Diverse Books for First Day of School for K-12 - Tuma's Books

Diverse Books for First Day of School for K-12

Happy First Day of School to NYC Public Schools! ūü•≥

*I schedule my posts; so if you're reading this, I'm likely already passed out on the couch with one sock dangling off after my first day of at a new school, transitioning from Charter to Public Schools, and teaching 11th grade for the first time.

For everyone else who has been back at school for WEEKS, hope it's going AWESOME! Teachers, hope your admin is supporting you as you DESERVE. Students, hope you have amazing teachers who care about you as a PERSON.

Here are some books about the First Day of School to share with your kids (parents) or students (teachers) in the upcoming weeks. School feels "new" until about mid-October.

Picture Books for K-4

The Proudest Blue: A Story of Hijab and Family by Ibtihaj Muhammad, S. K. Ali, and Hatem Aly

With her new backpack and light-up shoes, Faizah knows the first day of school is going to be special. It's the start of a brand new year and, best of all, it's her older sister Asiya's first day of hijab--a hijab of beautiful blue fabric, like the ocean waving to the sky. But not everyone sees hijab as beautiful, and in the face of hurtful, confusing words, Faizah will find new ways to be strong.

Paired with Hatem Aly's beautiful, whimsical art, Olympic medalist Ibtihaj Muhammad and Morris Award finalist S.K. Ali bring readers an uplifting, universal story of new experiences, the unbreakable bond between siblings, and of being proud of who you are.

Isabel and Her Colores Go to School by Alexandra Alessandri and Courtney Dawson

English, with its blustery blues and whites, just feels wrong to Isabel. She prefers the warm oranges and pinks of Spanish. As she prepares for class at a new school, she knows she's going to have to learn--and she would rather not! Her first day is uncomfortable, until she discovers there's more than one way to communicate with friends. This is a universal story about feeling new and making new friends.

The King of Kindergarten by Derrick Barnes and Vanessa Brantley-Newton

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.

The Queen of Kindergarten by Derrick Barnes and Vanessa Brantley-Newton

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.

My Name Is a Story: An Empowering First Day of School Book for Kids by Ashanti and Monica Mikai

From Grammy Award-winning singer Ashanti comes an empowering story about a girl who learns to love her unique name.

First days aren't easy for a girl with a name like Ashanti. It feels like no one can pronounce it correctly! But with some encouragement from her mom, Ashanti spells her name and learns just how special it is.

A is for awesome, S is for sunsets, H is for hand games, A is for art...

Inspired by Ashanti's own experience, this delightful picture book shares the joy that one child finds in her name.

Young Reader Books for 2-4

Accidental Trouble Magnet by Zanib Mian and Nasaya Mafaridik

The first book in the exciting middle-grade series starring a Muslim boy with a huge imagination--now in paperback!

Welcome to the imaginative brain of Omar!

Omar and his family have just moved, and he is NOT excited about starting at a new school. What if the work is too hard or the kids are mean or the teacher is a zombie alien?!

But when Omar makes a new best friend, things start looking up. That is, until a Big Mean Bully named Daniel makes every day a nightmare! Daniel even tells Omar that all Muslims are going to be kicked out of the country . . . Could that possibly be true?

Luckily, Omar's enormous imagination and goofy family help him get through life's ups and downs.

Omar's funny, relatable narrative is the perfect answer to the call for both mirrors and windows to fill bookshelves with diverse stories.

I Got the School Spirit by Connie Schofield-Morrison and Frank Morrison

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?

Middle Grade Books for 5-8

Finally Seen by Kelly Yang

From the New York Times bestselling author of Front Desk comes a "involving, realistic" (Booklist, starred review) middle grade novel about a young girl who leaves China to live with her parents and sister, after five years apart, and learns about family, friendship, and the power of being finally seen.

My sister got to grow up with my parents. Me? I grew up with postcards from my parents.

When ten-year-old Lina Gao steps off the plane in Los Angeles, it's her first time in America and the first time seeing her parents and her little sister in five years! She's been waiting for this moment every day while she lived with her grandmother in Beijing, getting teased by kids at school who called her "left behind girl." Finally, her parents are ready for her to join their fabulous life in America! Except, it's not exactly like in the postcards:

1. School's a lot harder than she thought. When she mispronounces some words in English on the first day, she decides she simply won't talk. Ever again.
2. Her chatty little sister has no problem with English. And seems to do everything better than Lina, including knowing exactly the way to her parents' hearts.
3. They live in an apartment, not a house like in Mom's letters, and they owe a lot of back rent from the pandemic. And Mom's plan to pay it back sounds more like a hobby than a moneymaker.

As she reckons with her hurt, Lina tries to keep a lid on her feelings, both at home and at school. When her teacher starts facing challenges for her latest book selection, a book that deeply resonates with Lina, it will take all of Lina's courage and resilience to get over her fear and choose a future where she's finally seen.

High School Book for 9-12

Does My Head Look Big in This? by Randa Abdel-Fattah

When sixteen-year-old Amal decides to wear the hijab full-time, her entire world changes, all because of a piece of cloth...

Sixteen-year-old Amal makes the decision to start wearing the hijab full-time and everyone has a reaction. Her parents, her teachers, her friends, people on the street. But she stands by her decision to embrace her faith and all that it is, even if it does make her a little different from everyone else.Can she handle the taunts of "towel head," the prejudice of her classmates, and still attract the cutest boy in school? Brilliantly funny and poignant, Randa Abdel-Fattah's debut novel will strike a chord in all teenage readers, no matter what their beliefs.

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