Children’s Books about Building a Sense of Community
These children's books about community show positive examples of community building. Your students will see how they can work together to support others and make a difference, including within your classroom community.
Why Read Children’s Books About Community Building?
Reading children's books about community and belonging will give your students examples of how community building lead to positive outcomes, including:
- improving the quality of life of those living in the community
- understanding their role within a community
- community members working together
- compassionate attitudes towards those in need
- supporting each other and embracing those from outside the community
- making social connections with others
- getting support for personal challenges
- providing a sense of identity and belonging
Building a Positive Classroom Community
There are many benefits to building a positive classroom community, particularly when using picture books. These benefits include:
- Feeling a sense of belonging
- Feeling safe and a valued member of the classroom community
- Strengthening relationship skills and decreasing loneliness
- Improving negotiating skills
- Self-management of emotions
- Teamwork and cooperation
- Trust and understanding of other students
- Increasing responsibility
- Developing new interests
- Having support for personal and academic growth
Questions for Children’s Books About Community
- What is a community? Why is belonging to a community important?
- What communities do you belong to?
- How is our classroom a community?
- What do we need to build a positive/respectful community? (listening, etc)
- What can we do if there is a disagreement within a community?
- What do you expect from a community?
- How did working together help [character] feel like they were part of a community?
- Why was being part of a community important to [character]?
- Why do you think [character] was reluctant to ask [community] for help?
- How did [character] feel before and after being part of a community? Why did they change?
- Why did [character] do [action] when there was a disagreement? Did this strategy work?
- Why do you think [community] helped/supported [character]?
- What would have happened to [character] if they didn’t have [community] support?
Building a Community Activities and Graphic Organisers
Before you check out the picture books about resilience below, I have made a pack of graphic organisers and activities to use with A Chair for My Mother.
I have a freebie that is part of this larger resource so you can try it out before buying anything!
Fill in the form below to get access to the FREE pack.
If you already have access to the free resource library, you will find the freebie in the Reading section.
Children’s Books About Community
111 Trees: How One Village Celebrates the Birth of Every Girl by Rina Singh
Sundar Paliwal valued gender equality, but his village only celebrated the birth of boys. He resigned from his job and became the leader of Piplantri. Sundar persuaded the villagers to celebrate the birth of girls by planting 111 trees. Over time, these trees provided food, water and the opportunity for women to earn their own living.
Blackout by John Rocco
One hot summer night in the city, all the power goes out. One family go up to the roof to escape the heat and without the city lights, they can see the stars. Out on the street, neighbours are talking and playing, enjoying not being busy with technology. When the electricity come back on, everything goes back to normal… well almost.
Change Sings: A Children's Anthem by Amanda Gorman
A young girl bands together with a group of children to influence change in their community. They realise they have the power to change the world for the better, big and small, with their words and actions and inspire others to do the same.
The Colour of Home by Mary Hoffman
When Hassan and his family are forced to move to England because of war he feels lonely and out of place. He finds his new environment cold and grey compared to his colourful life in Somalia. Hassan feels more settled as he makes new friends and begins to appreciate the colours of his new home.
Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes
Digging for Words: José Alberto Gutiérrez and the Library He Built by Angela Burke Kunkel
Dreamers by Yuyi Morales
Yuyi Morales recalls her own experiences of migrating from Mexico to America with her young son. They face many cultural challenges, including learning a new language and new customs. Her local library offers an opportunity to learn about this strange, new country and find a new career.
Du Iz Tak? by Carson Ellis
Insects surround a new, green shoot and ask “Du iz tak?” They use a ‘ribble’ to climb the stalk and build homes on its branches. The shoot grows into a beautiful flower, but as the seasons change it wilts and the insects say goodbye to their home.
The Extraordinary Gardener by Sam Boughton
The Great Realisation by Tomos Roberts
Harlem Grown: How One Big Idea Transformed a Neighborhood by Tony Hillery
Hey, Wall: A Story of Art and Community by Susan Verde
A creative boy decided an abandoned wall in his neighbourhood creates a barrier. He empowers the community to come together to transform the wall into a piece of art.
Promotes messages of peace, a sense of community, creativity and empowerment.
The Invisible by Tom Percival
Isabel has moved with her family to a poor part of town. Living on a council estate, she fades away as one sees her as a person. She notices other people are invisible, including an immigrant, the homeless and the elderly. Isabel makes a positive difference to her community and the people often ignored by society.
Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña
A grumpy CJ and his nana ride a city bus full of wonderful characters. He wonders aloud why he doesn’t have the things his friends do and why they have to volunteer at the soup kitchen every week. His nana’s straightforward and positive responses help CJ see and appreciate what he has and what he can give.
The Librarian of Basra by Jeanette Winter
The Librarian's Stories by Lucy Falcone
Magic Trash: A Story of Tyree Guyton and His Art by J. H. Shapiro
Tyree Guyton created art from trash in his poor Detroit neighbourhood. The city destroyed his creations, but this didn’t stop him from working to improve the neighbourhood and make it safer.
Marvelous Cornelius: Hurricane Katrina and the Spirit of New Orleans by Phil Bildner
Cornelius takes great pride in keeping the streets of New Orleans clean. After the Mississippi river breaks its banks during Hurricane Katrina, Cornelius inspires the community to come together to clean up the city.
Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed A Neighborhood by F. Isabel Campoy
Based on the true story of the Urban Art Trail in San Diego, California. Mira is inspired by a mural artist to transform her grey city into colour. She, in turn, inspired the community to add their voice to the mural.
The Red Prince by Charlie Roscoe
When strangers invade the city of Avala, they capture a young prince. Imprisoned far from home he escapes but his red pyjamas against the snow make it easy for the jailers to see him. The prince finds great kindness from those living in his kingdom as they defeat the captors by wearing red to hide the prince.
Smoky Night by Eve Bunting
Daniel and his mother watch the LA riots happening in their neighbourhood. After going to bed, they wake to learn their building was on fire. Daniel hesitates as they evacuate because he cannot find his cat, but it is later found by a firefighter.
Sofia Valdez, Future Prez by Andrea Beaty
After Sofia’s Abuelo hurts his ankle at the Mount Trashmore, she brainstorms ways to make it safe. She develops a plan to turn it into a park, but when City Hall turns the idea down she gets the community involved to make her dream come true.
Something Beautiful by Sharon Dennis Wyeth
A Symphony of Whales by Steve Schuch
Thank You, Omu! by Oge Mora
Omu shares her delicious stew with everyone in the neighbourhood. They follow the amazing smell for a portion of Omu’s meal. Soon the pot is empty and her generosity means she has no stew left for herself. But the community show their gratitude by sharing their food with her.
We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom
An Indigenous girl tells the reader of her village's attempts to protect the water. One day a black serpent (oil pipes) will come to poison the water and it is the responsibility of her community to safeguard the water from harm and corruption.
What Is Given from the Heart by Patricia C. McKissack
When the Rain Comes by Alma Fullerton
In rural Sri Lanka, Malini helps plant the rice crop for the first time. The ox-cart arrives full of seedlings and the driver asks her to care for the ox. The skies darken and the monsoon rain falls, separating Malini from everyone. Rather than running for safety, she saves all the seeds from ruin.
Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox
A boy named Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge lives next to an old people’s home. His favourite resident is Miss Nancy Alison Delacourt Cooper. When Wilfrid finds out she has lost her memory he goes on a journey to discover what memories are so he can help Miss Nancy find hers.
How do you build a positive classroom community? What are your favourite books to use to promote a sense of community?
Have you found it more important than ever to build a sense of community since Covid and lockdowns?