9 Diverse Back-to-School Read-Alouds for Kids + Video Read Aloud
Updated: Aug 11
You may not be ready and they may not be ready either, but it's almost time to head back to school. We've rounded up a few awesome children's books to help make transitioning to back to school routines a little bit easier.
These picture books are affirming, uplifting, and fun. They also encourage positive conversations about friendship, self confidence, and resilience - things we all need as we prepare for a new school year.
This exuberant celebration of the first day of school illustrated by award-winning illustrator Frank Morrison will have every kid cheering for school to begin!
Summer is over, and this little girl has got the school spirit! She hears the school spirit in the bus driving up the street--VROOM, VROOM!--and in the bell sounding in the halls--RING-A-DING! She sings the school spirit in class with her friends--ABC, 123!
The school spirit helps us all strive and grow. What will you learn today?
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. Your Name is a Song is a celebration to remind all of us about the beauty, history, and magic behind names.
Your Name is a Song includes back matter perfect for parents, educators, caregivers, and young readers who want to learn more about the names featured in the story. The Glossary of Names lists each name's meaning, origin, and pronunciation. Additionally, readers can use a listed link to access an online video of the author pronouncing all the names in the book.
A New York Times bestselling author (The True Meaning of Smekday) and illustrator (Last Stop on Market Street) team bring you a fresh look at the first day of school, this time from the school's perspective.
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.
A great gift for tiny go-getters and big dreamers, including for back to school!
NBA champion and superstar LeBron James pens a slam-dunk picture book inspired by his foundation's I PROMISE program that motivates children everywhere to always #StriveForGreatness.
Just a kid from Akron, Ohio, who is dedicated to uplifting youth everywhere, LeBron James knows the key to a better future is to excel in school, do your best, and keep your family close.
I Promise is a lively and inspiring picture book that reminds us that tomorrow's success starts with the promises we make to ourselves and our community today.
Featuring James's upbeat, rhyming text and vibrant illustrations perfectly crafted for a diverse audience by #1 New York Times bestselling and Geisel Honor winning artist Nina Mata, this book has the power to inspire all children and families to be their best. Perfect for shared reading in and out of the classroom, I Promise is also a great gift for graduation, birthdays, and other occasions.
A heartwarming story about the new girl in school, and how she learns to appreciate her Korean name.
Being the new kid in school is hard enough, but what happens when nobody can pronounce your name? Having just moved from Korea, Unhei is anxious about fitting in. So instead of introducing herself on the first day of school, she decides to choose an American name from a glass jar. But while Unhei thinks of being a Suzy, Laura, or Amanda, nothing feels right. With the help of a new friend, Unhei will learn that the best name is her own.
From acclaimed creator Yangsook Choi comes the bestselling classic about finding the courage to be yourself and being proud of your background.
A confident little Black girl has a fantastic first day of school in this companion to the New York Times bestseller The King of Kindergarten.
MJ is more than ready for her first day of kindergarten! With her hair freshly braided and her mom's special tiara on her head, she knows she's going to rock kindergarten. But the tiara isn't just for show--it also reminds her of all the good things she brings to the classroom, stuff like her kindness, friendliness, and impressive soccer skills, too! Like The King of Kindergarten, this is the perfect book to reinforce back-to-school excitement and build confidence in the newest students.
Based on The Fresh Prince created by Will Smith, Destiny is the Fresh Princess.
Meet Destiny--a cool, energetic, and strong-willed young girl who approaches every day with her own signature style! That is, until she moves to a brand-new neighborhood, where nothing looks quite the same as it did at her old house.
Even with new challenges and new friends to make, Destiny always has a plan. With a few reminders from her loving family and after remembering what being the Fresh Princess is all about, she may just take the leap and jump right in!
Written by celebrated author, blogger, and editor Denene Millner and illustrated by Gladys Jose, Fresh Princess is the perfect book to encourage kids to proudly stand out and be themselves!
A confident little boy takes pride in his first day of kindergarten, by the Newbery Honor-winning author of Crown.
The morning sun blares through your window like a million brass trumpets. It sits and shines behind your head--like a crown. Mommy says that today, you are going to be the King of Kindergarten!
Starting kindergarten is a big milestone--and the hero of this story is ready to make his mark! He's dressed himself, eaten a pile of pancakes, and can't wait to be part of a whole new kingdom of kids. The day will be jam-packed, but he's up to the challenge, taking new experiences in stride with his infectious enthusiasm! And afterward, he can't wait to tell his proud parents all about his achievements--and then wake up to start another day.
Newbery Honor-winning author Derrick Barnes's empowering story will give new kindergarteners a reassuring confidence boost, and Vanessa Brantley-Newton's illustrations exude joy.
Get ready to go back to school with this inclusive, empathetic story that will help kids new to the classroom transform from timid caterpillars into beautiful butterflies who love exactly who they are!
On Vanessa's first day of school, her parents tell her it will be easy to make friends. Vanessa isn't so sure. She wears her fanciest outfit so her new classmates will notice her right away. They notice, but the attention isn't what she'd hoped for. As the day goes on, she feels more self-conscious. Her clothes are too bright, her feather boa has way too many feathers, and even her name is too hard to write.
The next day, she picks out a plain outfit, and tells her mom that her name is too long. She just wants to blend in, with a simple name like the other girls--why couldn't her parents have named her Megan or Bella? But when her mother tells her the meaning behind her name, it gives her the confidence she needs to introduce her classmates to the real Vanessa. Perfect for readers of Alma and How She Got Her Name and The King of Kindergarten.
Your turn! Which books would you add to this list? Let us know.
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