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6 back-to-school books and activities to ease the transition to the classroom

These six incredible read aloud are ideal for your students to settle into the classroom. Explore entertaining stories about the weather, curious creatures, feelings from the first day of school and more! Thanks to our friends at Random House Children’s Books, view a video message from each of the six authors and do a fun activity suitable for your class. We can’t resist this excellent list of books and back-to-school pairings!

Get back to school emotions with Great feelings

From the bestselling author of everyone is welcome, Alexandra Penfold’s video message discusses the many feelings that can arise during the start of the school year. Help your class learn the importance of feelings and teamwork with this energetic book. As an activity, follow the illustrator of the book Suzanne Kaufman to learn how to draw different emotions. If the students are comfortable, they can share or illustrate what they are feeling at the start of this school year. Click here to watch the author and illustrator video and get the full activity for Great feelings.

Today’s show meteorologist and author, Dylan Dreyer, invites students to think and daydream about the clouds in his video message. What if the clouds had thoughts and feelings like us? In this story, meet a cloud named Misty who feels upset and causes a storm. Invite your students to discuss how their favorite climate makes them feel. Help students understand that it is normal to have different feelings during the first days of a new school year. Encourage them to dream about clouds and where they could go if they were a cloud and could travel anywhere. Click here for Dylan Dreyer’s video and the full activity.

Plan the trip to school with My first day

My first day book cover

Huynh Kim Lien and Phung Nguyen Quang share how they wrote and illustrated this book together as well as the meaning of the book in their video post. It all starts with a first day. Find out how this boy copes with his fears and extraordinary challenges on his journey and follow him to find out how he reached his destination. Students may have mixed feelings coming to class this year, in person or virtually. This title shares the lesson that while there are challenges along the way, the journey will be worth it. After reading about this adventure from day one, students can illustrate their own map detailing their route to school, just like the book does. Click here for the video of this author-illustrator duo as well as the complete activity for My first day.

Cover of the book The Street of Dreams

See a new year message with best wishes from author Tricia Elam Walker. Then read his story of a vibrant neighborhood where children and adults live in harmony and the community shines. Meet various characters who help this community to become a community of love and warmth. This book brings your classroom community together and emphasizes its importance. After learning about the Dream Street community, complete an activity where students think about whether they would like to live in this community and decide who or what they would like to bring with them. Click here for the author’s video and the full Dream Street activity.

Book cover The habitual creature

In this video post, author Jennifer E. Smith talks about her new book and how it relates to the world we knew last year. The creatures in the story live in much the same way every day on an island, similar to our world recently. That is, until new ideas hit, and creatures must learn to appreciate each other and live happily together. This book wonderfully shows how differences can combine to make something great, which is an important lesson for students entering a new peer room. After the reading, students can discuss what they collect or what they would like to collect, just as the creatures on the island do. They can even find collections in nature and create their own creature from it. Click here for Jennifer E. Smith’s full video and book activity.

Create classy butterflies with Become Vanessa

Book cover Devenir Vanessa

Hear an encouraging back-to-school message from author Vanessa Brantley-Newton to get students back to class. Read this story about Vanessa’s character’s first day of school and how she gains self-confidence from her first day experience. After the reading, students will use their creative minds to make a collage from newspapers, construction paper, etc. Cut out the shape of a butterfly from the collage to remind the class how much you will grow this school year. Click here for the author’s video and the butterfly collage activity.

Find here these books and back-to-school activities, as well as the educational guides, to start the year off right.


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