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School Climate

Climate Reading List

Summer Reading Lists for All Grades (and Adults) from Teaching for Change


An excellent website examining American Indians in Children’s Literature.


Bilingual Spanish/English Books recommended by Welcoming Schools


Pioneer Climate Library:  This library collection is compiled from Pioneer Elementary School's Climate Parent Lending Library, and is a work in progress. All books have been donated to the school.  

  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Exploring Our World Through Literature
  • Friendship
  • Self Esteem

How to Take the Grrrr Out of Anger.  (2002). Elizabeth Verdick and Marjorie Lisovskis. Recommended ages: 9-12.

Description: "Anger is a part of life. We can’t avoid it, we shouldn’t stuff it, and we can’t make it go away. Kids need help learning how to manage their anger. This book speaks directly to kids and offers strategies they can start using immediately. Blending tips and ideas with jokes and funny cartoons, it guides kids to understand that anger is normal and can be expressed in many ways—some healthy, some not. It teaches them how to recognize anger in themselves and others, how to deal with situations and emotions (loneliness, guilt, frustration, fear) that lead to or mask anger, and how to deal with the anger they feel. Young readers learn that violence is not acceptable and there are better, safer ways to resolve conflicts. They also discover what to do when people around them are angry, how to get help, and how to locate other resources (books, hotlines, school groups) when they need more support." - Amazon.com

What to Do When You Worry Too Much: A Kid's Guide to Overcoming Anxiety. (2005). Dawn Huebner, PhD. Recommended ages: 6-12.

Description: "...an interactive self-help book designed to guide 6–12 year olds and their parents through the cognitive-behavioral techniques most often used in the treatment of generalized anxiety. Metaphors and humorous illustrations make difficult concepts easy to understand, while prompts to draw and write help children to master new skills related to reducing anxiety. Engaging, encouraging, and easy to follow, this book educates, motivates, and empowers children to work towards change. Includes a note to parents by psychologist and author Dawn Huebner, Ph.D." -maginationpress.com

When My Worries Get Too Big: A Relaxation Book for Children Who Live With Anxiety. (Formerly published as When My Autism Gets Too Big). (2006). Kari Dunn Buron and Brenda Smith Myles. Recommended ages: 6-12.

Description: (This book) ..."gives young children an opportunity to explore with parents or teachers their own feelings as they react to events in their daily lives. Through reading this story, children will learn invaluable relaxation techniques. Children who use the simple strategies presented in this charming book, brightly illustrated by the author, will find themselves relaxed and ready to work or play." -bn.com


Autism Spectrum Disorder
When My Worries Get Too Big: A Relaxation Book for Children Who Live With Anxiety. (Formerly published as When My Autism Gets Too Big). (2006). Kari Dunn Buron and Brenda Smith Myles. Recommended ages: 6-12.

Description: (This book) ..."gives young children an opportunity to explore with parents or teachers their own feelings as they react to events in their daily lives. Through reading this story, children will learn invaluable relaxation techniques. Children who use the simple strategies presented in this charming book, brightly illustrated by the author, will find themselves relaxed and ready to work or play." -bn.com

Exploring Our World Through Literature
All the Colors that We Are: The Story of How We Get our Skin Color/ Todos los Colores de Nuestra Piel: La Historia de Por que Tenemos Diferentes de Piel. (2002). Katie Kissinger. Recommended Ages: 4-8.

Description: "Help young children sort through the often confusing information and myths they receive about human skin color. With All The Colors We Are: The Story Of How We Get Our Skin Color by Katie Kissinger, children learn about melanin, the coloring chemical in our skin. The key concepts about the function of melanin, as a protector of our skin from damage by the sun, the correlation between environment and skin color, and the hereditary aspects of skin color are all beautifully explained in All The Colors We Are."- Amazon.com

Children Just Like Me. (1995). Susan Elizabeth Copsey and Barnabas Kindersley. Recommended ages: 9-12.

Description: "A delightful, attractive look at children from around the world. The authors spent two years meeting and photographing youngsters from every continent and more than 140 countries. The volume is divided by continent, which is introduced with photos of children, their names, and nationalities. Then a double-page spread features pictures of each child's food, eating utensils, housing, school, friends, and family. The text gives the young people a chance to comment on their favorite games, friends, and hopes for the future. The final section includes excerpts from the Kindersleys' travel diary. This book is factual, respectful, and insightful. It provides just the right balance of information and visual interest for the intended audience."- School Library Journal

Grandpa, is Everything Black Bad? (1998). Sandy Lynn Holman. Recommended ages: 4-10.

