It’s Monday (actually it’s almost Tuesday!) and happy to be participating in IMWAYR once again!
After returning from a week at the lake, I’m feeling fall creeping into my horizon. And that means back to school for many of us. (I know some are already back!) So I thought I’d share some of my favorite “back to school” books to share with students during those first few days and weeks as we begin a new year together. This list has some old favorites and some new titles that I’m excited to share for the first time. In no particular order, here they are:
I am starting with a brand new book I am very excited about called Rufus Goes to School by Kim T. Griswell. Rufus is excited about going to school so he can learn how to read his favorite book (do you love this already?) But Rufus is a pig and “Pigs aren’t allowed in school!” says the principal. This book combines the excitement of the first day of school with the desire of learning to read – a pretty great combination, don’t you think? This book is very interactive with lots of repeating phrases where kids can join in with the read-aloud. If you are only going to buy one new back to school book this year – it should be this one!
First Day Jitters by Julie Danneburg is a story about Sara who is nervous about starting her first day at a new school. Her father is trying to help her get ready by making her breakfast, packing her lunch and driving her to school. This book has delightful surprise ending that stimulates an important discussion around just who gets nervous on the first day of school.
I am a huge Mark Teague fan. I can read and re-read his books and I laugh each and every time. How I Spent My Summer Vacation is no exception. It is a hilarious account of a Wallace’s imaginative and elaborate account of his summer vacation. A great writing anchor for the first week back – as kids enjoy writing their own imaginative and perhaps embellished tales of their recent summer!
One can never go wrong with a Todd Parr book. Otto Goes to School is a simple story first published as a picture book and now available as an Level 1 reader, includes Todd’s trademark colorful block illustrations and a familiar character – “Otto”. It is story of starting school and making friends that many will make connections to.
This School Year Will Be the Best! by Kay Winters is a wonderful interactive read-aloud. At the beginning of the year, a class is asked what their hopes are for looking the coming school year. The month-by-month answers are diverse, ranging from “meeting a new friend” to “having a chocolate fountain in the hallway”. A great book to invite students to share their own hopes for the year.
Mom, It’s My First Day of Kindergarten by Hyewon Yum is one of my latest finds. At first glance, you may think it is a familiar story of a boy’s first day in Kindergarten. But after a closer look at the illustrations, you realize that it is also a story of how parents experience the same fears and anxieties about this milestone of their child starting school. This would make a perfect anchor book for inferring, and would also make a great gift for anyone whose child is starting school.
No back to school list of books would be complete without David Goes To School by David Shannon. Most of you will know the David books but I never grow tired of the hilarious illustrations and the all the connections I make. There is a “David” in every classroom and this book reminds me of just how much they need our understanding.
Back-to-School Rules by Laurie Friedman is another book that could anchor a writing activity: writing school rules. These 10 rules, as told by Percy, head of the class, are written in the negative – what NOT to do – which makes for an amusing read-aloud. The illustrations add to the humor.
How Will I Get to School this Year? by Jerry Pallotta explores the wild and imaginative ways you might get to school if your parents didn’t drive you or you didn’t take the school bus. This is a fun and slightly silly book that I think kids would enjoy. Maybe they could even think of their own wacky ways to travel to school!
Too Much Glue by Jason Lefebvre has a release date of September 1st and is definitely one to put on your radar. I was fortunate enough to get an ARC and can tell you it is absolutely hilarious. While it is not exactly a “back to school” story – it is a story of school supplies gone wild – namely the glue bottle! The results are a hilarious sticky mess of story that celebrates art and creativity.
In Pete the Cat – Rocking in My School Shoes, laid-back Pete explores the different places in his school while rockin and groovin’ in his school shoes. “It’s all good” when you have a Pete the Cat book in your collection! Thanks, Eric Letwin, for this easy-going character that we all love!
And rounding out my list today is a poetry book collection, selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins. School Supplies includes poems by such greats as Carl Sandburg, Myra Cohn Livingston and Jane Yolen. There are poems about paper clips, lunch bags, pencils and rulers. My favorite is “The Eraser Poem” that actually starts to erase! Great poems for reading aloud and bright illustrations for sharing.
Hope you found a few new titles for sharing to your students as you begin your school year. Would love to hear about some of your favorites!