Back to School – Back to Great Books!

These are my favorite books, old and new, to share with your K – 2nd graders as they start back to school.

The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School. Laura Murray.  G.P. Putnam’s, 2011.
A fun, modern twist on a traditional story.  Told from the Gingerbread Man’s point of view, when the kids who made him leave him behind at recess, he tries to find them.  He has some mishaps on his tour of the school.  The happy ending includes a gingerbread house for the Gingerbread Man.  Fun! Fun! Fun!  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-2nd grade

Adventure Annie Goes to Kindergarten.  Toni Buzzeo.  Dial Books, 2010.
Annie is excited and confident about going to Kindergarten.  Her gentle, male teacher
helps her learn the Gold Star rules without squelching her enthusiasm for adventure.
Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-1st grade

Almost Late to School: And More School Poems. Carol Diggory.  Puffin, 2003.
A collection of 22 fun poems about the typical ups and downs of school.  A great variety of poetic forms and plenty to laugh about.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud 1st-5th grade

Amelia Bedelia’s First Day of School. Herman Parish.  Greenwillow, 2009.
This is the first book about Amelia Bedelia as a child.  We now know that her penchant for misunderstanding has always been with her.  Kids may not get all of the humor, but enough to make them want to know what silly thing she does next.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud 1st-2nd grade

Back to School for Rotten Ralph.  Jack Gantos.  HarperCollins, 1998.
When Sarah starts school, her rotten cat, Ralph, tries his best to keep her home, but when that doesn’t work, he disguises himself and follows her to school to prevent her from making new friends.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-2nd grade

The Bus for Us.  Suzanne Bloom.  Boyd’s Mills, 2001.
While a multicultural group of kids gather at the bus stop, Tess keeps asking her brother the same question: “Is this the bus for us, Gus?”  Many vehicles pass and a lot goes on in the background before the bus finally arrives.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-1st grade

Carmen Learns English.  Judy Cox.  Holiday House, 2010.
Carmen, who has just arrived from Mexico, is nervous about starting school because she doesn’t know English.  With the help of her kind teacher, Carmen gradually learns English which she also teaches her younger sister.  Carmen also teaches her classmates Spanish and stands up to class bullies.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-2nd grade

Dear Teacher.  Amy Husband.  Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 2010.
Michael writes a series of imaginative letters to his soon- to- be new teacher about his wild adventures with his dog, Bruno that will make it impossible for him to attend school.   The reply he receives convinces him to give school a try.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud 1st-3rd grade

Don’t Squeal Unless It’s a Big Deal: A Tale of Tattletales.  Jeanie Franz Ransom.  Magination Press, 2006.
The piggies in Mrs. McNeal’s class learn that they can work out small problems on their own and how to seek help for serious problems.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-2nd grade

Eddie Gets Ready for School. David Milgrim.  Scholastic, 2011.
The text of this hilarious romp of a story consist of Eddie’s checklist for getting ready to go to school.  Sometimes his mother doesn’t agree with how he carries out the task.  For instance, watch cartoons and drink root beer are followed by mother with hands on hips and two more items on the list: “Turn off TV this instant” and “Pour out Root beer.”
Somehow, Eddie makes it to the school bus on time.  A little reminiscent of Shannon’s “David” books.  Could be a writing model for how kids get themselves ready for school.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-2nd grade

First Day, Hooray! Nancy Poydar.  Holiday House, 1999.
Ivy Green has a lot of anxiety about the first day of school.  Adults who work at school also have worries: teacher, principal, custodian, bus driver.  When the day finally arrives, everyone is ready.  Artwork is colorful and energetic.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-2nd grade

First Day Jitters. Julie Danneberg.  Charlesbridge, 2000.
Mr. Hartwell does his best to reassure Sarah that the first day of school will be great.  She makes all sorts of excuses and hiding under the covers, declares “I’m not going.”
Will kids figure out that Sarah is really a teacher before the principal introduces her to her new class?  Delightful picture book.
Read-aloud K-3rd grade

 

First Day of School.  Anne Rockwell.  Harper, 2011.
This book captures the universal excitement and nervousness about starting a new school year.  Reassurance is depicted by what several kids in the neighborhood are doing to prepare.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-2nd grade
First Day of School.  Anne Rockwell.  Harper, 2011.
This book captures the universal excitement and nervousness about starting a new school year.  Reassurance is depicted by what several kids in the neighborhood are doing to prepare.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-2nd grade

Fire Drill.  Paul DuBois Jacobs and Jennifer Swender.  Henry Holt, 2010.
Simple, rhyming text shows fire drill procedures.
Read-aloud K-2nd grade

First Grade Jitters.  Robert Quackenbush.  Harper, 2010.
Aidan has lots of worries about starting first grade even though he enjoyed kindergarten.  Getting together with his friends gives him lots of reassurance so that he can look forward to the first day.  Perfect read-aloud for first grade.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud 1st grade

