Making students feel at home in the classroom is a top priority for teachers during the fall. Teachers create cozy reading spaces, begin to develop rituals and routines, and help students understand the value of their contributions and hard work. Conversations about families can help foster connections among students and highlight diversity. Great picture books like the ones below can help enhance this kind of community building with shared read aloud experiences.
Houses and Homes
Ann Morris’s Houses and Homes features family dwellings from all over the world. In her signature style, Morris uses photographs and simple text to engage her audience, inspiring the reader to make connections and ask questions. An index in the back of the book provides an excellent introduction to non-fiction text features.
If You Lived Here
If You Lived Here by Giles Laroche celebrates the diversity of homes across time and place. Laroche’s text invites readers to imagine themselves living in the chateaus, yurts, and cave dwellings shown in the minutely detailed cut-paper collage illustrations. Each page includes extra facts about dates, locations, and building materials.
Mapping Penny’s World
Zeroing in on one house and its surrounds, Mapping Penny’s World by Loreen Leedy, tells the story of Lisa, who draws maps of the places that are important to her and her dog, including Lisa’s room, her yard, and the neighborhood. At home or in the classroom, students can make their own maps as a way to share or get to know the spaces in which they spend their time.
Building Our House
Building Our House by Jonathan Bean shows one family’s journey from city to country, where the parents and two young children spend a year and a half building a house “in the middle of a weedy field.” This is a story of hard work, perseverance, collaboration, and success – all experiences we hope to students will have at school as part of a classroom community.
- Children and families around the world: Children Just Like Me by Anabel Kindersley; Nine O’Clock Lullaby by Marilyn Singer; One World, One Day by Barbara Kerley
- Maps: Me on the Map by Joan Sweeney, As the Crow Flies by Gail Hartman; My Map Book by Sara Fanelli
- Other great books by Jonathan Bean: Big Snow; At Night