Happy Almost First Day of School! I know this beginning of the school year is harder than past ones. We at Colorful Pages hope that our educators and students are able to start the school year in the safest way possible. We also know that educators, librarians, and families are still super excited to see their student in whichever setting that is! 

Make sure to kick off the year right with a diverse book! I have listed 10 Diverse Picture Books for the First Day of School. Each book is perfect for the first day of school and features one or more Black Indigenous Characters of Color! By reading a diverse book on the first day, you are helping your student or child see that diversity and inclusion are core values at schools and sets the tone for the rest of the year.

The Day You Begin, by Jacqueline Woodson

The Spectrum of Multicultural Lit.: mostly Representation

Age Range: 5-8 years

The Day You Begin is a picture book about being different from others. It explores different situations where different characters feel like “the other” in places. The book shows how overcoming that feeling is so brave. The Day You Begin is great for the first day of school for grades K-5 because it is about entering into a new environment, which our students will be. Families and educators can use this book to start conversations about facing first day worries and creating an inclusive community in school. 

Suki’s Kimono, by Chieri Uegaki

The Spectrum for Multicultural Lit.: Between Exploration & Conversation

Age Range: 4-8 years

Chieri Ugeaki writes this picture book about Suki and her kimono that was given to her by her obachan. Suki decides that she wants to wear the kimono she loves so much on her first day of school. Her sisters try to dissuade her from wearing it by stating, “People will think you’re weird”. However, the blue kimono means so much to Suki that she is brave and decides to wear it! It is an important message for all children to hear about standing up for and sharing your culture and things important to your family..

The King of Kindergarten, by Derrick Barnes and Vanessa Brantley-Newton

The Spectrum for Multicultural Lit.: Representation

Age Range: 3-6 years old

The King of Kindergarten is a picture book about a little boy getting ready and going to his first day of Kindergarten. Barnes and Brantley-Newton beautifully position the little boy as a king ready to take on a new adventure with their illustrations and figurative language. The King of Kindergarten  is a great story for every child and it specifically helps empower our Black boys. It shows that they not only belong in school, but that they are kings and can achieve so much!

I Got the School Spirit, by Connie Schofield-Morrison

The Spectrum for Multicultural Lit.: Representation

Age Range: 3-6 years old

I just found this book and wish I had it in previous years teaching! It is the perfect quick read about the first day of school. I Got the School Spirit is about a little girl getting ready for her first day of school. She has school spirit and is super excited to be at school. This is a great read aloud to get students pumped for the first day!

Danbi Leads the School Parade, by Anna Kim

The Spectrum for Multicultural Lit.: between Exploration and Conversation

Age Range: 3-7 years old

In this picture book, Danbi is going to her new school in America! She is nervous and, when she gets there, she quickly realizes she doesn’t know any of the games or dances all the other students know. However, Danbi pushes through and leads a parade for her classmates. I am so excited for this book because it is a great way to talk about inclusion and culture. I could see teachers using this to talk about how we can make our classroom community more welcoming right from the beginning. 

Our Favorite Day of the Year, by AE Ali

The Spectrum for Multicultural Lit.: Exploration

Age Range: 4-8 years old

Our Favorite Day of the Year is about Musa and his journey in school. He is incredibly nervous for his first day of school and meets his classmates, Moisés, Kevin, and Mo. At first, Musa does not think they have anything in common, but then they take the time to get to know each other and become really good friends. This is great to read in the beginning of the year to explore how a class is composed of many different cultures and we can build beautiful friendships with everyone. 

Sumi’s First Day of School Ever, by Soyung Pak

The Spectrum for Multicultural Lit.: Representation

Age Range: 4-10 years old

Sumi’s First Day of School is about Sumi, a young Korean girl, and her first day at her new school. She does not know what to think about school at first, but then quickly develops a negative idea about school after experiencing some mean classmates and scary things. However, by the end, she realizes school can actually be a good place. This is another book that would be great for any classroom to talk about during the first day of school. Talk to your students about accepting every person into the classroom community and/or easing their own nerves!

All Are Welcome, by Alexandra Penfold and Suzanne Kaufman

The Spectrum for Multicultural Lit.: mostly Exploration

Age Range: 4-8 years old

All Are Welcome is a picture book about a group of children’s day in school. The school is filled with diverse identities that are accepted. The message of “All Are Welcome” is repeated through rhyming. This book screams “first day of school book”! It talks about appreciating all different kinds of identities and can help you start a conversation about making your classroom community a welcoming one. 

School’s First Day of School, by Adam Rex

The Spectrum for Multicultural Lit.: Representation

Age Range: 4-8 years old

Adam Rex writes about the first day of school from the school’s perspective. Frederick Douglass Elementary is prepping for the first day of school and then gets to see all the students that will be learning inside of them. The book depicts diverse characters and many Black Indigenous Students of Color. It is also illustrated by Christian Robinson, a brilliant Black illustrator! 

Our Class is a Family, by Shannon Olsen

The Spectrum for Multicultural Lit.: Representation

Age Range: 4+ years old

Our Class is a Family is a picture book about the classroom community. Each page talks about how school goes way beyond just teaching academics. The book is illustrated with diverse students and features some Black Indiguenous Students of Color. 

Post a picture of your first day of school with the diverse book you pick and tag us on Instagram @ColorfulPagesOrg!

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