Description: "Like Langston Hughes in his poetry, this picture book openly confronts the way we often associate darkness and blackness with what is bad; it then answers the negatives with a vibrant celebration of African roots. For several pages, a child named Montsho asks his beloved grandfather about dark, scary nights, black eyes, black cats that bring bad luck, black as the color of mourning, negative stereotypes on television--and close to home, about why his aunt calls him the "black sheep of the family" because he is darker than his brothers. Grandpa hugs him close, beats a great African drum, and tells Montsho that black is beautiful. Handsome double-page spreads acclaim the history, spirit, and culture of Montsho's African heritage: "Africa is beautiful and so are its people with their beautiful, dark black skin." Children will appreciate both the candor and the comfort. This is a good book for bibliotherapy and to open up a discussion, especially if you use it with some of the singing poetry that celebrates 'I am the darker brother.'" - Hazel Rochman,  Booklist

Margaret and Magarita. (1996). Lynn Reiser. Recommended ages: 4-8.

Description: "Margaret and her mother come to the park, though the child protests that ``There is no one to play with''; Margarita, her mother, and a cat named Susana holding the identical conversation--in Spanish. They meet, and while the mothers (assuming that their language difference is a barrier) sit facing outward on the same bench, the little girls gesture, converse, and play with their toys, each picking up a few words of the other's language and parting as friends--with the mothers now smiling at each other. Constructed with unusual imagination and care, a bilingual story that makes a perfect first bridge from either language to the other, with simple but expressive art that will help define the words for new readers." -Kirkus Reviews

People. (1980). Peter Spier. Recommended ages:4-8

Description: "This is a large and very impressive introduction to the different kinds of people that inhabit our globe. The book discusses and illustrates our many cultures and lifestyles, our physical differences, as well as the similarities that bind us all. The pictures are very detailed and engaging." - alibris.com

That's My Mum/Esta es Mi Mama. (Available in several languages). (2002). Henriette Barkow & Derek Brazell. Recommended ages: 4-8.

Description: "Written in the first person, Mia tells us of her experience of being a child of mixed heritage. Find out how she and Kai overcome the prejudice of being judged by the color of their skin.  "A warm and simple story of how two children frustrated by others' assuming their Mums are their babysitters or their childminders, find a solution! Simple text and beautiful illustrations... provoke thought and discussion."-The Guide to Literacy Resources 2002

Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Journey to Change the World...One Child at a Time (The Young Readers Edition). (2009). Greg Mortenson. Recommended ages: 10+

Description: "In 1993, while climbing one of the world's most difficult peaks, Mortenson became lost and ill, and eventually found aid in the tiny Pakistani village of Korphe. He vowed to repay his generous hosts by building a school; his efforts have grown into the Central Asia Institute, which has since provided education for 25,000 children. Retold for middle readers, the story remains inspirational and compelling. Solid pacing and the authors' skill at giving very personal identities to people of a different country, religion and culture help Mortenson deliver his message without sounding preachy; he encourages readers to put aside prejudice and politics, and to remember that the majority of people are good. An interview with Mortenson's 12-year-old daughter, who has traveled with her father to Pakistan, offers another accessible window onto this far-away and underlines Mortenson's sacrifice and courage. Illustrated throughout with b&w photos, it also contains two eight-page insets of color photos.The picture book, while close in content to the longer books, is written in the voice of Korphe's children rather than providing Mortenson's view, making it easier for American kids to enter the story. Roth (Leon's Story) pairs the words with her signature mixed-media collage work, this time using scraps of cloth along with a variety of papers. Her work has a welcoming, tactile dimension—readers would want to touch the fabric headscarves, for example. A detailed scrapbook featuring photos from Three Cups of Tea and an artist's note firmly ground the book in fact." -Publishers Weekly

We All Have a Heritage. (2002). Sandy Lynne Holman. Recommended ages: 4-8.

Description: "This book by the author/illustrator team that created the thought-provoking and effective Grandpa, Is Everything Black Bad? (Culture CO-OP, 1998) is not as successful. Ink-and-watercolor paintings and rhymed text attempt to introduce children to cultural commonalities and differences. The message "We all have a Heritage,/yes this is true./It doesn't matter if your skin is black, white,/yellow, brown, red, purple or blue" is repeated throughout the book. Several of the rhymes are forced and awkward. The text does not identify any of the objects or ethnic groups portrayed in the illustrations. The colorful full-page paintings include such a hodgepodge of items that most children will be more confused than enlightened, even with adult explanation. While obviously well intentioned, this book offers too simplistic and didactic a treatment of a complex and important subject to be useful. For books that create awareness and appreciation of cultural differences, consider Barnabas Kindersley's Children Just Like Me (DK, 1995) or books by Ann Morris and Ken Heyman, including Bread, Bread, Bread (1989), On the Go (1990), and Work (1998, all Lothrop)." - Heide Piehler, Shorewood Public Library, WI, Reed Business information

Arnie and the New Kid. (1992) Nancy Carlson. Recommended ages: 4-8.

