Many of us kick off our Social Studies curriculum with a unit on communities! This is an important building block to a student’s understanding of their place in the world and how it works! I previously talked about how to teach about communities, but today, I want to recommend a few excellent books for your community unit! All of the book links below are affiliate links to Amazon!
This is How We Do It
First, let’s take a look at This is How We Do It by Matt Lamothe. This book shows a day in the life of seven different kids from seven different places around the world. This book is great for your community unit because it doesn’t focus on just one type of community. Students will be able to observe the elements of community that are shared and can be found everywhere. In addition, they can see the elements that are specific to a particular community! I love using this book to kick off this unit!
Look Where We Live
This next book is a definite must-have for your community unit! This book follows five friends spending their day all around their community. They do all sorts of activities that are meant to raise money for their community library. Everywhere they go, they learn about the people and places that make up their community. There is even a map of the community with the locations labeled: school, police station, gas station, soccer field, retirement home, community garden and the library! Each place and person helps the kids understand something important, like economy, geography, responsibility, teamwork, cooperation, etc. By the end of this story, your students will be thinking deeply about communities!
Our Class is a Family
This story takes the concept of community and applies it to a classroom. We all know how important it is to create a sense of community in our classrooms. We need to provide a safe, inclusive, welcoming environment that allows our students to feel comfortable in their learning space. I love the message of this book, providing students with a sense that a class is more than just a class, that it is a family. The story shows that it is okay to yourself and to make mistakes and that we all have important roles in our class “family”. This book provides an opportunity to take the elements of community and apply them to your own classroom!
A Place Called Home
Next, we have a fun book that allows us to take a peek inside homes from all around the world. This book is full of “lift-flaps” that show the inside of a traditional mud hut in East Africa, a snow-covered wooden cottage in Greenland, raised jungle treehouses in the Amazon, and more! As students see the different places around the world, they will learn about the important things for each community, giving a unique perspective on diversity in communities.
Helpers in Your Neighborhood
National Geographic always has great, nonfiction readers on important topics. This one is a good book for your community unit because it describes the everyday helpers in your community. There are great photos and descriptions of everyone from teachers to mail carriers! Here, you can spark a deep discussion of the cooperation and collaboration it takes to have a strong community!
Whose Tools Are These?
Whose Tools Are These? is a cute book that details the tools used for different jobs. It is perfect for your community unit because all jobs are important to a community! Start your discussion of future career paths with your students! Throughout the unit, they may change their mind, or, they may feel more strongly about the job they want to do!
What Shoes Will You Wear?
This sweet book is about twins who love shoes. It is an excellent addition to continue your discussion about future careers. The dad is the story chooses to spark a conversation with the twins about their futures, using their love of shoes as a starting point. What kind of shoes will they wear? There are a variety of careers discussed in the book, adding emphasis on universal skills that are helpful in all careers: responsibility, integrity, punctuality, teamwork, self-confidence, etc. I love the message that there is a job fit for every type of person and personality, not placing a weight on any one type of job!
These next two books are about Career Days! This story talks about the parents coming in to visit Ms. Madoff’s class to talk about their jobs. They hear from a veterinarian, a construction worker, and more! Hearing about the different traits of specific jobs, students start to think about which sounds most appealing to them!
This Career Day book is focused more on careers in STEAM. Simone learns all about some of the incredible women who have pioneered the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math! In Career Day, Simone learns about STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) This book inspires gender positivity and opens the conversation to all careers being inclusive for girls! This isn’t just a great book for your girls, though. It is the perfect launching point for a discussion on inclusivity and acceptance by all for all in any field. All of your students will remember being encouraged to pursue any career path they choose, to support their fellow students and colleagues, regardless of their gender, to believe in themselves and one another!
Whose Hands Are These?
Similar to Whose Tools Are These?, this book attaches hands to careers. Throughout the story, there are hands that are doing different tasks, making repeat appearances. Students will be guessing which job the sets of hands are doing in this fun book about careers!
Jobs Around Town
Lastly, a Berenstain Bears book about jobs! This book has a more directed focus on how using our natural talents can help us find careers we would be good at! It is helpful to know that people have varying talents and interests so that we can all do different jobs! With this book, you can open the discussion on how all jobs and careers are important and that we can’t all do the same job, or our communities wouldn’t run properly!