Get Ready for Second Grade, Amber Brown. Paula Danziger.  Puffin, 2003.
Amber Brown expresses her many fears about starting second grade.  Though this is really a beginning reader, it can work as a read-aloud and serve as an introduction to the series.
Read-aloud 1st-2nd grade

Hands Off, Harry! Rosemary Wells.  Katherine Tegan Books, 2011.
Lola Alligator tells her parents how her kindergarten classmate, Harry, disrupted class repeatedly by not keeping his hands to himself.  A fellow student comes up with a solution.  The classroom also has a great poster that states:  Shake a hand; Hold a hand; Lend a hand.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-1st grade

Happy School Year Susan Milord.  Scholastic, 2008.
Shows how children in a multiethnic community get ready for the first day of school.  At school, students, teachers and the principal celebrate with cupcakes and good wishes for the upcoming school year.  The author inlcudes a note on First Day Celebrations.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-2nd grade

Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush.  Will Hillenbrand.  Harcourt, 2003.
New lyrics to the traditional song describe the first day of school for two shy little pigs.
Picture Book.
Sing-aloud K-1st grade

Homework. Arthur Yorinks.  Walker and Comapny, 2009.
Instead of doing his homework, tony reads comic books in bed until he falls asleep.  His pencil, eraser and ballpoint pen come to life and write his story for him.  The writing process made very enjoyable!
Read-aloud 1st-5th grade

How Rocket Learned to Read. Tad Hills.  Schwartz & Wade Books, 2010.
A very endearing story about a little yellow bird who teaches the adorable dog, Rocket how to read.  Sure to be a hit with students, teachers, and parents.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-2nd grade

I’m Your Bus. Marilyn Singer.  Scholastic, 2009.
Rhyme with lots of rhythm describes a day in the life of a school bus.  “Watch those backpacks coming through./  Have fun today.  Learn something new./  Later, I’ll come back for you.”  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-2nd grade

Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten? Audrey Vernick.  Balzer & Bray, 2010.
How silly to make a buffalo a kindergartener, but oddly, it works.  Everyone has starting school anxieties and this story is reassuring about what to expect with a strong message that “Everyone’s special in his or her own way.”  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-1st grade

It’s Back to School We Go!  First Day Stories from Around the World. Ellen B. Jackson.  Millbrook Press, 2003.
Describes what a typical first day of school is like around the world: Kenya, Peru, Kazakhstan, Canada, Australia, Japan, china, Germany, India, Russia, United states.
Picture Book.
Read-aloud 1st-4th grade

Justin Case:  School, Drool, and Other Daily Disasters.  Rachel Vail.  Fewel and Friends, 2010.
Third grader, Justin Case, (that’s his nickname) is a professional worrier.  He reveals his worries and observations in an illustrated diary.  Many relatable and laugh-out-loud moments.
Read-aloud 2nd-4th grade

Kindergarten Diary.  Antoinette Portis.  Harper, 2010.
Annalina’s diary chronicles the ups and downs of the first month of Kindergarten.  Very reassuring for anyone feeling jittery about starting Kindergarten.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-1st grade

The Little School Bus.  Carol Roth. North-South Books, 2002.
Animal characters and a catchy rhyme about riding the bus to and from school.  There is much to enjoy in the illustrations and kids will enjoy repeating the rhyme.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-1st grade

Louise the Big Cheese and the Back-to-School Smarty-Pants. Elise Primavera.  Simon & Schuster, 2011.
Louise wants to be like her big sister and sets a goal of getting straight A’s in second grade.  Mrs. Pearl is not at all the teacher she expected.  It takes a day with an undemanding substitute to make Louise appreciate Mrs. Pearl’s high expectations.  She is very happy with her report card of “B’s.”  Doing your personal best is a great message, but this book may appeal more to girls. Picture Book.
Read-aloud 1st-2nd grade

Manners at School. Carrie Finn.  Picture Window Books, 2007.
Presents a variety of situations that require good manners.  Good for starting discussions about expectations at the beginning of the school year.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-2nd grade

 

 

Marshall Armstrong is New to Our School.  David MacIntosh.  Abrams, 2011.
It’s hard being the new kid, especially for Marshall Armstrong who seems weird in appearance and actions.  Things change when he invites his entire class to his birthday party where they get to know the real Marshall and enjoy playing with him in his marvelous house.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-3rd grade

Meet the Barkers: Morgan and Moffat Go to School. Tomie DePaola.  Puffin, 2001.
Moffie and her twin brother, Morgie enjoy buying school supplies and starting school.  They learn valuable lessons during the first week.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-1st grade

Miss Brooks Loves Books (and I don’t). Barbara Bottner.  Random House, 2010.
School librarian, Miss Brooks, works hard to convince a first grader that books are great.  We have all known lots of reluctant readers.  Thankfully, Miss Brooks does not
give up.
Read-aloud1st-2nd grade

