happy students sitting in a classroom, diverse students

Back to School: How to Create a Welcoming Environment

At the beginning of a new school year, creating a classroom and a space where students and families feel welcome and comfortable is important. First Book has taken extra care to create resources and space for educators working diligently to help all students feel welcome. The First Book Marketplace is home to a large selection of educational resources available at affordable prices to the members of our Network.

Start Here for Back to School Resources

To help educators, schools, and districts get started this year, we felt it was important to acknowledge the current educational landscape. Where are we? What’s new? What can we work towards in the coming year?

Over the summer, First Book worked with education researcher Susan Neuman to develop a new tool that provides educators with a resource to evaluate and improve the quality and equity of their classroom libraries.

Visit our dedicated Literacy Rich Classrooms page to hear about new resources for the 2022-2023 school year as well as to learn more about First Book and Susan Neuman’s research. Download the Literacy Rich Classroom Library Checklist to assess your own classroom library.

happy students sitting in a classroom, diverse students

Free Guides to Revisit

First Book Network members have access to free resources to help them hold space for intentional lessons, to make space for diverse activities, and to help to address student mental wellness in classrooms. The team works with specialists in the field, in both research and creating lesson plans, to help shape in-person and remote learning opportunities for educators. Revisit popular tools like our Student Mental Health guide or download our new tools, like our Diversity & Inclusion Calendar.

Student Mental Health

​​​​​​Developed in response to Network member concerns, First Book and our subject matter partners at On Our Sleeves created Taking Care: An Educator Guide to Healthy Habits for Student Emotional Wellness. This free guide contains best practices and activities to optimize mental fitness and emotional resilience and decrease stress and anxiety. We include tangible advice and insights from educators and mental health practitioners in the First Book Network and leading behavioral health experts and wellness specialists. 

Diversity & Inclusion Calendar

Created in response to Network member feedback, the diversity-themed calendar highlights month-long observances, religious holidays, and dates of cultural, historical, and inclusive significance. The First Book team just launched the 2022-2023 calendar for the new school year. Download the free calendar to bring more inclusivity to the classroom.

Shop Our Marketplace

First Book’s title selection team works diligently to help Title I educators keep their libraries filled with new and relevant books each year on the First Book Marketplace. Recently, First Book has committed a $1.5 million investment to boost our inventory in this critical year, when educators need books more than ever. The inventory buys happening now will feature more than 60% diverse titles that reflect the kids served by the First Book Network.

Browse Recent Lists

Each month we curate themed lists for educators and First Book partners. Eligible educators shopping the Marketplace can start their libraries by browsing our most recent lists.

For more themes and book lists, browse Our Bookshelf.

Join Our Network

Educators can join First Book’s network — the largest and fastest-growing network of educators, schools, and programs serving children in need across the United States and Canada — to bring these titles to your classroom and to gain access to even more free resources.