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Moving Class: 5 Picturebooks for Transition Days

Looking for ideas for transition day activities and books? From dealing with emotions about moving class and finding getting to know you activities to embracing icebreaker discussions and transition day art ideas, on this blog we recommend five top books to share with your new class during transition days and moving up sessions.
books for transition days with transition day activities

books for transition days with transition day activities

5 Picturebooks for Class Transition Days

As the end of the school year gets closer and teachers get ready to say goodbye to one class and hello to another, it’s time to embrace the fresh adventure that welcoming a new class can bring.

Teachers are not the only ones who can feel nervously excited about move-up days. Moving up a class can be a big deal for many children, and transition days are a wonderful opportunity for teachers to break the ice and get to know a new set of pupils. Many teachers find that books provide a wonderful shared experience that breaks the ice and creates a class bond through sharing a story. What’s more, well-chosen stories and the arising conversations can provide a unique opportunity to address the whirlwind of emotions associated with transitions, from shyness and anxiety to excitement and ambition.

With transition days just around the corner, we’ve handpicked a list of picture book recommendations to share with children during move-up days or class transition sessions. This blog highlights five great book choices for transitions alongside suggestions for transition day activities. You can find even more recommendations on our class transitions booklist.

 

 

1. Can I Build Another Me? by Shinsuke Yoshitake

Recommended for: celebrating individuality and getting to know each other

This is a wonderful picturebook from our All About Me topic booklist, all about the nature of individuality. The story is perfect for getting to know your pupils and for establishing a classroom or school culture where the uniqueness of each person is celebrated.

The book invites readers on a whimsical journey that follows a young boy’s desire to create a robot clone of himself. However, before he can bring his cloned self to life, he must embark on a quest to uncover the essence of his individuality. What is it, exactly, that makes him who he is?

Bursting with imaginative illustrations, this thought-provoking book offers an engaging and enjoyable experience that not only sparks discussion but also serves as an ideal catalyst for exploring the concept of each person’s distinct uniqueness. Teachers could use this book as an icebreaker discussion to enable a new class to get to know themselves and others. Teachers might also use the book as a basis for thoughtful artwork based on the fun labelled diagrams in the book or for PSHE lessons about expressing and celebrating individuality.

 

can I build another me

You can use Can I Build Another Me? with pupils right across the primary age range as an icebreaker to get to know pupils better or as a starting part for fun art activities. Younger classes will enjoy imagining what robot clones of themselves might look, act and feel like, while older children can get philosophical about the factors that have come together to make them who they are, or even about the potential ethics of cloning oneself (I’m sure overly busy teachers at the end of a school year may also be tempted to wish for a clone!).

Either way, this is a really fun focal point for the first sessions with a new class and one that works best if children are given enlarged or close-up access to the illustrations.

Purchase Can I Build Another Me from Amazon or BookShop.

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2. Mooncat and Me by Lydia Corrymooncat and me

Recommended for: reassuring children when they are anxious about transitions

Mooncat and Me is a beautifully gentle book from our New Beginnings booklist, exploring the theme of change and transition.  The book is full of imagination, depicted through the main character, Pearl, who expresses her thoughts and feelings about the changes she is experiencing in a relatable way. This book reminds readers about the importance of not having to face challenges alone and that it’s OK to ask for help.

Moving home and school is a real emotional rollercoaster for Pearl, supported by her imaginary Mooncat when she needs him most. Mooncat helps Pearl feel safe as she explores her new surroundings with her mum and when she faces the challenge of starting her new school.

The story ends perfectly and although this is a must-read for a child moving house or school, it’s a beautiful story for new classes as a way to explore dealing with the emotions associated with changes. We especially loved the details in some of the pictures, especially where they depicted different people – a great opportunity to use imagination and wonder empathically about the stories about the lives of others. The reader might wonder if Mooncat visits them too.

This is a good choice of book for class swap days if you have children who are likely to be anxious about change and transition. Why not invite children to draw some of themselves in their new classroom, meeting new classmates or completing a lesson with their new year group – and have them draw Mooncat alongside to reassure them that they can embrace the new challenges ahead with positivity and warmth? Alternatively, you could make a collaborative Mooncat collage that will be ready to greet your pupils in their new classroom when they return in September.

Purchase Mooncat and Me from Amazon or BookShop.

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mixed3. Mixed by Arree Chung

Recommended for: establishing a classroom culture of acceptance where diversity is celebrated

Mixed is a delightful picturebook from our Colours Booklist that tells the stories of different colours. Set in a world initially painted in just the three primary colours – red, yellow, and blue – the three colours lived in harmony until one day, red’s declaration of being the best colour shatters the peace. After this, the colours segregate themselves into isolated neighbourhoods where they no longer mix.