Miss Little’s Gift.  Douglas Wood.  Candlewick Press, 2009.
An autobiographical picture book depicting the author’s many struggles in 2nd grade, the biggest being his struggle with reading and ADHD.  Miss Little did not give up on him.  Today he is a very successful author of children’s books.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud 1st-5th grade

Mr. President Goes to School.  Rick Walton.  Peachtree, 2010.
When the President becomes overwhelmed from the many pressures of his job, he dawns a disguise and goes to kindergarten.  He takes back the lessons he learns about friendship and compromise to the White House and applies them to his job.  Maybe the hokey pokey really is what it’s all about!  Picture Book.
Read-aloud 2nd grade and up

My Best Friend is as Sharp as a Pencil : And Other Funny Classroom Portraits.  Hanoch Piven.  Schwartz & Wade Books, 2010.
When a girl’s grandmother comes to visit full of questions, the girl responds with portraits of the the important people in her life made from everyday objects.  Loaded with delightful similes.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud 2nd-6th grade

One Smart Cookie: Bite-Size Lessons for the School Years and Beyond. Amy Krouse Rosenthal.  Harper, 2010.
Another great title in the “Cookies” series for explaining life skills in a very kid friendly way: prompt, organized, unorganized, compromise, contribute, arrogant, humble, integrity etc.
Read-aloud 1st-4th grade

Poindexter Makes a Friend. Mike Twohy.  Simon & Schuster, 2011.
Poindexter the Pig is too shy to make friends.  He prefers reading to his stuffed animals and helping out at the library.  A shy turtle comes to the library looking for a book on making friends.  The librarian asks Poindexter to help him.  A warm friendship begins to blossom.  Heart warming!  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-2nd grade

Rain School. James Rumford.  Houghton Mifflin, 2010.
It’s the first day of school for Thomas.  He walks with older siblings to a small village in Chad to find a teacher, but no school.  The teacher leads the children in building the school by making mud bricks, mud walls and desks, and a grass roof.  Nine months of learning pass quickly, then the rains come and the school returns to mud.  The author once lived in Chad as a Peace Corps volunteer.  Beautifully told and illustrated.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-3rd grade

School Picture Day.  Lynn Plourde.  Puffin, 2002.
Everyone except Josephina Caroleena Wattasheena arrives looking their best for picture day.  She is more interested in tinkering with gadgets and figuring out how things work.  When the photographer finally arrives and the camera won’t work, Josephina comes to the rescue.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-2nd grade

Stampede! Poems to Celebrate the Wild Side of School. Laura Purdie Salas.  Clarion, 2009.
These 18 humorous poems liken childrens’ behavior in school to that of animals.  Simile and metaphor are plentiful.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud 1st-5th grade

Substitute Creacher. Chris Gall.  Little, Brown, 2011.
The mis-behavors in Ms Jenkin’s class are thrilled at the prospect of having a substitute.  In walks Mr. Creacher, green, tentacled with a large eye in the center of his face and several in the back of his head.  He captures the class’ attention with stories of the befell previous misbehaving students during his career as a sub.  In a surprise twist, his own story is revealed.  Move over, Viola Swamp!  Picture Book.
Read-aloud 1st-4th grade

Ten Rules You Absolutely Must Not Break if You Want to Survive the School Bus.  John Grandits.  Clarion, 2011.
Kyle is nervous about riding the school bus for the first time, so his older brother gives him ten rules he must follow.  Kyle breaks all the rules and comes up with his own “Rule 11: ignore your brother’s rules.”  Everyone who has ever ridden a school bus will loves this book, and maybe even those who haven’t.  Fabulous illustrations enhance the humor.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud 1st-4th grade

 

There’s No Place Like School : Classroom Poems. Selected by Jack Prelutsky.  Greenwillow Books, 2010.
A collection of 18 light-hearted poems by 13 poets.  A companion to What a Day it Was at School.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud 1st-3rd grade

This School Year Will Be the Best. Kay Winters.  Dutton, 2010.
“What do you hope will happen this year?” asks the teacher.  Humorous responses range from silly to thoughtful.  Good beginning of the year discussions could start here.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-3rd grade

Wemberly Worried.  Kevin Henkes.  Greenwillow, 2000.
Wemberly worries about everything, including the first day of school.  A kind teacher, making a new friend and fun activities help her overcome her fears.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-1st grade

What a Day it Was at School! Poems. Jack Prelutsky.  Greenwillow, 2009.
A collection of 17 amusing poems about various aspects of school.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-3rd grade

Wow! School! Robert Neubecker.  Hyperion Books, 2007.
Izzy Rides the school bus on the first day of school.  This colorful, oversized book has lots to look at on each double page spread, starting with “Wow! Classroom!”
An enthusiastic look at all school has to offer.
Read-aloud K-1st Grade



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