From Unit Plan: I'm Special: Welcoming Students to Kindergarten

At the beginning of the school year, it is important to start building upon what children know and care about the most: themselves. These books discuss their growing bodies, their feelings, their names and how they are all special. You will also find books that help support children as they begin school. All of the books in this list are great for read alouds, except for the two teacher resources at the end of the list.

Books About School

Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come
written and illustrated by Nancy Carlson

Children will see how others may be both excited and a little afraid of their first day of kindergarten.

Classroom Tip: Ask the children to share how they feel about their first day of kindergarten.

David Goes to School
written and illustrated by David Shannon

A young boy has trouble in school.

Classroom Tip: After reading the story, generate a list of classroom rules.

No David!
written and illustrated by David Shannon

Children may recognize how they feel sometimes in this fun tale of a five-year old doing what five-year olds do.

Classroom Tip: Have children share about a time when their parent or guardian said "No" to them.

Emily's First 100 Days of School
written and illustrated by Rosemary Wells

Children follow Emily through her first 100 days of school.

Classroom Tip: Read the page that corresponds to the school day each morning.

The Night Before Kindergarten
written by Natasha Wing; illustrated by Julie Durrell

This story shares about the fears children may have about going to school for the first time.

Classroom Tip: Have children draw a picture and share of how they felt the night before kindergarten.

Books About Appreciating Ourselves and Being Unique

Busy Toes
written by C.W. Bowie; illustrated by Fred Willingham

Celebrate your toes! Toes can tickle, wave, dig, draw and so much more. The children love the pictures of multicultural kids exploring what their toes can do.

Classroom Tip: I like to read this book and then have the kids tell what other kind of things they can do with their toes.

How Kids Grow
written by Jean Marzollo; illustrated by Nancy Sheehan

Color photographs of children around the world celebrate children's growth and development.

Classroom Tip: Use the "I am Me! I am Special!" page at the back of the book for each student and display on a bulletin board.

I Like Me! or Me Gusto Como Soy!
written and illustrated by Nancy Carlson

This book shows that it is important to feel good and take care of yourself.

Classroom Tip: Have children tell what they like about themselves.

All About Me
written and illustrated by Laurence Anholt

This rhyming book asks children to think about themselves and what they do.

Classroom Tip: Share the big book to show concepts of print and stimulate children talking about themselves.

Leo the Late Bloomer or Leo, El Retono Tardio
written by Arthur Kraus; illustrated by Jose Aruego

A little tiger named Leo is very worried because he cannot do all the things that his friends can. With a little patience and some time, he grows to be able to do everything he wants.

Classroom Tip: Talk with the children about the things they could not do when they were babies, but can do now. Talk about the things they are going to be learning to do this year in kindergarten.

Books About Appreciating Ourselves, Understanding Diversity, and Being Unique

Here Are My Hands
written by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault; illustrated by Ted Rand

Children from diverse backgrounds tell about their different body parts and how they are used. The text is written in rhyme.

Classroom Tip: Have children tell about their own body parts and how they use them.

From Head to Toe
written and illustrated by Eric Carle

Children are encouraged to exercise by following the movements of different animals.

Classroom Tip: Have children imitate the animal movements just like the boy in the story.

When I Was Five
written and illustrated by Arthur Howard

A little boy tells of what he was like when he was five and what he is like now that he is six.

Classroom Tip: Have the children illustrate a page or book about the kinds of things they like at four or five years of age.

When I Was Little
written by Jamie Lee Curtis; illustrated by Laura Cornell

A four-year old shares memories of when she was younger.

Classroom Tip: Have the children illustrate and/or write a small book about what they were like when they were all babies.

Growing Like Me
written by Anne Rockwell; illustrated by Holly Keller

A little boy discovers the living things in the meadow and the pond that are growing just like he is.

Classroom Tip: Chart children's responses to what else is growing just like them.

On the Day You Were Born
written and illustrated by Debra Frasier

This book takes the reader across the earth in celebration of his or her birth.

Classroom Tip: For homework, have the children ask their parents to share with them the story of the day they were born. The children can illustrate and write about that day to present to the class.

