I'm so excited to share some of my FAVORITE Back to School books with you today! I call these MUST HAVE BOOKS because not only are they perfect for BTS but they also help teachers discuss important themes & topics with their new students like handling worries, using manners, bullying, celebrating differences, and growth mindset. They're all such powerful stories, each in their own way! Your new group of students will get a taste of some amazing authors and really start to develop a love for reading if they haven't already!
Do Unto Otters by Laurie Keller
Mr. Rabbit's new neighbors are otters and he doesn't know a THING about otters. Are they going to be friends? Will they get along? Do Unto Otters is the perfect way to teach students all about the golden rule. This sweet story by Laurie Keller is one of my favorites for BTS because 1. It's ADORABLE & always a crowd pleaser and 2. It really helps establish how students should treat each other!
Or make that, "How to treat otters" :) After reading the story, have your students create their own otter with this Do Unto Otters Book Social literacy pack (which also includes the anchor chart pieces above, text discussion cards, and MORE!) If you're new here and haven't yet heard of Book Social (a collaborative project from @heyheyfirstgrade and I that helps teach social skills) check out my blog post HERE.
Also, just a heads up for the teacher. Embrace the fact that your students will be repeating the phrase "doo-de-doo" many times after hearing this story. In my opinion, its adorable. Put this book up on your white board for students to share during their independent/buddy reading and you'll see them trying to read it exactly as you did!
Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes
Wemberly worried about everything, from shrinking in the bathtub to spilling her juice. And the thing she worried about most was the first day of school! This endearing read aloud from Kevin Henkes is a great way to talk about how to handle worries and fears.
After reading the story, create an anchor chart with your class and discuss ways they can handle fears or worries. This would also be a wonderful opportunity to talk to your students about empathy and how they can help others who may be feeling anxious or worried (like Wemberly's friend in the story). You can grab this Book Social set for Wemberly Worried HERE or by clicking any other photos pictured.
The Sandwich Swap by Queen Rania Al Abdullah
When you're starting the year with a new class, it's important to establish a safe place for students to feel accepted. The Sandwich Swap is the perfect read for such an occasion. Two friends quickly become enemies when a quarrel begins over peanut butter vs. hummus. What our readers discover is that friendship goes hand in hand with tolerance and acceptance, and trying new things can open up a whole world we never knew existed!
The Recess Queen by Alexis O'Neill
The Recess Queen is PHENOMENAL and perfect for Back to School. Let your students know right away that bullying is not cool and never tolerated! Mean Jean is the Recess Queen and she controls everything, until a new student arrives and dethrones the so-called Queen with a powerful weapon: friendship!
After reading the story, talk to your students about the difference between being mean and being a bully. Develop a "No Bully Zone" in your classroom and talk about what to do if you encounter a bully.
Incorporate the theme of Kindness by focusing on Katie Sue's handling of the situation. By befriending Mean Jean, she was able to handle the problem all on her own. Brainstorm some ways you can show kindness to others, even when it may seem difficult.
The Bad Seed by Jory John
This seed is bad, like really baaaaaaaaad. He has bad manners, a bad temper, and a BAD attitude. What I love most about this story is that it gives us a new perspective to view others and maybe even ourselves. It proves that we all have the power to change, to grow, to be the best version of ourself. If you're looking to teach your students about the difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset, this book lends itself perfectly!! Check out the Book Social set for The Bad Seed here.
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Thanks for reading along! I hope you've found some useful ideas and books to share with your new students! What are YOUR must have books for BTS? Share them with me below in the comments!!
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