- Agatha by Anna Pignataro (PreK-Grade 1)
- Amanda the Pig on Her Own by Jean Van Leeuwen, illus. by Ann Schweninger (Pre K-Grade 3)
- Bad Case of the Stripes by David Shannon (PreK-Grade 2)
- Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes (PreK-Grade 2)
- The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne (PreK-Grade 2)
- The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds (PreK-Grade 3)
- The Empty Pot by Henry Holt (PreK-Grade 3)
- Feelings by Aliki (PreK-Grade 2)
- Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae, illus. by Guy Parker-Rees (PreK-Grade 3)
- Hide and Seek Fog by Alvin Tresselt, illus. by Roger Duvoisin (PreK-Grade 3)
- Hooray for Me! by Remy Charlip and Lilian Moore, illus. by Vera B. Williams (PreK-Grade 2)
- I like Myself by Karen Beaumont, illus. by David Catrow (PreK-Grade 3)
- I Love My Hair by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley, illus. by E.B. Lewis (PreK-Grade 3)
- Island Boy by Barbara Cooney (K-Grade 2)
- It’s Okay to Be Different by Todd Parr (PreK-Grade 1)
- Josephine Wants to Dance by Jackie French (PreK-Grade 1)
- Knots on a Counting Rope by Bill Martin & john Archambault, illus. by Ted Rand (K-Grade 2)
- Marvelous Me: Inside and Out by Lisa Bullard, illus. by Brandon Reibeling (PreK-Grade 1)
- Me and You by Genevieve Cole (PreK-Grade 1)
- The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi (PreK-Grade 2)
- Outside Over There by Maurice Sendak (PreK-Grade 2)
- The Skin You Live in by Michael Tyler, illus. by David Lee Csicsko (PreK-Grade 3)
- Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun: Having the Courage to Be Who You Are by Maria Dismondy, illus. by Kim Shaw (PreK-Grade 4)
- Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell, illus. by David Catrow (PreK-Grade 3)
- The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf (PreK-Grade 2)
- Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig (K-Grade 2)
- Titch by Pat Hutchins (PreK-Grade 3)
- Turtle Knows Your Name by Ashley Bryan (PreK-Grade 2)
- What I Like About Me by Allia Zobel Nolan, illus. by Miki Sakamoto (PreK-Grade 3)
- Whoever You Are by Mem Fox, illus. by Leslie Staub (PreK-Grade 3)
- Woolbur by Leslie Helakoski, illus. by Lee Harper (PreK-Grade 3)
- You Are Special by Max Lucado, illus. by Sergio Martinez (PreK-Grade 2)
For older students:
Alvarez, Julia. The Secret Footprints. Dragonfly Books, 2000.
The Dominican folktale of the Ciguapas retold.
Backman, Fredrik. My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry. Atria, 2015. Print.
Seven-year-old Elsa loses her grandmother but begins a grand adventure when she inherits her letters. Each letter from her grandmother apologizes to someone she has wronged, and it leads Elsa onto a quest that shows her the world, and who her grandmother really was.
Baldacchino, Christine. Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress. Illus. by Isabelle Malenfant. Groundwood Books, 2014. Print.
Morris loves to use the dress-up station at his school and always chooses the tangerine dress. The other children shun him for his choice and never let them play with them. When he spends the day at home with a stomachache and paints a picture, everything changes.
Bell, Cece. El Deafo. Harry N. Abrams, 2014. Print.
Cece begins a new school with a hearing aid strapped to her chest. Her hearing aid may keep new friends at bay, but she begins to realize that it helps her hear the teacher from very far away, thus giving her a “superpower” and transforming her into “El Deafo.” Can she use this power to find true friends?
Bell, Elana. “Naming the Land.” Poets.org, Academy of American Poets, 24 July 2017, www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/naming-land
Bradley, Kimberly Brubaker. The War that Saved My Life. Dial Books, 2015. Print.
