Each year as summer draws to a close, teachers, parents, and students alike all begin their back to school preparations. Under normal circumstances this can be a trying time, especially for those just starting school. As we all know, life has been anything but “normal” in 2020 and returning to school, in whatever form that may be, is likely to be filled with stress and anxiety. A few fun stories might be just the ticket to help alleviate some of that fear and maybe even generate a little excitement about going back to school!
A Wynk, a Blynk, and a Nod to New Books about Back to School
All Welcome Here by James Preller, illus. by Mary GrandPré
This collection of haiku poems celebrates the first day of school with all the excitement and anxiety that it brings. The colorful illustrations provide a reassurance and depict inclusiveness.
Choo-choo School by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illus. by Mike Yamada
A train station becomes a classroom for train cars and the conductor a teacher in this rollicking new picture book. Perfect for train-loving children!
Cookie and Broccoli: Ready for School! By Bob McMahon
This is the first in an early graphic novel series. Two friends navigate the ups and downs of the first day of first grade by inviting their friends to join the Shy Friends Club.
First Day Critter Jitters by Jory John, illus. by Liz Climo
The animals are nervous for the first day of school, but … so is their teacher. As they help one another out, they learn that school is not so scary after all.
The 47 People You’ll Meet in Middle School by Kristin Mahoney
This chapter book for grades 4 to 6 is perfect for those transitioning from elementary school to middle school. The book is written as a letter from an older sister to her younger sister, offering advice on navigating the ins and outs of this journey.
I Love My Teacher by Giles Andreae, illus. by Emma Dodd
This energetic story about starting preschool is written in rhyming verse which makes for a fun read-aloud.
I’m Afraid Your Teddy is in the Principal’s Office by Jancee Dunn, illus. by Scott Nash
Teddy and his stuffed friends sneak to school in their kids’ backpacks. Their mischief making lands them in the principal’s office where they must “face the consequences.” The bold illustrations convey the fun and absurdity of the situation!
It’s Not a School Bus, It’s a Pirate Ship by Mickey Rapkin, illus. by Teresa Martinez
A little boy overcomes his fear of starting school by imagining that his school bus is a pirate ship, and so, he sets sail! The colorful illustrations certainly spark the reader’s imagination!
Kindergarten Hat by Janet Lawler, illus. by Geraldine Rodriguez
Carlos is worried over starting school but is somewhat reassured when he receives a letter from his teacher asking him to bring a smile, a photo of him doing something that he loves, and a flower to add to her big flowered hat on the first day of school. This is a very sweet back to school story.
Laugh-Out-Loud Back-to-School Jokes by Rob Elliott, illus. by MacKenzie Haley
This lift-the-flap joke book is sure to be popular with younger readers.
Mila Wants to Go to School by Judith Koppens, illus. by Anouk Nijs
Mila worries that her father is going to make her late for her first day of preschool. This gentle story focuses mainly on Mia’s emotions.
One Golden Rule at School: A Counting Book by Selina Alko
Readers can count along through a typical school day. The mixed-media collage illustrations present a diverse cast of characters.
Our Favorite Day of the Year by A. E. Ali, illus. by Rahele Jomepour Bell
Children from different backgrounds are faced with their teacher’s plan of each of them sharing their favorite day of the year with their classmates. By the end of the year, after the many celebrations, they realize that they have all become great friends. The illustrations are festive and present a celebration of both diversity and friendship.
Rescuing Mrs. Birdley by Aaron Reynolds, illus. by Emma Reynolds
Miranda Montgomery is a self-proclaimed animal expert. When she runs into her teacher at the grocery store, she decides that Mrs. Birdley must be returned to her “natural habitat” – the classroom. Reynolds is the author of the wildly popular Creepy Carrots, and this latest work does not disappoint! It is simply a fun, tongue-in-cheek school story for young readers.
School Days by Shelley Rotner
Rotner’s photographs give readers a peek at a typical school day. The story is told from the perspectives of the children in the photos. Rotner has authored and photo-illustrated many award-winning children’s books.
School is Coming by Dany Aubert, illus. by Eve Tharlet
Both author and illustrator are French, and this is their fourth book about Martin the bear. In this gentle and comforting story, Martin is hesitant about the first day of kindergarten. His mother provides just the assurance that he needs.
Superhero vs. School by Ethan Long
Scotty uses his superhero skills to face the first day of school. His story might just provide a boost of confidence to other anxious kids facing their first-day fears.
Teaching Mrs. Muddle by Colleen Nelson, illus. by Alice Carter
This kindergarten teacher makes the first day of school one to remember. Kids are sure to giggle at Mrs. Muddle’s mistakes.
When My Brother Gets Home by Tom Lichtenheld
A little girl anxiously awaits her older brother’s return from a day at school and imagines all the fun things that they will do together. The watercolor and colored pencil illustrations are charming and pay tribute to the special bond between siblings.
World’s Best (and Worst) School Jokes by Jessica Rusick
This joke and riddle book is part of the Laugh Your Socks Off series and is full of photo-illustrations, making it quite attractive and appealing. It’s sure to be a hit with older readers.