“What Inside Your Backpack?” Book Review and Lesson Idea

About the book:

Just look at all the topics covered in this new book by Jessica Sinarski!

Zoey our main character is dealing with a lot! Many of the same things are students deal with:

  • Fear of the unknown
  • Worry over a change in a routine- having a substitute teacher
  • Feelings of shame
  • Family changes
  • Trauma- domestic violence and abuse
  • 1st day jitters
  • The body’s reaction to all of the above (tight muscles, headaches, etc.)

I love the metaphor of the invisible books in her backpack that she feels weighing her down. You could easily use this to talk about the mind body connection.

With the help of loving adults, like the school counselor, Zoey learns to cope with everything that is going on. You could use this book year round and it would make a great “meet the counselor” lesson! 

I love all the feeling vocabulary found in the book. Brene Brown would be thrilled with the discussion of shame! It’s not often you see shame tackled so well in a children’s book.

During Preorder (January 21 – February 3) @ncyi is offering a FREE Resource Bundle to go with the book. Head over to whatsinsideyourbackpack.com for details, to preorder the book AND fill out the form on whatsinsideyourbackpack.com by February 3rd.

After the preorder time you can purchase the bundle on TpT, Etsy, and ncyi.org in March.

Activity Ideas:

  1. You could bring it to life by having students write down all the things they are dealing with and the putting those post it notes on a book. Then one by one ask the student to hold those heavy books, until they feel weighed down. Next, discuss which ones are out of their control and they can take out of their backpacks. For the remaining books, practice the coping skills from the book.

2. Using my activity set have students create their own “backpacks” with tools for coping!

3. Take a mindful moment.

4. Play a game to help students get to know you and your role.

5. Connect with parents


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