Add these picture books to your must-read list! The School & Library team shares more about these outstanding staff picks here.Look inside these picture books →
Hear author Katherine Applegate read from her New York Times-bestselling middle grade novel, WISHTREE! This powerful story about acceptance and tolerance is a One Book One Community favorite and a must-share in your classroom or library.
Red is an oak tree who is many rings old. Red is the neighborhood “wishtree”—people write their wishes on pieces of cloth and tie them to Red’s branches. Along with a crow named Bongo and other animals who seek refuge in Red’s hollows, this wishtree watches over the neighborhood. You might say Red has seen it all. Until a new family moves in. Not everyone is welcoming, and Red’s experiences as a wishtree are more important than ever. Funny, deep, warm, and nuanced, Wishtree is Newbery Medalist and New York Times–bestselling author Katherine Applegate at her very best—writing from the heart, and from a completely unexpected point of view.
Spun off from her beloved Justin Case middle grade chapter books, Rachel Vail’s A Is for Elizabeth series—featuring illustrations by award-winning children’s book artist Paige Kaiser—follows a young second grader as she navigates schoolwork, friendships, and the growing pains that occur along the way. Perfect for SEL units, Elizabeth learns to deal with her “loud feelings” in each book in this heartwarming and funny series.
Watch author Rachel Vail read along with the third book in the series, Cat Ears on Elizabeth, here! When two of Elizabeth’s classmates come to school with cat-ear headbands, Elizabeth decides she needs a cat-ears headband immediately (even though headbands squish her brain out).
These books for kids and teens sensitively deal with tough topics and big emotions. Perfect for SEL units, these stories normalize mental health issues, promote the importance of self-care, and provide more resources for young readers who are struggling to process big emotions like anger, sadness, anxiety, and loss. Share these stories with young readers to let them know they are not alone.Find books for Mental Health Awareness month here →
Not sure how to talk to kids about tough topics like how germs spread or why everyone seems so worried and saddened by the news? These books provide an accessible way to talk to kids about those big topics, what lessons we can learn from history, and how small acts of kindness can help their community. Plus, watch author Sarah Lynne Reul read aloud from her picture book, THE BREAKING NEWS.Learn more about these books here →
Social emotional learning (SEL) units “foster mindful, engaged behavior among students. Recognizing the value of emotional awareness for any student population, the core SEL competencies include self- and social awareness, relationship skills, decision-making, and self-management,” says School Library Journal in a recent article.
Find books to support your SEL units here!Learn more about these SEL books →