Description: "The new boy Philip, "different from most kids" because he uses a wheelchair, is generally ignored by his classmates because they don't know how to include him in their games. But when Arnie, his main tormentor, falls down the stairs while teasing Philip, the usually able-bodied boy discovers firsthand how hard and slow it is to navigate on crutches. The two develop a friendship as they realize all the things they both enjoy and can share together--birdwatching, reading, watching movies, and playing computer games. When Arnie triumphantly appears at school one day without his cast, he will only return to the baseball diamond if Philip can come along as coach. This is a triumphant ending to a purposeful story that will be welcomed for its lighthearted treatment of a common situation. Carlson's vividly colored cartoon illustrations feature a variety of animals humorously dressed in children's clothes. Children won't miss--but won't mind--the obvious moral." --Ellen Fader, Westport Public Library, CT

Being Friends. (2002). Karen Beaumont. Recommended ages: 4-8.

Description: "Through rhyming text, Beaumont conveys the joys of friendship between two girls while celebrating their similarities and differences. The words bounce along in language appropriate for children who are making their first friends: "I am me/and you are you./I like red/and you like blue." Many of the verses end with a line noting what both children like to do: "I like Saturn./You like Mars./We both like counting falling stars." Allen's expressive, colorful pastel illustrations on full spreads match the cheerful text, and offer lots of details to explore. Try this at storytime along with other books on friendship." Doris Losey, Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library, Tampa, FL


Ellie's Secret Diary (Don't Bully Me). (2004). Henriette Barkow and Sarah Garson. Recommended ages: 7-10.

Description: "An excellent source for clarifying issues involved in bullying.  The text has points for discussion and reflection on every page... The children liked it because it was true to life, also secretive and personal... Every school, where there are bilingual children, must have a copy of the book in the book corner of each class." -Celia Datta, Moorside School


Floppy Friends/Los Amigos de Floppy. (2004). Guido Van Genechen. Recommended ages: 4-6.

Description: "The cute bunny called Floppy (because has one straight ear and one floppy ear) is the main character of this adorable picture book created by award-winning author Guido Van Genechten. ... Floppy loves playing with his friends but they only play with rabbits that look like them. When a new rabbit arrives, Floppy makes him welcome but the other rabbits tease him and call him names. Will Floppy find a way to include Samy in their games? This charming book has been translated into many languages. In this bilingual edition it's presented in French and English languages side by side on each page."- amazon.com


Friendship. (2003). Isaac Seder. Recommended ages: 4-8.


Have You Filled  Your Bucket Today? A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids. (2006). Carol McCloud. Recommended ages: 4-8.

Description: "Through simple prose and vivid illustrations, this heartwarming book encourages positive behavior as children see how rewarding it is to express daily kindness, appreciation, and love. Bucket filling and dipping are effective metaphors for understanding the effects of our actions and words on the well being of others and ourselves." -Amazon.com


How are you Peeling? Foods With Moods. (2004). Saxton Freymann and Joost Elffers. Recommended ages: 4-6.

Description: "Photos of scowling oranges and gregarious scallions garnish this garden of delights from the creators of Play with Your Food. The recipe is simple and successful. Freymann and Elffers find a piece of "expressive produce" and attach two black-eyed peas for eyes. Without further ado, the veggie becomes a face, with a knobby stem or skinny root for a schnozzola; an upended mushroom has a hilarious piglike snout, while a kiwi fruit has a button nose. The animated groceries are exhibited, actual size or larger, against crisp hues of harvest gold, melon green or late-night-sky blue. Their groupings imply close relationships: lemons trade meaningful glances and a little onion cries."-Publishers Weekly.


Just Kidding. (2006). Trudy Ludwig. Recommended Ages: 9-12.

