The start of a new school year – it’s that time of the year you are either excited for or dread. Regardless of how you’re feeling, remember that you’re not alone and there are many students feeling the same as you, especially during life’s pivotal years. If you are starting high school, completing high school, or even starting university or college, you will experience some transformative changes, during which you might need some advice on your relationships, social life, and priorities. Today’s book recommendations will do just that.
No matter the age, relationships are vital to all students’ development. At a young age, children’s relationships and experiences are critical for their development. During this time, children depend on their parents or guardians and develop their first sense of connections there. As children grow up, they realize the importance of making friends and getting along with their siblings or parents. Here are some of our book recommendations on relationships:
You’re Mean, Lily Jean by Frieda Wishinsky
Sisters Sandy and Carly always play together, but when Lily Jean moves in next door, everything changes. She bosses Carly to bark like a dog when they play royal house and be a baby when they play house. As a result, Carly finally speaks up and tries to teach Lily Jean a lesson with the help of her sister.
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
Eleanor has been facing a challenging home life with her parents, and Park has been out of place at home and at school. They end up sharing the same interests and becoming friends. Eventually, they fall in love while simultaneously finding their own path to belonging.
Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen
Juli met Bryce in second grade and instantly knew he was perfect, but he thought she was weird. Fast forward six years and Bryce starts to view Juli romantically, but she thinks that maybe he’s not the one.
As we become older and wiser and start to develop relationships, the need for social activities may be high. However, maintaining friendships doesn’t necessarily mean attending parties or being a social butterfly; it also means improving social skills in group settings, understanding empathy, and being authentic no matter what. Below are some great books on understanding social skills in different environments:
Being Agatha by Anna Pignataro
Agatha is a unique character born with her mom’s pig ears and her dad’s bear nose. She feels different, and as she starts kindergarten, she finds that she doesn’t fit in with the other kids. When her teacher asks everyone why they are special, Agatha hides because she thinks she’s not, but her class provides reasons why she’s wrong.
The Way I Feel by Janan Cain
Feelings come and go and are neither good or bad, but the way kids handle them are key. Cain suggests children naming their feelings, so they can connect the word to an emotion and fully understand what’s going on with their lives.
How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Meant for young adults and adults, Carnegie’s book is a game changer and can help you take charge of any situation in your life, become more likable and friendly, influence people to embrace your ideas, and much more. It’s a book that will make a difference in your life in any social setting.
Life has a way of throwing us curveballs, but mastering prioritization can change our lives for the better. As a student, your education is the #1 focus, but cultivating happiness and practicing self-care should be in your top 3 priorities to help you be a well-rounded student. Here are some recommendations surrounding understanding your priorities:
Part of the “Functioning Executive Series”, Cook’s storybook highlights the importance of planning and prioritizing and the strengths and differences we all embody. It helps children understand the necessary steps in order to complete a goal. In doing so, children who are effective in prioritizing and planning can utilize these skills for their future success in school or the professional world.
Set Boundaries, Find Peace: A Guide to Reclaiming Yourself by Nedra Glover Tawwab
Nowadays, it’s easy to get wrapped up in social media and devices. Tawwab reminds us to put ourselves first and create healthy boundaries in our personal and professional lives. In doing so, we’re able to communicate our needs efficiently and prioritize our mental and physical health.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey
Named the #1 Most Influential Business Book of the Twentieth Century, Covey’s book highlights principles of fairness, integrity, honesty, and human dignity. Covey encourages his readers to live a life with greater purpose, and his book has changed the lives of so many people.
I hope these book recommendations spark your interest and motivation to kickstart the school year to thrive, set goals, connect with others, build or improve your social skills, and, most importantly, keep yourself at the forefront. Remember, you are your #1 priority, so making sure your physical and mental health is good allows you to flourish in all other aspects of your personal, academic, and professional lives.