Most states are going back to school within the following weeks or even might have started a couple of weeks ago, but how is going back to school during the pandemic going to look like? Well, as we are learning it will look and be quite a different experience depending on your state, county, school district, or even public vs private school. The only common theme is that it will be different.
Here are some Spanish and English book recommendations to support and navigate the 2020 back to school.
1. Behind My Mask; Detrás de Mi Cubrebocas by Martha Samaniego and Dan Heiman
- Ages: All Children
- Grades: All
- Language: Bilingual - English & Spanish
Concept: Kids are encouraged to talk about their feelings, how using a mask makes them feel, but it is also a conversation starter around identities, and the current social movements happening in the US. The book promotes the use of masks and explains how masks help protect children and their community. It includes unfinished pages for children to draw their own masks as well as their faces and express their feelings and emotions. The authors have also created a blog with additional resources per grade to engage in the conversation. They provide suggested questions, free to print pages and additional links to relevant resources around current social movements.
What we liked about the book: This book supports the conversation around feelings. Our preschool children are just learning about feelings and boy do they have big feelings sometimes. Being able to recognize feelings, name them and understand why you are feeling it, helps build emotional intelligence in kids all ages. We love the resources provided by the authors that also address the current sociopolitical climate in the US. It helps by age and maturity explain what is happening in our country in a firsthand perspective as the author is an immigrant herself.
Click here to buy the book:
2. A Little Spot series by Diane Albert
- Ages: 4-11
- Language: English
Concept: A Little Spot has a series of books to help explain children the changes in our current environment.
A Little Spot Stays Home is a short story to help them understand what a virus is, and why remaining home and safe distance is important and necessary. It also supports overcoming feelings such as anxiety and sadness that children might be feeling with all the changes to their environment.
A Little Spot Wears a Mask is a fun story that helps kids feel comfortable using a mask and supports teaching proper use of it.
A Little Spot Learns Online a story to help children transition to online learning by setting expectations and helping with recommendations on how to prepare for a virtual classroom.
What we liked about this series: We are living in unprecedented times of tough changes, that have been particularly challenging for all and especially for little children as their world was vastly impacted. This series offers the support to start the conversation and set clear expectations of what the new normal looks like. The series will help give the full picture to the kids, from why it’s important to stay home and social distance, to when we do go out how masks protect us and those around us and more importantly how to prepare and what to expect for an online learning experience.
3. Pequeñas grandes preguntas ¿Qué son los gérmenes? by Katie Daynes and Marta Alvarez Miguens
- Ages: 2 – 5 years
- Grade: Preschool – Kindergarten
- Language: Spanish
Concept: With extremely easy language and fun illustrations this flap book helps explain what germs, virus and bacteria are, where do they live and how to prevent getting sick because of germs.
What we liked about this book: Germs, virus and bacteria are challenging to explain especially to preschoolers who are so visual and need to see it to understand it. This book’s simplified language and engaging illustrations helps them visualize what these micro-organisms are, where are they and why we cannot see them, but more importantly how to protect ourselves from them.
4. All are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold and Suzanne Kaufman
- Ages: 4-8 years
- Grade: Preschool – 3rd grade
- Language: English
Concept: This book celebrates diversity, inclusion, and community. It follows a group of children through their day in school. A school where children of all backgrounds are welcomed, learn from each other, and celebrate each other.
What we liked about this book: Well, as if COVID was not enough, we are also living in a very challenging and pivotal sociopolitical environment, particularly in the US. BLM, #MeToo, #Niunamenos, some of the biggest moments that have made us question how we can raise a more inclusive and accepting generation. This book is offering a starting point, because it’s never too early to talk about inclusion, acceptance and to spread the welcoming message.
5. Un Beso en Mi Mano / The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
- Ages: 3-7 years
- Grade: Preschool – 3rd grade
- Language: available in English and Spanish versions
Concept: School is starting, and Chester Raccoon is a bit scared. His mom shares with him a family secret called the Kissing Hand to give him reassurance of her love and help him navigate his day and his emotions.
What we liked about this book: This book was recommended by our preschool principal. After the typical intro meeting for preschool we approached Ms. Wendy with a huge concern, what will happen on those first weeks when our oldest would start school. A little 3-year-old whose world consisted of her parents, her tias and her nanny, now sitting by herself in a classroom with a teacher and a bunch of toddlers her age. When I first read it, I cried and realized that both mommy and bodoque will need un beso en mi mano to help us transition to a new phase.