Library Orientation Picture Books

Hi, friends! My favorite part of Library Orientation is sharing great picture books to get the school year off to the very best start! Let’s talk about eight recent titles that your students will love to share with you!

Library Orientation Picture Books

When I think about how I want to start the school year with students, especially in the challenging fall of 2020, I think about this quote from Brené Brown in Dare to Lead: “What we can do, and what we are ethically called to do, is create a space in our schools and classrooms where all students can walk in and, for that day or hour, take off the crushing weight of their armor, hang it on a rack, and open their heart to truly being seen.” I believe the library should be a safe and happy place where our students can lay down their protective armor and connect, heart to heart.

I used to begin the school year with lots of rules about how to treat books and when to return them. But I realized that I was putting students on the defensive before we even had a chance to build a relationship. I prefer to start the school year with brief instructions about how we take care of our library books, with more time spent enjoying a really fun story together.

These are my eight favorite library orientation picture books. I have included Amazon affiliate links, which means that if you purchase through the link, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

The Book That Jake Borrowed by Susan Kralovansky

The Book That Jake Borrowed front cover

This story is based on the cumulative folk tale, The House That Jack Built, with repetition and animal sounds to engage your young library learners. Let them join you in the “woof, woof,” “meow, meow” “squeak, squeak,” oh, gross” and “oh, no,” and you’re already building a community of readers. Poor Jake’s library book has jelly drips, mouse licks, and dog chews. Jake pays for the book, the librarian smiles and lets him check out more books. After sharing Jake’s adventures, you can read the page at the end which reviews book care with pictures.

Where Are My Books? by Debbie Ridpath Ohi

Where Are My Books? front cover

I hope you already know and love the work of illustrator Debbie Ridpath Ohi. She wrote and illustrated Where Are My Books?, and I love this picture book for library orientation! Spencer enjoys reading a book every night at bedtime and putting it back in its place, but suddenly books are missing, with tiny gifts in their place. What could be happening? Not only does Spencer solve the mystery, he also finds a way to solve the problem of the missing books AND establish a library for his new squirrel friends. Debbie Ridpath Ohi has created printable activity pages that you can download here. I love how the main character shows a love of reading AND a good habit of putting his book in the same place every night.

Abner & Ian Get Right Side Up by Dave Eggers

Abner & Ian Get Right Side Up front cover

This is an interactive read-aloud that you may not be able to fully enjoy until this pandemic is over. The main characters ask the reader to shake the book so that they are standing on the ground right side up. They keep ending up sideways and upside down, and it will be really engaging once we are able to hand books back and forth to students so they can try shaking Abner and Ian. There is nothing about book care here, but this picture book provides a great opportunity to show your students how much fun a book and reading can be.

Bunny’s Book Club by Annie Silvestro

Bunny's Book Club front cover

Isn’t this cover lovely? This Bunny loves to hear the librarian reading aloud during summer storytime outdoors. When the weather cools and storytime moves inside the library building, a desperate Bunny sneaks into the library through the book return slot. When the librarian catches Bunny and friends, she gives them library cards and explains how to borrow and return books. I love the sweet way this story explains how a library works, especially for our young students who may not be familiar with a public library.

Bunny’s Book Club Goes to School by Annie Silvestro

Bunny's Book Club Goes to School front cover

After you read Bunny’s Book Club, read this sequel to your students next! They will be delighted to see the animal characters they already know appear in another book. In this story, Bunny and his woodland friends explore the school building, looking for their reader friend Josie. This book provides a great opportunity to review school vocabulary, see diverse school children, and share the joy of a new school year.

Reading Beauty by Deborah Underwood

Reading Beauty picture book

Reading Beauty is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty, told in verse and set in space. She reads helpful books to figure out how to break the fairy’s curse and earn her own happily ever after. I love that this book shows a heroine who loves reading and who knows that reading books can help us solve our own problems. Your second and third graders who are familiar with the original fairy tale will enjoy talking about how this story is the same as the original and how it is different.

The Book Hog by Greg Pizzoli

The Book Hog front cover

The Book Hog is about a pig who adores the way books look, feel, and smell, but can’t read them. The elephant librarian patiently teaches him how to read. Be sure to observe with your students what the book titles look like before the pig learns to read (fuzzy lines) and after (letters that we can read). Non-readers will see themselves as part of the reading community, and everyone will see how helpful librarians can be.

Read the Book, Lemmings by Ame Dyckman

Read the Book Lemmings Front Cover

Have you already read and loved Wolfie the Bunny and Horrible Bear, also by Ame Dyckman? Read the Book, Lemmings! is the perfect library orientation picture book for your older students who will appreciate the sarcasm. The lemmings keep jumping off the S.S. Cliff into the icy waters. After several chilly rescues, Foxy realizes that the lemmings can’t read the book about themselves, so he teaches them to read. I like the message of this book (delivered with a splash of humor) that books make our lives better. You could easily follow up this read-aloud with an introduction to library databases, and ask your students to find a fact about lemmings.

Library Orientation Activity Pages

Do you love these books? Ready to share them  with your library learners?  Click here to get FREE Google Slides activity pages to use with these eight library orientation picture books. You’ll be asked to make a copy of the Google Slides that you can save in your own Google Drive.

Blog Hop

Want more great ideas for back to school? Check out these blog posts from my librarian friends!

Collaborate with your Specials on Classroom Management (That Library Girl)

Google Sites and Google Classroom (Fifth in the Middle)

Creating a Culture of Reading (Teaching with Tiff)

Build Your Google Site (The Library Patch)

Tips and Tricks for Decorating Your Media Center (Mrs. Molly’s Menagerie)

Positive Powerful Affirmations for School Librarians at Work (Primary On the Prowl)

Organizing & Teaching Library Class on a Cart (Mrs. J in the Library)

More Ideas for Back to School in the Library (The Trapped Librarian)

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