10 Picture Books for Back to School

Books We Love

Every year, educators Cathy Mere and Mandy Robek run the #pb10for10 event to celebrate picture books. Educators can share their ten favorite picture books, or connect to a wider theme. What a great way to celebrate children’s literature!

This will be my first year participating in the #pb10for10 project. Below, I’ve shared ten picture books that I will be using in my classroom during the back to school season. Some are meant to celebrate community, while others give kids a reason to celebrate learning. Have any books to add to my list? Leave your favorite picture books in the comments below!

Books for Community Building

This charming book is a great catalyst for conversations about first day jitters. The story being told from the perspective of the school building keeps the story lighthearted, and kiddos are bound to connect with the dual emotions of nervouseness and excitement.

Young Sally McCabe teaches students what leadership looks like in this beautiful book illustrated by Christian Robinson. This book can be used to discuss kindness, compassion, and school culture.

Every year, my class celebrates International Dot Day by reading this book. The Dot asks students to make their mark and see where it takes them. Conversations surrounding this book will help you get to know your students and what matters most to them.

Talking about friendship can be tough! The language of sticks, stones, and pinecones can serve as placeholders for students to discuss friendship issues as the year gets going. We used Stick and Stone to generate a list of ways to be a “Perfect 10 Friend.”

While this book won’t be out in time for back to school this year, I can’t wait to use it with my students. A wordless picture book that explores both kindness and harm, it will serve as a conversation starter for many children. My review of this book is coming to the blog later this month!

Books for Kicking Off the Year in Math

Another title from Kathryn Otoshi, Zero explores how every person is one unique whole. Every person can add something to a community. The clever play with numbers in this story will get kids thinking about place value and number sense.

Books for Kicking Off the Year in Literacy

I can’t wait to use this book to introduce independent reading. This book paints a picture of reading as what it is: an opportunity for students to discover new things. It also reminds us that we may end a story with more questions than we had at the beginning, and that is a great thing.

This beautiful book of poetry includes poems that will resonate with any reader. I can’t decide if I’ll read this book to my students all at once, or save them to celebrate all year! Of course, we could always reread as students grow and change as readers. Read, Read, Read comes out this fall, and my review will be on the blog this September!

Books for Kicking Off the Year in Science and Social Studies

My students love anything by Andrea Beaty. Her books Ada Twist, Scientist; Rosie Revere, Engineer; and Iggy Peck, Architect inspire students to become scientists themselves. From learning to ask why to learning to persevere, the students at Blue River Creek Elementary School have many lessons to share with students.

While I often save this book for our weather engineering unit, it’s a great one to use in science or social studies at the beginning of the year to discuss how kids can change the world. By identifying an issue, brainstorming solutions, and putting them into action, kids can make a difference in their communities.

Have you made your own #pb10for10 list? Share the link in the comments below! If you haven’t made your own list, but would like to share a few titles in the comments, we’d love to hear them!

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  • Reply
    Linda Baie
    August 10, 2017 at 2:49 pm

    I’m looking forward to Amy’s Read, Read, Read! and love How to Read A Story.I think my youngest granddaughter will be a “smallest girl in the smallest grade”, will look for that book. I’ve given her School’s First Day of School! Thanks for a great list!

    • Reply
      August 10, 2017 at 9:00 pm

      Thanks so much for reading! Read, Read, Read is amazing – I can’t wait for it to land on classroom bookshelves!

  • Reply
    Tammy A. Flanders
    August 10, 2017 at 8:00 pm

    Draw the line looks interesting. Thanks for the list.
    Apples with Many Seeds

    • Reply
      August 10, 2017 at 9:00 pm

      I can’t wait to hear what other teachers think once it is released! Thanks for reading!

  • Reply
    Stacey Shubitz
    August 10, 2017 at 8:31 pm

    Thanks for the fantastic list!
    These all look great (many of them I know), but I can’t wait to check out The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade.

    • Reply
      August 10, 2017 at 9:02 pm

      Thanks so much for reading, Stacey. It’s a very sweet book – definitely worth checking out! (By the way, I LOVE your blog – our staff often shares out links to your posts!)

  • Reply
    Lori Sabo
    August 10, 2017 at 11:12 pm

    Can’t wait to read the titles that are new to me.

    • Reply
      August 10, 2017 at 11:19 pm

      Thanks so much for reading, Lori! I just read your list – I love “This House, Once”!

  • Reply
    August 11, 2017 at 6:05 am

    I am a Kathryn Otoshi fan – and am currently enthralled by wordless books. So, a wordless book by Kathryn Otoshi. Gold. Thanks for sharing it.

    • Reply
      August 12, 2017 at 10:59 pm

      I can’t wait for the book to be released! My review will be here on the blog on August 22nd 🙂 Thanks for checking out my list!

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