Building Community Read Alouds


Our School is a Family

by Shannon Olsen

“Our Class is a Family” is a book that will help build and strengthen that class community. Kids learn that their classroom is a place where it’s safe to be themselves, it’s okay to make mistakes, and it’s important to be a friend to others. When hearing this story being read aloud by their teacher, students are sure to feel like they are part of a special family.



The Big Umbrella

by Amy June Bates

By the door there is an umbrella. It is big. It is so big that when it starts to rain there is room for everyone underneath. It doesn’t matter if you are tall. Or plaid. Or hairy. It doesn’t matter how many legs you have.


by Carson Ellis

Home might be a house in the country, an apartment in the city, or even a shoe. Home may be on the road or the sea, in the realm of myth, or in the artist’s own studio.

Here We Are

by Oliver Jeffers

Our world can be a bewildering place so let’s explore what makes our planet and how we live on it. From land and sky, to people and time, these notes can be your guide and start you on your journey. And you’ll figure lots of things out for yourself. Just remember to leave notes for everyone else. Some things about our planet are pretty complicated, but things can be simple, too: you’ve just got to be kind.

front cover of "Maybe Something Beautiful"

Maybe Something Beautiful

by F. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell

This joyful story about a girl and a muralist who transform a grey neighbourhood by bringing the community together with art is based on the true story of the Urban Art Trail in San Diego, California.


by Julia Denos

Walking his dog at dusk, one boy catches glimpses of the lives around him in this lovely ode to autumn evenings, exploring your neighborhood, and coming home.

What Makes Us Unique?

by Jillian Roberts
When it comes to explaining physical, cultural and religious differences to children, it can be difficult to know where to begin. What Makes Us Unique? provides an accessible introduction to the concept of diversity, teaching children how to respect and celebrate people’s differences and that ultimately, we are all much more alike than we are different.

Same, Same But Different

by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw
Elliot lives in America, and Kailash lives in India. They are pen pals. By exchanging letters and pictures, they learn that they both love to climb trees, have pets, and go to school. Their worlds might look different, but they are actually similar. Same, same. But different!

On Our Street

by Jillian Roberts
On Our Street explores the realities of people living with inadequate resources. Using age-appropriate language, this book addresses mental illness, homelessness and refugee status as they are connected to this issue. Insightful quotes from individuals and organizations such as UNICEF are included to add further perspective on the issue. An invaluable section on how kids can help empowers readers to take what they have learned and use it to make a difference.

This Is How We Do It: One Day In The Lives Of Seven Kids From Around The World

by Matt Lamothe
Follow one day in the real lives of seven kids from around the world-Italy, Japan, Iran, India, Peru, Uganda, and Russia!

If the World Were a Village

by David J. Smith
Now, If the World Were a Village has been newly revised with updated statistics, several new activities and completely new material on food security, energy and health. By exploring the lives of the 100 villagers, children will discover that life in other nations is often very different from their own.

Same Difference

by Calida Garcia Rawles
Same Difference addresses the sensitive and sometime divisive issues of beauty and identity. It has a lyrical, upbeat air that begs to be read aloud and offers an engaging rhyme pattern for young children. Vivid illustrations capture the spirit and innocence of Lida and Lisa, two first cousins who find themselves at odds with each other over their physical differences. With the help of their wise grandmother, the girls soon realize that their bond is deeper than what they see and our differences are what make us beautiful.

Good Manners

Do Unto Otters: A Book About Manners

by Laurie Keller

Mr. Rabbit’s new neighbors are Otters. But he doesn’t know anything about otters. Will they get along? Will they be friends? Just treat otters the same way you’d like them to treat you, advises Mr. Owl.

Rude Cakes

by Rowboat Watkins

A not-so-sweet cake-who never says please or thank you or listens to its parents learns that even the rudest cake can learn to change its ways.

Use Polite Words – Animated Lesson with Sign Language



by Trudy Ludwig

Jack’s friend Charlie seems to know how to get away with just about anything. Adults always back down when you say you’re sorry. But does an apology count if you don’t really mean it? Jack learns that the path to forgiveness isn’t always the easiest. Includes afterword by apology-expert Dr. Aaron Lazare, M.D., note from author, and discussion questions.

Tomato Says Sorry

by Joanne Roach

Tomato upsets his friends and refuses to apologize until he learns that apologizing can make him feel better too.

Start with Sorry

by P.T. Finch

Luna gets jealous and angry when she is drawing with her brother. She makes a mistake and learns that she can offer a good apology to help make things better.

Teacher Resources:

The First Six Weeks of School

Day by day and week by week, The First Six Weeks of School shows K-6 teachers how to set students up for a year of engaged and productive learning by using positive teacher language to establish high academic and behavioral expectations;  and teaching the classroom and academic routines that enable a collaborative learning community to thrive.