Although teachers carefully plan how to open the year to connect with and engage students, they sometimes forget to plan for closing time. But for some kids, closure is a necessary part of their school relationships. Not everyone is excited that the school year is over. some children are happy, some are sad, and some are even angry. We’ve rounded up 11 of the best New Year’s Eve books to help you say goodbye.
1. the old lady who named things by cynthia rylant
You are reading: End of the year books
This story is about an old lady who names inanimate objects that will outlive her, but won’t name a new puppy in her life because she’s afraid of losing it. all things come to an end, but memories are central to how we define ourselves. Create memories with your students.
2. knufflebunny by mo willems
This age-old story about a girl who loses her most prized possession is something every child can relate to. when the adult doesn’t listen, it becomes a story of sadness and frustration at the lack of control as a child. is on our end-of-year book list because changing classrooms and teachers can feel like this for kids.
3. this is not my hat by jon klassen
The inference in this book, about a little fish bragging about stealing a big fish’s hat, is swallowed when the big fish is left alone at the end with the hat. how can we help students read social cues about how they feel at the end of the year? Do they feel swallowed up or like they’re big shots now and ready to move on?
4. the hundred dresses of eleanor estes
This is a very short chapter book about a girl who brags about having 100 dresses. no one believes her until she sees that she is referring to drawings of dresses. when they realize her mistake, she has moved on and they will never be able to apologize.
5. every kindness of jacqueline woodson
Just like the hundred dresses, the ending of this book is sad because it’s not resolved. Sometimes the end of a school year can feel like this, and a discussion about whether that feeling is okay can make all the difference.
6. ruthie and laura rankin’s (not so) tiny lie
There are so many emotions tied to this story about a fox lying on top of a small camera he finds. His lies make her very sad, but the way the children and adults behave in this book makes it a perfect book to discuss the end of the year.
7. a little lost by chris haughton
The story begins with a little owl who falls out of the nest and goes in search of his mother. finally reunited at last, mom invites her rescuers to the nest, only for the little owl to fall asleep again.
8. click, clack, mug: writing cows by doreen cronin
this story is about cows that want to be warm. they ask the farmer for electric blankets. just as everything is resolved with the cows, the reader discovers that the ducks want a trampoline! the message that what we want is always changing makes this a good book chosen for the end of the year.
9. the promise of the tadpole by jeanne willis
The ending is controversial but true to nature. the caterpillar turns into a butterfly and is devoured by her true love, the tadpole turned into a frog. offers a great starting point for discussions.
10. the egg by m.p. robertson
At the end of this story, the dragon must return to his world and the boy must stay in his. we can miss each other but still love where we are.
11. someone loves you mr. eileen spinelli hatch
Mr. Hatch starts out lonely until he thinks somebody loves him. In the end, he finds out he was wrong about that one person but that lots of other people love him. This is typically a book reserved for Valentine’s Day, but it makes a beautiful point about how we can choose to think about our life as joyful or sad.
five endings for year-end books
After reading, talk about each of these types of endings and ask children to share which ending they would like to see happen this school year.
- A direct ending is usually happy (but sometimes not) and resolves all the loose ends.
- an implied ending leaves questions open to interpretation. the reader can fill in the blank for a few different possible directions.
- An unresolved ending is similar to an implied ending but with less closure. the main conflict is not resolved.
- an ending twist occurs unexpectedly. readers think they know how the story will end, but they’re in for a surprise in the final pages.
- A tied ending comes full circle to a point from the beginning or middle of the history. it’s like closing a story with a bow.