Book Round-up: Talking to Kids About Current Events: Ukraine

Not sure how to talk to kids about what’s happening in world events? We’ve rounded up some books that provide an accessible way to talk to kids about lessons we can learn from history, and also included some books to use as resources for media literacy. Plus, see below to find journal entry prompts to help your kids process their emotions.

A Note:

Because talking about current events–especially those involving war–can be a triggering experience for people at any age, it can be a good idea to allow kids to process what they’ve already seen and heard before starting any new conversations. By creating a space for kids to journal, they can start digesting their own emotions and responses. Keep in mind that some children have experienced the effects of war and may feel a personal connection to the Eastern European population closely impacted by Putin’s actions. To provide you with some talking points, we’ve found a list of sources that can help educators talk about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with students.


Sources for Talking to Children About the Attack on Ukraine

Teachers can offer a safe space for students to talk about the war in Ukraine and help them take action – with entry-level talking points for kids at varying ages

Talking to Kids About the War in Ukraine – from San Diego County Office of Education, many resources for talking to children of all ages and includes social-emotional resources

Hear what teens have to say about the war in Ukraine – teen posts from the New York Times forum


Journal Entry Prompts for Processing Current Events:

Prompt 1 for early education: Think about the news events that you’ve watched or heard adults talk about this week. What was the news? Do you think it is important? How do you feel about this news?

Prompt 2 for middle graders: Think about the news events that have happened this week. Choose the one event that you think is important, and write a paragraph journal entry about it. What happened? Why do you think it is important? How do you feel about what you’ve heard?

Prompt 3 for high schoolers: Think about the current events that have happened in the world this past week. Choose a specific event that you think is important, and write a multi-paragraph journal entry about it. What happened? Why is it important? Do you feel personally impacted by this? How can you empathize with those affected by the event?


Click the tabs below to view more books in each age category.

Find a list of recommended books here →

Storytime & Activity Kit: Where Is Bina Bear? by Mike Curato


Where is Bina Bear? by Mike Curato
On Sale Now
Ages 4-8

In Mike Curato’s funny, poignant picture book Where Is Bina Bear?, a little rabbit throws a party—but can’t find best friend Bina Bear anywhere!

Tiny is having a party, but Bina Bear is nowhere to be found. Is that Bina hiding under a lampshade? It looks like Bina . . . but it must be a lamp. Is that Bina beneath the fruit bowl? It could be . . . but it’s probably just a table.

Searching for Bina, Tiny realizes something is wrong—and sets out to make it right. This is a humorous yet sincere picture book about friendship, understanding, and embracing our loved ones just as they are.


Watch the Where is Bina Bear? book trailer here:

Learn more about WHERE IS BINA BEAR? →

Books to Commemorate the 20th Anniversary of 9/11

Remembering this Day: On the morning of September 11, 2001, the United States was attacked by a terrorist group known as al Qaeda. The terrorists hijacked four commercial airplanes and crashed two of them into the Twin Towers and one into the Pentagon. Passengers on the fourth plane fought against their captives, but the plane went down with no survivors. Nearly 3,000 people died as a result of these attacks, leaving the United States, and the world, in a state of grief.

We’ve put together a selection of books and resources you can use to reflect on this day and teach students about this important historical event. Find a list of books to share with your students and watch a video with Alyssa Bermudez, creator of Big Apple Diaries!

Find more information to share with students about the 9/11 attacks here and here.

Learn more about these books here →

Books for Mental Health Awareness Month

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 →

Teacher’s Guide: Nowhere Boy by Katherine Marsh

Nowhere Boy by Katherine Marsh
Now Available in Paperback!

A timely, poignant tale of family, sacrifice and the friendship between a young Syrian refugee and an American boy living in Brussels.

Set against the backdrop of the Syrian refugee crisis, award-winning author of Jepp, Who Defied the Stars Katherine Marsh delivers a gripping, heartwarming story of resilience, friendship and everyday heroes. Barbara O’Connor, author of Wish and Wonderland, says “Move Nowhere Boy to the top of your to-be-read pile immediately.”

ALA Notable Children’s Book 2019
Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Books of 2018
New York Times Book Review Notable Children’s Books of 2018
ILA Social Justice Literature Award

★ “This well-crafted and suspenseful novel touches on the topics of refugees and immigrant integration, terrorism, Islam, Islamophobia, and the Syrian war with sensitivity and grace.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

★ “Marsh skillfully weaves the historical parallels with a touching story of friendship. She ratchets up the tension and suspense, until it becomes unbearable; readers will fly through the last hundred pages… Thoughtfully touching on immigration, Islamophobia, and terrorism, this novel is a first-purchase. Hands to fans of Alan Gratz’s Refugee.” —School Library Journal, starred review

Find more teacher’s guides here.

Storytime: Katherine Applegate reads Wishtree

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.

Download a Wishtree teacher’s guide and find materials to create a wishtree in your classroom or library at WishtreeBook.com.