Description: "This companion to My Secret Bully (Tricycle, 2005) addresses the topic of teasing. D.J. is tired of Vince's mean-spirited comments at school. Vince knows which buttons to push, using the I was just kidding defense when he goes too far. Unsure how to handle the situation, D.J. talks with his father and his teacher and learns a few strategies to help him deal with putdowns. Most importantly, he realizes that he isn't the problem and that he hasn't done anything to deserve Vince's taunts. This frank and plausible story will help youngsters to distinguish between good-natured teasing and the destructive variety, empowering them by providing options they can use when faced with bullying. Realistic acrylic paintings beautifully capture the text's mood and action. Gustavson is adept at revealing the subtle emotions of his characters, and both D.J. and Vince will strike a familiar chord with readers. A foreword by a bullying-prevention consultant outlines four points that educators and parents need to impart to victims of this behavior. Also provided are conversation starters for further discussion, a list of pertinent organizations and Web sites, and suggested reading for both adults and children. This useful resource is an important addition to school and public libraries."–Carol L. MacKay, Forestburg School Library, Alberta, Canada


Margaret and Margarita. (1996). Lynn Reiser. Recommended ages: 4-8.

Description: "Margaret and her mother come to the park, though the child protests that ``There is no one to play with''; Margarita, her mother, and a cat named Susana holding the identical conversation--in Spanish. They meet, and while the mothers (assuming that their language difference is a barrier) sit facing outward on the same bench, the little girls gesture, converse, and play with their toys, each picking up a few words of the other's language and parting as friends--with the mothers now smiling at each other. Constructed with unusual imagination and care, a bilingual story that makes a perfect first bridge from either language to the other, with simple but expressive art that will help define the words for new readers." -Kirkus Reviews


My Secret Bully. (A companion book to Just Kidding). (2005). Trudy Ludwig. Recommended ages: 4-8.

Description: "This overtly bibliotherapeutic offering tackles the difficult topic of bullying. Monica and Katie have been friends since kindergarten, but lately Katie increasingly seeks to exclude and embarrass her pal in front of their classmates. Monica's despair and isolation are realistically portrayed and highlight the often-overlooked aggression between females. The child eventually shares her anguish with her mother, who effectively counsels her without presenting any pat solutions or easy answers. Lists of resources for adults and children and discussion points are appended. A muddy palette, uninspired renderings of the characters, and a small typeface detract substantially from the appeal of this picture book. Still, libraries may want to purchase it because of the scarcity of material on this very important issue." Rosalyn Pierini, San Luis Obispo City-County Library, CA


Say Something. (2008). Peggy Moss. Recommended ages: 9-12.

Description: "Can one person make a difference? Moss' obviously didactic book, which seems designed for group discussion about bullying, focuses on the role of the bystander, a girl who sees the sadness of the victim but does nothing ("I walk on the other side of the hall. I don't say those things"). Realistic, lively watercolor illustrations show the child in a diverse school community, where kids are picked on and called names for being slow or different. The girl feels sad for them, but she looks away--until one day, when she is alone, the bullies make her cry, and her friends do nothing. The dramatic climax is quiet: the girl reaches out to a child who always sits alone on the bus, and the children have fun together. This is one of the best of the recent books for discussion about teasing; its direct, first-person narrative and informal portraits bring close classroom, hallway, and schoolyard scenarios for kids and adults to talk about."- Hazel Rochman, The American Library Association.


A Smart Girls Guide to Friendship Choices: Dealing with Fights, Being Left Out and the Whole Popularity Thing. (2003). Patti Kelley Criswell. Recommended ages: 9-12.

Description: "From backstabbing to bullying to just being left out, here’s advice for girls about a whole host of friendship problems. How do you speak up for yourself when you’re worried about hurting your friend’s feelings? What if your best friend leaves you for the more popular crowd? What do you do when your friend the "rule setter" decides you’re not cool anymore? When- and how- do you get your parents involved without making things worse? Tips, quizzes, and real life stories about girls who’ve solved their friendship problems round out this timely advice book."-Amazon.com


Sorry! (2006). Trudy Ludwig. Recommended ages: 4-8.

Description: Ludwig continues to tackle serious subjects in this follow-up to My Secret Bully (River Wood, 2003) and Just Kidding (Tricycle, 2006). Here she deals with the insincere apology. Jack's friend Charlie behaves badly all the time and gets away with it by saying he's sorry even though he clearly isn't. Jack doesn't like this about Charlie, but he does like how being the boy's friend makes him a somebody. Then Charlie damages Leena's science-fair project, and she tells him that Sorry doesn't cut it! A teacher helps him understand that he has to make amends for the hurt and damage he has caused. With Jack's help, he fixes the project. In the end, Jack chooses Leena's company over Charlie's. An afterword on the importance of apology, an author's note, discussion questions, and Apology Dos & Don'ts are appended. The text is stilted and lacks an authentic age-appropriate voice. Manning's digital pastel-and-watercolor illustrations effectively capture the characters' myriad emotions and provide valuable support to the text. Purchase this title as need dictates.–Catherine Callegari, Gay-Kimball Library, Troy, NH, Reed Business Information.


