Our libraries and bookshelves contain the most powerful tools for teaching, but it’s not just about what books we use—it’s about how we use them. When we connect academic and social and emotional needs, our conversations become richer, and learning becomes more meaningful. Books can help foster these conversations and provide children of all ages an opportunity to learn from relatable, three-dimensional characters. This session will focus on using picture books as co-teachers that center kids and CARE (Community, Agency, Respect & Empowerment). Participants will explore powerful kid lit to help identify and manage emotions and explore life lessons found in texts. Teachers will leave the session with new must-have titles, but beyond book lists, various resources and a framework for choosing and selecting texts that reflect more inclusive classroom libraries, spaces, and places to connect texts, talk, and time spent with joyful read alouds.