I realize that there are many of you who may be reading this who have already started teaching, but this is my first week back so I thought that I’d share my top 10 books (OK – I went a little past 10!) for starting school. All of these books would make wonderful “connect” books to share during those first few days and weeks of school!
Fun, Wacky, LOL books!
1. Steve, Raised By Wolves – by Jared Chapman
LOL! This book is hilarious and would make a brilliant back to school read-aloud for any grade! Young Steve is literally raised by wolves. Mother wolf sends him on his first day of school with this advice: “Just be yourself!”. So Steve proceeds to do just that – howling in class, shredding homework, marking his territory, drinking from the toilet and pouncing on his classmates! His behavior does not go over well! In the end, Steve saves the day and helps to find the class pet. Great book for discussing appropriate school behavior as well as what it means to “be yourself”.
2. The Gingerbread Man is Loose in the School – Laura Murray
This is a fun twist on the classic fairy tale. After a gingerbread man is left alone in the classroom at recess, he decides to leave to find the children. He makes many stops in the school and asks many different people for help. Great rhyming text and graphic novel type illustrations. This book would be a great introduction to different people and places in the school. I know of a teacher who, after reading this book, hides a gingerbread man in the school and takes her class on a search for him! Or you could have your students write about the gingerbread man’s adventures!
3. The Exceptionally, Extraordinarily Ordinary First Day of School – Lorenz Albert
This book was a little on the odd side, I must admit, but it got better each time I read it! The illustrations reminded me of MAD magazine and the story line is a little like Marc Teague’s “How I Spent My Summer Vacation” with a boy’s “version” of his summer vacation. Unusual but clever!
4. Daddy’s Back to School Shopping Adventure – Alan Lawrence Sitomer
Yes, it’s “back to school” shopping time and the school supply stores will be full of parents and kids filling their baskets! Sticking to the shopping list is difficult for this wild and wacky dad who takes his kids or their supplies. He is tempted by the glow in the dark glue sticks and neon paper clips but his kids keep him on track! A little wacky, lots of fun and a sweet surprise ending. A fun first week back read aloud!
Books about Beginning School Anxieties
5. Back to School Tortoise – Lucy M. George
Story includes worries of starting school, not wanting to go inside the classroom and the most adorable illustrations ever! Perfect for Kindergarten!
6. Monkey: Not Ready For Kindergarten – Marc Brown
Adorable Monkey experiences anxiety as Kindergarten is only a week away . . What if he gets on the wrong bus? What if they don’t have any red crayons? What if he doesn’t like the snacks? What if he doesn’t make new friends? Poor Monkey has so many worries running through his head! Slowly, his family helps him ease his worries. Perfect book for Kindergarten children and making connections to starting school.
7. Chu’s First Day of School – Neil Gaiman
Adorable Panda Chu is worried whether his classmates will like him. He gets so nervous when he gets to school, he can’t even speak to share what his favorite thing to do is. Charming, simple story and sweet illustrations.
8. First Day Jitters – Julie Danneberg
Delightful story with a surprise ending…. and an important message that teachers get nervous about starting school too! I have read this book to MANY classes over the years and the reaction at the end is always the same!
Books About School Days, School Goals and School Rules!
Fantastic beginning of school read-a-loud. Great for starting the conversation about what students are nervous about, thinking about, and hoping to get from school. Also a great anchor for writing about school goals and wishes for the new school year ahead.
10. Starting School – Allan Ahlberg
A group of kids start kindergarten. The book walks you through a day at school, the second day of school, a week, and special events. Good for calming nerves and making connections. (Does have reference to a Christmas pageant and a school prayer) I love Janet and Allan Ahlberg books (Jolly Postman, Each, Peach, Pear, Plum) and they were a favorite of my children when they were younger. Delightful illustrations!
11. Back-to-School Rules – Laurie Friedman
Perfect anchor book for stimulating a class discussion and creating a class anchor chart of school rules.
Books about Creative Souls, Fitting In and Embarrassing Moments
12. Ally-Saurus and the First Day of School – Richard Torrey
A first-day-of-school book with a dinosaur-loving main character who calls herself Ally-saurus A lovely picture book that weaves together a number of discussion-worthy issues including first day of school, imagination, books, fitting in, and friendship. A great book to show that everyone may have different interests but can still be friends. LOVE the illustrations in this book – especially the pages with the children’s “drawings” of their interests.
13. I Will Never Get a Star on Mrs. Benson’s Blackboard – Jennifer Mann
This is the heart-warming, heart-breaking story of Rose, a creative soul who struggles doing all the things that earn the other children stars on the blackboard. But as we all know, not every student is a neat, straight-A student with all the right answers. This book helps us see that there are blackboard stars out there for the doodling daydreamers too.
14 First Grade Dropout – Audrey Vernick
When the young narrator of this story experiences a mortifying moment in class (he calls his teachers “mommy”) he decides to quit school. This fantastic picture book is a great look at how to persevere after embarrassing things happen. Perfect read-aloud for making connections.
Thanks for stopping by! What are your favorite “back to school read-alouds?