School supplies, backpack, shoes, check. Now it’s time to shop for a few New Picture Books for Back to School. Here is a list of beautiful new books that kids can enjoy on the bus, in a waiting room, or in their reading nook at home. These picture books reinforce important themes like learning how to pronounce names correctly, understanding that families don’t always “match”, learning about all the beautiful shades of skin, and the importance of kindness and empathy towards kids who may be different.
Mirha is so excited for her first day of school! She can’t wait to learn, play, and make new friends. But when her classmates mispronounce her name, she goes home wondering if she should find a new one. Maybe then she’d be able to find a monogrammed keychain at the gas station or order a hot chocolate at the cafe more easily.
Mama helps Mirha to see how special her name is, and she returns to school the next day determined to help her classmates say it correctly–even if it takes a hundred tries.
THAT’S NOT MY NAME Written and Illustrated by Anoosha Syed, Published by Viking Books for Young Readers
When Bellen Woodard’s classmates referred to the skin-color” crayon, in a school and classroom she had always loved, she knew just how important it was that everyone understood that “skin can be any number of beautiful colors.” This stunning picture book spreads Bellen’s message of inclusivity, empowerment, and the importance of inspiring the next generation of leaders.
Bellen created the More Than Peach Project and crayons with every single kid in mind to transform the crayon industry and grow the way we see our world. And Bellen has done just that! This moving book includes back matter about becoming a leader and improving your community just like Bellen. Her wisdom and self- confidence are sure to encourage any young reader looking to use their voice to make even great spaces better!
MORE THAN PEACH Written by Bellen Woodard and Illustrated by Fanny Liem, Published by Scholastic Inc.
In Mixed City, when colors care for each other, they decide to mix. They create families that come in every combination of colors, shapes, and sizes. But sometimes those sizes, shapes, and colors can change. And change isn’t always easy. It might be hard to get used to. It might make some colors feel worried, or sad. Remixed: A Blended Family is an inspiring picture book that celebrates the strength and resilience of remixed families and the beauty of chosen families, showing how even after change, or loss, love can thrive.
REMIXED Written and Illustrated by Arree Chung, Published by Henry Holt & Company
I gather the books in my arms, and give them a hug. Welcome back, I whisper. Nicky is a shy girl who feels most at home in the safe space of her school library, but the library closes for a week and Nicky is forced to face her social anxiety. When she meets a group of unique, diverse, inspiring women at her mother’s diner–members of a women’s motorcycle club–Nicky realizes that being different doesn’t have to mean being alone, and that there’s a place for everyone. Book lovers of all ages will find inspiration in this beautiful love letter to reading–and how words help us find empathy and connections with the world around us.
EVERYTHING IN IT’S PLACEWritten by Pauline David-Sax, Illustrated by Charnelle Pinkney Barlow, Published by Doubleday Books for Young Readers
Alex’s enthusiasm and energy can sometimes be a challenge for his classmates. He loves to play ball on the playground with his friends, but when his rambunctious behavior inadvertently upsets one of the other students, he finds himself at odds with the whole class.
A perfect companion to the picture book I Walk with Vanessa, which Parents magazine named the Best Book of the Year about kindness, this story explores the difficult feelings that come with apologies and forgiveness. In a story that sees the perspective of both sides, Alex learns quickly that the right thing to do is say he’s sorry, leaving it up to his friend to find the compassion and empathy to accept it.
This wordless picture book is a good reminder that it’s important to take responsibility for a mistake but that it’s equally important to be ready to forgive.
Bethany Edwards is an elementary educator as well as a reading and literacy specialist. On Biracial Bookworms, she focuses on multiracial and multicultural resources for teaching literacy skills using reading, travel, and learning multiple languages. Additionally, she offers online and self-paced courses for parents and caregivers on Biracial Bookworms Academy.