Back-to-School Books

Reading recommendations from Dr. Alice Mar

If your family is like mine,  you are shocked to realize the summer is almost over and it’s time for school to begin. Starting school can be both exciting and terrifying for kids of all ages. A great way to help kids get ready for the upcoming school year is to read books about school together.

Wembly Worried by Kevin Henkes

Wembly is an adorable mouse who worries. About big things and little things. About everything. But mostly about starting school. At school she meets a fellow worrier and learns how to have fun even with the worrying. Also check out Kevin Henkes many other wonderful books, especially Chrysanthemum and Lily’s Purple Plastic Purse.

School Days Around the World by Margriet Ruurs

Features the stories of thirteen real children in different countries around the world. Highlights the common threads among all kids everywhere and also shows the differences in school settings and cultures.

The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn

Chester Raccoon does not want to go to school and leave his mother. Mrs. Racoon shows him a family secret called the Kissing Hand and teaches him that her love is with him always, even when he is away from her. Very sweet book and also provides a practical tangible way to help kids deal with separation anxiety.

Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney

Llama Llama is at preschool and very excited to be there. But when it’s time to leave, Llama Llama isn’t so sure anymore about preschool. Will Mama come back? Like all the Llama Llama books, Anna Dewdney manages to capture the complex emotions of kids perfectly in a catching rollicking rhyme scheme. I don’t know how she does it but if you don’t know the Llama Llama books and you have a preschooler…go check them all out of the library now.

Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kingergarten by Joseph Slate

As Miss Bindergarten prepares for the first day of kindergarten, her students prepare at home in parallel stories. She has 26 students (one for each letter of the alphabet). Kids will like the animal students (Adam the Alligator, Fran the Frog). There are also several other wonderful Miss Bindergarten books for kindergarteners dealing with common events in kindergarten (100th day, field trip, having a substitute, the last day of school).

First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg

Sarah Jane Hartwell is scared and doesn’t want to start at a new school. With much prodding from Mr. Hartwell, she is coaxed out of bed and into the car and finally into school. Kids will love the twist at the end revealing that Sarah Jane is really Mrs. Hartwelll, a new teacher. There are other Mrs. Hartwell books as well for those who enjoy this one.

School’s First Day of School by Adam Rex

If a teacher can be nervous, then so can a school. This unique book looks at the first day of school from the perspective of the building that is getting ready for all the students.

Miss Nelson is Missing by Harry Allard

An absolute classic. The kids in room 207 have a nice sweet teacher named Miss Nelson. But they can’t stop misbehaving. One day, Miss Nelson goes away and in her place is the dreaded substitute, Miss Viola Swamp. Will Miss Nelson ever come back? This book was first published in 1977 and is still a hilarious read and an absolute must back to school read.