Kanzi's family has immigrated to America from Egypt and it's her first day at her new school. She really wants to fit in, but some of the children laugh at her because her mother speaks Arabic. When Kanzi's mother involves the class in a creative project, her classmates learn the importance of embracing differences. This is a beautiful book about accepting others' cultures and languages.
Reflect and Refine: Building a Learning Community and Mandy Robek of Enjoy and Embrace Learning. Every August, those who participate share a list of ten favorite picture books. Some bloggers, and others who participate, share books centered on a theme. My 2018 list included ten (plus one) picture books about friendship. Others simply share a list of favorites. My 2017 list included favorite books that I wanted to share with students in the upcoming school year. My list this year is similar. All of the books on my list are recently published picture books that explore themes and topics that relate to students' socio-emotional well-being and will be useful in helping to build a classroom community and environment of caring and acceptance. (There are definitely others I want to share, as well, but I had to keep this list to ten!) If you are interested in my other Picture Book 10 for 10 lists, my 2016 list has ten picture books about books and my 2015 list has ten books about perseverance and effort.
My 10 For 10 List...
The Arabic Quilt: An Immigrant Story by Aya Khalil and illustrated by Anait Semirdzhyan
First Day Critter Jitters by Jory John and illustrated by Liz Climo
This is a sweet and amusing story about first day of school anxieties. Readers will find comfort in realizing that others experience worries at the beginning of the school year and it's not just students who have these feelings.
How to Write a Story by Kate Messner and illustrated by Mark SiegelThe companion to How to Read a Story, this book walks young readers through the steps necessary to write a story. The advice is useful and encouraging. The main character in the book works through the writing process, writing an entertaining story that she shares with friends. I think readers will be inspired to write their own stories.
Keith is a cat who feels more comfortable around pigeons, but the pigeons don't feel very comfortable around him. This book has wonderful message about being oneself.
Lulu the One and Only by Lynnette Mawhinney and illustrated by Jennie Poh
Lulu is part of a biracial family and often gets asked the question, "What are you?" When her brother explains that he answers this question with a power phrase, Lulu realizes she should have a power phrase of her own. This is a wonderful book that explores race and identity,
Our Favorite Day of the Year by A. E. Ali and illustrated by Rahele Jomepour Bell
Over the course of their year, classmates learn about each other's favorite days and the different ways families celebrate. It's a lovely and joyful book about friendship and the importance of community, connection, and understanding.
The Power of One: Every Act of Kindness Counts by Trudy Ludwig
One girl starts a chain reaction of kindness that brings a community together. This is a sweet story about small acts of kindness and how one person can make a difference.
We Disagree by Bethanie Deeney Murguia
A mouse and squirrel disagree about everything until they agree to disagree. This is an amusing book, told through dialogue between the two rodents, that will help students understand the importance of respecting the opinions of others.
You Matter by Christian Robinson
The illustrations in this book provide an interesting and clever perspective on our world and the message that everyone has value is beautiful.
This book is a celebration of names and offers the important reminder about how important it is to pronounce the names of others correctly.