Our Favorite Books

by Adam Welcome & Todd Nesloney, co-writers of Kids Deserve It, and co-founders of the #KidsDeserveIt movement

We love to read. We especially love to read to classrooms full of students. As educators, we know the importance of reading and how it affects every single part of a child’s education. But how do we instill that love of reading into our students, so it isn’t something they do just so the can get points or complete a book report?

Todd and Adam compiled a list of their favorite books to read with kids and basically just share with other educators. Many of the authors on this list are connected through social media and we encourage you to not only check out their books, but to also reach out on Twitter.

ralphRalph Tells a Story –  “I have nothing to write about”  – How often have you heard this? Ralph Tells a Story is hilarious and a great way to show kids that they do have a story, they just need to look for them! This book is also a great story to read with adults when you’re introducing social media and telling your school’s story. Many school leaders don’t feel anyone cares or is listening to what they potentially have to share, and boy are they wrong!

gastonGaston by Kelly DiPucchio (@kellydipucchio) is such a fun story and if you want to make it extra fun, read it in a French accent. Adam has read Gaston at least 150 times over the years to kids in his time as a Principal  There’s a great moral to the story of course and I’ve had some really great conversations with kids about being who you are and not trying to be like someone else.

oneOne by Kathryn Otoshi (@KathrynOtoshi) is another timeless classic to read with kids.  When I’ve read One to our classes over the years there were numerous parents in different rooms at times, they all cried. We’ve had 5th graders cry, ask me to read it again, it’s a must read. Everyone is important, should be included and build a community! Kathryn Otoshi does an absolutely amazing job of using colors and very simple ideas to convey very deep and important messages.

playingPlaying From the Heart is one of Peter H. Reynolds (@peterhreynolds) newest books and as always Peter does an amazing job with weaving in a message that resonates with all. Stop and take some time to enjoy those around you, build memories that last because those memories will stay with you forever!

IWishI Wish You More by Amy Krouse Rosenthal will spark conversation in your class for days and days. What do you wish for? What are your dreams? Have an idea, come up with a plan and go make it happen! I Wish You More is a must read.

stickandstoneStick and Stone by Beth Ferry is such an amazing conversation starter for kids at all levels. The first time you read it I would totally recommend that you read it again. There are some really deep messages you can grab from the story to discuss with kids. You can talk about the bully, the bystander and what everyone can do to help out the group. Stick and Stone should be in everyone’s classroom library!

CrayonsThe Day the Crayons Came Home is the sequel to the hit book “The Day the Crayons Quit”.  As a reader, I enjoyed this one even more than the first!  It’s funny, creative, and inventive.  Kids love hearing this story.

NinjaPigsThe Three Ninja Pigs is a creative re-telling of The 3 Little Pigs story that also deals with studying in school and being prepared.  This is especially a great story to read with younger students.  We use it all the time to convince Kindergartners that their teacher is secretly a ninja training them to be the best students ever.

IHateI Hate Picture Books is a great story about a little boy who is trying to convince the reader on how much he despises picture books.  But as you begin to read further and further into the story you realize that might just not be the case.

GivingTreeThe Giving Tree is a widely known story loved across generations.  This book is phenomenal.

stinkycheese4th and 5th graders especially have loved listening to us read this story to them.  It’s a creative re-telling of classic fairy tales with a humorous twist!  You’ll for sure be laughing hysterically throughout the book.

Mufaro.jpegMufaro’s Beautiful Daughters is a great story about two daughters who react very differently to their father’s search for a wife.

wolfieWolfie the Bunny is a cute story about a wolf who is adopted by some bunnies.  This is a great story about how appearances aren’t always what they seem!

Beekle.jpegThe Adventures of Beekle is an adorable story about an “unimaginary” friend who is in search of his own child to believe in him.

Plus two –

antoinetteAntoinette is a only on pre-order right now but having a sneak peak at Kelly DiPucchio’s newest book it’s going to be amazing for sure. Pre-order it now and you won’t be disappointed! Antoinette makes her big return after years of glory with Gaston. I. Can’t. Wait.

adatwist.jpegAda Twist Scientist is the newest book from Andrea Beaty (@andreabeaty) and I’ve been anxiously awaiting this one for months. Andrea does such an amazing job with rhyming her books, talking about STEM related careers and just making the readers laugh! Ada Twist Scientist was pre-ordered on my account months ago, check this book out for sure!

Reading is a fundamental skill. It is one that must be practiced and utilized. We can no longer treat our school like a place where reading only happens during a certain class period or predetermined time. Our students must also see us reading. They have to see us falling in love with books too, regardless of what our role is on campus!  You’re never too old to enjoy a good picture book.  Get out there and read today!

What are some of your favorite books to read with kids?

AdamWelcomeAdam Welcome is the Director of Innovation and Technology for the Mount Diablo Unified School District in CA. He is also a former Elementary Principal, NSBA ’20 To Watch,’ CUE Rockstar Faculty, Husband, Father, Runner, a #SAVMP mentor& Co-Founder of  . Reach out to Adam through his blog, on Twitter @awelcome, or on Voxer @awelcome.


Todd Nesloney is the Principal at  in Texas. He is also a White House Champion of Change, 2x  Recipient, NSBA 20 to Watch & Co-Founder of  . Reach out to Todd through his blog, on Twitter @TechNinjaTodd, or on Voxer @techninjatodd.


Are you interested in sharing your ideas, insights and questions? If so, click here to sign up for a post. Julie Vincentsen, Principal of Ruggles Lane School, will reach out with specifics. Are you interested but nervous because you’ve never blogged before and don’t know where to begin? Don’t worry – as long as you know how to use Microsoft Word you will be up to this challenge. We write for our communities all the time – this just changes your audience. You probably could even take a current newsletter you’ve written and repurpose it for your colleagues. You can also reach Julie through Twitter @jvincentsen or on Voxer @jvince9309.

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