Ada escapes her mother and their one-room apartment when her brother is shipped out of London. She runs away with him and finds refuge with Susan Smith and she begins to move beyond her twisted foot and her previous cruel confinement.
Dickinson, Emily. “I’m Nobody! Who Are You? (260).” Poets.org, Academy of American Poets, 16 June 2016, www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/im-nobody-who-are-you-260
DiPucchio, Kelly. Gaston. Illus. by Christian Robinson. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2014. Print.
Gaston tries so hard to be a proper young pup. He doesn’t quite fit in with his poodle family. But when he meets family which looks a bit more like him and he switches places, something just doesn’t add up.
Hall, Michael. Red: A Crayon’s Story. Greenwillow Books, 2015. Print.
This red crayon isn’t really red – it’s blue! In a book about identity, we see red crayon trying to fit where they tell him he fits, but he can’t be red, no matter how hard he tries.
Henkes, Kevin. Chrysanthemum. Greenwillow Books, 1991. Print.
Chrysanthemum thinks her name is beautiful, and truly her, until she begins school. Her classmates tease her and she must learn how to stand tall again.
Hughes, Langston. “Theme for English B.” Poets.org, Academy of American Poets, 5 Aug. 2014, www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/theme-english-b
Hunt, Lynda Mullaly. Fish in a Tree. Nancy Paulsen Books, 2015. Print.
Ally moves from school to school managing to fool each new teacher through wise-cracking and distraction. But she finally meets her match in Mr. Daniel, who forces her to examine her dyslexia and an entire world opens up for her.
Johnson, Georgia Douglas. “Black Woman.” Poets.org, Academy of American Poets, 8 Dec. 2016, www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/black-woman
Korman, Gordan. Schooled. Disney-Hyperion, 2007. Print.
A homeschooled hippie kid has to enter the public school system and learn what it means to think beyond Buddhism and tye-dying.
Lai, Thanhha. Inside Out & Back Again. HarperCollins, 2011. Print.
The Vietnam War has reached Saigon and forces Hà to flee to America…and the very foreign world of Alabama.
Le Guin, Ursula K. Very Far Away from Anywhere Else. HMH Books for Young Readers, 2004. Print.
Inspiring novel about Owen’s coming-of-age. This scientist-to-be thinks he has it all figured out until he meets Natalie, and she gives him a place to feel at home while pushing him beyond his comfort zone.
Palacio, R.J. Wonder. Knopf, 2012. Print.
An uplifting story about Auggie, a facially-deformed kid who begins fifth grade for the first time at a school rather than home or a special school. Read as Auggie tries to maneuver the ways of school and friends with a loving but flawed family support system at his back.
Polacco, Patricia. I Can Hear the Sun. Philomel, 1996.
The orphan Fondo meets Stephanie Michelle as she comes to take care of the geese. Explores homelessness and outsiderness in a mythical way.
Ríos, Alberto. “The Cities Inside Us.” Poets.org, Academy of American Poets, 24 May 2017, www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/cities-inside-us
Rowell, Rainbow. Eleanor and Park. St. Martin’s Press, 2013. Print.
Two misfits find solace in each other at sixteen. Can a first love last?
Sexton, Anne. “Her Kind.” Poets.org, Academy of American Poets, 10 Mar. 2016, http://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/her-kind.
Sif, Brigitta. Oliver. Candlewick Press, 2012. Print.
Oliver is an imaginative introvert who leads a quiet but playful life. When he meets the girl next door, everything changes.
Sloan, Holly Goldberg. Counting by 7s. Dial Books, 2013. Print.
Twelve-year-old Willow Chance is a genius who loses her parents suddenly in a car crash. Her quietly happy life is up-ended and she is forced to deal with her grief and settle into a new surrogate family.
Trethewey, Natasha. “Theories of Time and Space.” Poets.org, Academy of American Poets, 27 Feb. 2015, www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/theories-time-and-space