When a forbidden love between yellow and blue blossoms, everything changes again. The result is the birth of green. Green’s undeniable beauty sparks a revolution amongst the colours, and before long, more colours mix, transforming the once monochrome world into a vibrant tapestry of countless new colours.

There’s so much to love about this book. On a basic level, the unique storyline lends itself to fun art activities exploring colour mixing, and the illustrations will undoubtedly inspire fingerprint scenes. On a deeper level, conversations about friendship, unity, and embracing difference naturally spring from this joyful picture book. It allows pupils to consider how they might build an environment of acceptance and unity in their classrooms and wider communities.

Teachers choosing this book for their transition day lessons might wish to brainstorm with new pupils ways to make their classroom an accepting and inclusive place to learn and thrive, and how diversity helps communities to grow. For older pupils, fingerpaint artwork in the style of the book’s illustrations could follow, where line-drawn classroom scenes in black ink replace the town scenes and incorporate all different colours of fingerpainted figures enjoying a happy classroom. For younger pupils, colour mixing and recording fingerprints on either a blank page or a pre-drawn scene can also make a fun project for transition days. There is also an activity kit free to download from the publisher. 

mixed arree chung

Purchase Mixed from Amazon or BookShop.

 

 

4. Find Your Happy by Emily Coxhead

 

Recommended for: an icebreaker for finding out what makes your pupils feel happy

Find Your Happy is a bright, welcoming book that is bound to get children talking about emotions. Despite being called ‘find your happy’, the book recognises that it is sometimes hard to feel happy all of the time and that every day can be different. Times of change and transition can evoke a range of different emotions and this book offers a springboard into talking about how pupils feel about moving class and how they might react to different emotions when they arrive.

A variety of emotions are highlighted in this book, including anger, worry and shyness. Each emotion comes with small tips and tricks that any individual child could easily use in real life to help make themselves feel better and to also help them embrace the emotion. In particular, the page about feeling sad and the encouragement given to talk to someone trusted is a particularly important one that could strike up many conversations and support children’s emotional literacy.

The book features on our Reception reading list but is also widely enjoyed by older children.find your happy The wording and designs of each page are colourful, engaging and fun, making the book easy to follow. Teachers find that the book can be a good stimulus for a ‘one-off’ lesson just as much as a series of learning about different emotions.  The motif of a sloth animal running throughout each page is also an appealing addition, adding subtle humour and is sure to be a hit with children.

It will no doubt leave readers with a heart-warming feeling inside and lots of great advice that they can use when understanding and embracing a gamut of emotions. The book encourages readers to think about different ways that they ‘find their happy’ and this could provide teachers with an opportunity to get to know what things make their new pupils feel happy, perhaps leading to an art or writing activity for transition day.

Purchase Find Your Happy from Amazon or BookShop.

 

 

5. All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold & Suzanne Kaufman

Recommended for: creating a culture of inclusivity and reflecting on making the classroom a welcoming place

A simple but powerful rhyming picture book that shines a light on the importance of inclusivity in the classroom.

Right from its opening lines, “Pencils sharpened in their case, Bells are ringing, let’s make haste, School’s beginning, dreams to chase. All are welcome here,” the book exudes an essence of acceptance and unity that strikes a chord as pupils settle into the culture of their new class. The book uses the format of a school day to show how different classmates are equally included, and the repeated refrain of ‘All Are Welcome Here‘ is one that classes could easily adopt as their own motto.

For any school or teacher committed to diversity and inclusion, this is an essential book with a clear message elegantly conveyed through the journey of a group of children as they navigate a day at their school, where the very essence of seeking to make every individual welcome is the thread the runs through all of the pages. Each double-page spread comes alive with vibrant depictions of children donning different cultural clothing, all engaged harmoniously in activities in an intentionally inclusive environment. This portrayal of a school thriving on shared learning from one another’s traditions is both heartening and thought-provoking.

all are welcome

Ask children in your new class to reflect on times when they have been made to feel welcome in a new place, and how it felt. Ask them to suggest what they might do to make others feel welcome in their classroom. Ask them what they would like their teachers or classmates to know or do in order to better include them, or for ideas on how to improve the classroom environment to make it more welcoming to others.

For a transition day activity, you could make posters or display artwork with the ‘All Are Welcome Here’ motto and decorate it in colourful and celebratory styles. Learn to say ‘welcome’ or ‘hello’ in different languages or display them somewhere in the room. Or perhaps learn the verses of the book by heart and work on a whole class poetry performance. You could challenge the pupils to see who will still remember it when the class returns in September! The author also has some printable bookmarks on her website that are free to download and use in class, and there is a free activity pack to download from the publisher.

This is a super picturebook to unite a new class and to return to at various times throughout the year.

Purchase All Are Welcome from Amazon or BookShop

 

These books are available to purchase from our Amazon store or BookShop.org.

 

 

For more ideas of books to ease class transitions, we recommend browsing the following booklists:

 

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