over all of the “what not to dos” which can sound kind of negative so I use it to turn the “don’ts” into “dos” with this anchor chart. It does have fun rhymes and silly parts which makes it a great book to start conversation about expectations.

Mrs. Spitzer’s Garden

by: Edith Pattou

Why I love this book for back to school: Ohhh this one will tug at your heartstrings. Mrs. Spitzer’s principal pays her classroom a visit to drop off some seeds at the beginning of the year. Mrs. Spitzer works her magic all year to help her seeds bloom into a beautiful garden of flowers–each one growing at it’s own speed and in different ways. I love to read this book at the beginning and end of the year.

I’m Trying to Love Math

by: Bethany Barton

Why I love this book: One of my top goals at the beginning of the year is to communicate to my students that learning is fun and it’s okay to take chances! We will all have hesitant learners that come into our classroom and it’s up to us to try to change their feelings towards learning. This makes a great book to introduce math and show that no matter your feelings about math, it’s an important part of our world.

Ralph Tells a Story

by: Abby Hanlon

Why I love this book for back to school: Speaking of feeling hesitant about a subject, writing is always one area where students tend to get stuck. Ralph is one of them. I love that this book will help struggling writers connect with the character and where our ideas can come from.

The Color Monster

by: Anna Llenas

Why I love this book: We’d be mistaken to start the school year without discussing emotions and strategies for regulating them. When students have that emotional awareness and can identify how they are feeling, it will help tremendously with implementing tools for handling strong feelings. My school used Zones of Regulation and I love how this book aligns well with those concepts.

How Rocket Learned to Read

by: Tad Hills

Why I love this book for back to school: So don’t hate me but I’m not really a dog person. *gasp* However, Rocket is just the sweetest. I love how he is taken step-by-step through learning to read. I love to use this book to explain that learning to read takes time and isn’t always something we pick up instantly. There are other Rocket books too so he becomes a favorite familiar character.

You can grab the Back to School Books free download here. I also recorded a video diving deeper into a few of my favorites. Watch now!

Want more Back to School ideas? Check out all of my beginning of the year plans here!

Disclaimer: The links to the books in this post are affiliate links. This means, if you purchase the item through that link, I will receive a small compensation as an Amazon Affiliate. This is at no additional cost to you. I only recommend books that I personally love and use in my classroom.

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