We Can Get Along: A Child's Book of Choices. (1997). Lauren Murphy Payne, M.S.W. Recommended ages: 4-8.

Description: "Payne's attractive paperback reminds children how it feels when you get along with others--and how it feels when you don't. Each prettily and intricately bordered spread offers a message about treating others well on one page and then reiterates that message more simply on the facing page, resulting in a narrative that can be read alone. The basic message is to use one's own feelings as a guide to treating others: "I know how I don't like to be treated. I don't like to be teased, called names or yelled at." Within the borders, which feature such kid-appealing images as dinosaurs, stars, and baby chicks, are a multi-cultural group of children learning these important lessons. The book can help teachers, librarians, and parents find many ways for children, alone or in groups, to learn these lessons as well."- Ilene Cooper, Booklist.


When I Feel Jealous. (2005). Cornelia Maude Spelman. Recommended ages: 4-8.

Description: "In this picture book from The Way I Feel Books series, a little bear discusses jealousy in a straightforward manner. The bear/child gives examples of when and why she feels jealous, and she observes that others (grown-ups and even pets) also feel jealous sometimes. After giving a couple of strategies for dealing with her feelings, she concludes on a positive note. The sympathetic portrayal of common childhood experiences and the simplicity of the narrative make the information and advice accessible, even to preschoolers. Spelman addresses parents and teachers in a note, discussing how to help children acknowledge and deal with jealousy. With Parkinson's appealing illustrations of dressed animals putting a child-friendly face on the message, this is a good title for school and public libraries to have on hand."- Carolyn Phelan, American Library Association.


Words Are Not For Hurting. (2004). Elizabeth Verdick. Recommended ages: 4-8.

Description: "Before addressing the topic of the power of language, Verdick helps preschoolers focus on the fun of it, with words that are super short, really long, or just plain silly. She reminds young children that their words belong to them; they choose what to say and how to say it. She uses examples to help preschoolers understand how words can be helpful ("Let's work together") or hurtful ("You're stupid"), and she explores the feelings that result after hearing unkind words. She also explains how to take back hateful words by saying "I'm sorry," and what children can do when they hear something cruel being said. The brightly colored drawings, which bring the minimal text to life, are especially effective at showing the range of emotions children experience when they hear unkind language. An excellent resource for sharing at home and at preschools, this title closes with activities and discussion starters for adults to use with young children."- Karen Hutt, American Library Association.


I'm Gonna Like Me: Letting Off a Little Self-Esteem. (2002). Jamie Lee Curtis and Laura Cornell. Recommended ages: 4-8.

Description: "Celebrate liking yourself! With fun rhyming verses and fresh lively artwork, #1 best-selling team Jamie Lee Curtis and Laura Cornell’s new book is about how it’s important to like yourself every day. Through alternating points of view, a boy’s and a girl’s, I’m Gonna Like Me shows children that whether we get an answer wrong in school or are picked last for the team, what’s most important is liking who we are. In the tradition of this duo’s first New York Times best-seller, Today I Feel Silly, this new book shows us that whether life is sad or bad, liking yourself is what counts most. "- jamieleecurtixbooks.com


The Feelings Book: The Care and Keeping of Your Emotions. (2002). American Girl Library. Recommended ages: 9-12.

Description: "This companion to "The Care and Keeping of You" helps girls understand their emotions and deal with them. With tips on expressing feelings and staying in control, and letters from real girls written to "American Girl" magazine, this guide also gives advice on handling fear, anxiety, jealousy, and grief. A special section addresses fears related to events like school shootings and terrorist attacks. Illustrations." -powells.com


I Like Me! (1990). Nancy Carlson. Recommended ages: 4-8.

Description: "The ebullient pig-heroine is a happy adherent to the adage "Love Thyself." "I like me!" she exclaims from the cover and goes on to say, "I like my curly tail, my round tummy and my tiny little feet." The fresh-faced piggy elaborates: she always treats herself with respect by keeping herself clean, eating good food and exercising properly. She takes care of other important needs, too, drawing lovely pictures, reading good books and cheering herself up when she's feeling down. Never too hard on herself for failures, she points out that when she makes mistakes, she tries again. The formation of a healthy self-image, the cornerstone of a happy and successful life, is what this book is all about. Bright, colorful pictures complement the bouncy, upbeat text; Carlson skillfully imparts a positive message without denying that life holds embarrassingeven sadmoments. The book and its heroine are loaded with appeal."-Publishers Weekly