Quick as a Cricket
written by Audrey Wood; illustrated by Don Wood

A boy shares about his own diverse attributes and feelings through simile.

Classroom Tip: Make a class book of similes that children say about themselves.

The Important Book
written by Margaret Wise Brown; illustrated by Leonard Weisgard

This book tells the important thing about everyday objects and concludes by saying, "The important thing about you is you."

Classroom Tip: Create an interactive writing poem as Margaret Wise Brown does, using objects important to the children.

Another Important Book
written by Margaret Wise Brown; illustrated by Chris Raschka

This book poetically illustrates various stages of child development from one to six years of age.

Classroom Tip: During a second reading, stop at each age and ask the children to tell what they could do at that age.

Oliver Button Is a Sissy or Oliver Button es una Nena
written and illustrated by Tomie dePaola

This book shows how some children do not fit the gender stereotypes and how name-calling can hurt.

Classroom Tip: Before reading the story, talk with the children about which centers and toys can be used by boys and which by girls. After the story see if there is a change in view.

William's Doll
written by Charlotte Zolotow; illustrated by William Pène du Bois

A boy's grandmother defends him when he goes against the stereotype of how boys should be.

Classroom Tip: I like to share this book when talking about the various classroom centers so that there is an understanding that boys can play in the house center and girls can play in the block center.

Mean Soup
written and illustrated by Betsy Everitt

A boy's mother helps him cope with his feeling brought on by a bad day.

Classroom Tip: Make "mean soup" together and let all the children scream into it. Keep the pot handy for "bad days."

From Anne to Zack
written by Mary Jane Martin; illustrated by Michael Grejniec

Using depictions of diverse children, this alphabet book shares children's names using rhyme.

Classroom Tip: Make an ABC book of the names of the children in the class.

The One and Only Special Me
written by Rozanne Lanczak Williams; illustrated by Michael Jarrett

This book uses photographs of a variety of children telling how they are special.

Classroom Tip: Use the big book version of this to teach concepts of print and predictable text with the sight words "I have."

I Am Special
written by Kimberly Jordano; illustrated by Michael Jarrett

This book uses photographs of a variety of children telling how they are special.

Classroom Tip: Use the big book version of this to teach concepts of print and predictable text with the sight words, "I can."

Sometimes I Feel Like a Mouse
written by Jeanne Modesitt; illustrated by Robin Spowart

This book introduces children to the different kinds of feelings they may experience in life and emphasizes that it is okay to have all of them. The feelings are represented by animals in illustration and simile.

Classroom Tip: Ask each child what animal they think is feeling the closest to how they have felt at some time in their life. Chart their responses.

Books About the Five Senses

My Five Senses or Mis Cinco Sentidos
written and illustrated by Aliki Brandenberg

Children follow a young boy as he tells of all the things he can do with his five senses.

Classroom Tip: Bring in objects for children to discover using their five senses. Draw children's attention to when more than one sense is being used at the same time.

The Five Senses or Los Cinco Sentidos
by Maria Ruis, J. M. Parramón, and J.J. Puig

This is a collection of five small books that explores our senses and includes scientific diagrams of the eye, skin, tongue, nose, and ear.

Classroom Tip: Solicit from children other ways in which they can use their senses. Be sure to show the diagrams.

Sense Suspense
written and illustrated by Bruce McMillan

Children guess what is pictured and then determine which of the five senses they use. The author/illustrator uses photographs of children on the island of Culebra in the Caribbean Sea. Both English and Spanish texts are used.

Classroom Tip: Play a guessing game with this book. Each child can participate by making a guess.

Professional Resource Books

Adorable Wearables That Teach Early Concepts
written by Donald M. Silver; illustrated by Patricia J. Wynne

This teacher resource book has reproducible patterns for easy-to-make paper projects that kids can wear.

Classroom Tip: These activities help to teach skills in a hands-on and engaging way.

Instant Personal Poster Sets: Read All About Me
written by Lisa Charlesworth; illustrated by Jamie Lucero

There are 30 posters for children to personalize with their own information about themselves.

Classroom Tip: These can be done one-on-one with the teacher or assistant, or they can be sent home for family-school connections.