10 Books I Recommend Reading for Back-to-School!

Well, here we are…back-to-school time again…albeit from home (for us)! Whether you’re heading back in-person or staying home, I’m sure there are many kids out there who are nervous about this new school year, especially those starting school for the first time. In a previous blog post I shared a lovely book that helped my youngest with her transition to school (you can read all about “Lion Heart Goes to School” here.). Since then, I have discovered so many more books that are wonderful for parents and teachers to share at the beginning of the school year.

I hope this list of 10 books inspires excitement about returning to school! Let me know in the comments which book you love for back-to-school.

I have provided links to purchase each book from Bookshop.org – an online resource which connects you with book sellers in your local area. It’s a great way to support small business owners and get to know bookshops nearby you! I’m sure these titles can also be easily found in your public library.


The Day You Begin

“Jacqueline Woodson’s lyrical text and Rafael López’s dazzling art reminds us that we all feel like outsiders sometimes-and how brave it is that we go forth anyway. And that sometimes, when we reach out and begin to share our stories, others will be happy to meet us halfway.”

Bookshop.org

School’s First Day of School

“It’s the first day of school at Frederick Douglass Elementary and everyone’s just a little bit nervous, especially the school itself. The school has a rough start, but as the day goes on, he soon recovers when he sees that he’s not the only one going through first-day jitters.”

Bookshop.org

Your Name is a Song

This is a special book! It was published only a few months ago but is really resonating with families everywhere.

“Frustrated by a day full of teachers and classmates mispronouncing her beautiful name, a little girl tells her mother she never wants to come back to school. In response, the girl’s mother teaches her about the musicality of African, Asian, Black-American, Latinx, and Middle Eastern names on their lyrical walk home through the city. Empowered by this newfound understanding, the young girl is ready to return the next day to share her knowledge with her class.”

Bookshop.org

Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse

This classic book about an eager, school-loving little mouse will surely become a favorite at story time. Lilly’s love for school is infectious! Even though she has a big lesson to learn (after taking out her anger on her teacher for confiscating her toys), she nevertheless appreciates her teacher and leaves us all wishing we were in elementary school with her!

Read along with me here!

Bookshop.org

We Don’t Eat Our Classmates

“It’s the first day of school for Penelope Rex, and she can’t wait to meet her classmates. But it’s hard to make human friends when they’re so darn delicious! That is, until Penelope gets a taste of her own medicine and finds she may not be at the top of the food chain after all. “

Bookshop.org

Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes

We love all of the Pete the Cat books and this one doesn’t disappoint!

“Pete discovers the library, the lunch room, the playground, and lots of other cool places at school. And no matter where he goes, Pete never stops moving and grooving and singing his song…because it’s all good.”

Read “Pete the Cat Saves Christmas” with me here!

Bookshop.org

My Teacher is a Monster!

“A young boy named Bobby has the worst teacher. She’s loud, she yells, and if you throw paper airplanes, she won’t allow you to enjoy recess. She is a monster! Luckily, Bobby can go to his favorite spot in the park on weekends to play. Until one day… he finds his teacher there! Over the course of one day, Bobby learns that monsters are not always what they seem.”

Bookshop.org

The Pigeon HAS to Go to School!

My girls adore every single Mo Willems book, especially the Pigeon series. This one is adorable and will have your little ones laughing and excited about returning to school. I just love how the Pigeon is afraid he might learn TOO MUCH at school!

Read “The Pigeon Finds a Hotdog” with me here!

Bookshop.org

Click, Clack, Quack to School!

“They can stand in line (sort of), use indoor voices (perhaps), and are capable of sharing (rumor has it), so the Click Clack critters are ready for school…but is school ready for them? A charming addition to the award-winning Click, Clack series from the New York Times bestselling and Caldecott winning team who brought you Click, Clack, Moo and Click, Clack, Surprise!

Read “Click, Clack Moo, Cows That Type” with me here!

Bookshop.org

The Class

“Count along with twenty young students from nineteen different homes as they get ready for their first day of kindergarten. Boni Ashburn’s snappy rhyming text and Kimberly Gee’s adorable and diverse group of children make this a great pick for little ones getting ready for their first day of school.”

Bookshop.org

Happy reading everyone! Please let me know which books you like to read this time of year. I’d love to add them to my book list on Bookshop.org!

And, remember, you can read over 100 books with me on my YouTube channel!

Back-to-school jitters

imageAre you preparing for the first day of school this week or next? Both of my girls are truly excited to get back to school, see their friends, and dive into new adventures. But, it wasn’t always this easy, I do remember that very first day of preschool. There was a bit of anxiety and insecurity mixed with a twinge of fear of the unknown that kept my littlest one glued to my hip on those first days. If you can relate to this experience then I would love to recommend a book to you.  Bonus: it’s bilingual!

imageLion Heart Goes to School / Corazón de león va a la escuela is a lovely children’s book by Caro Mejía. I heard about the book through a friend of mine and instantly fell in love with the concept. I brought it home to read with my girls, and from the moment we opened the book we could see how unique it really is. For starters, its interactive and customizable. You take photos of yourself and your child making different facial expressions and then glue them where indicated on each page. The story is about a child going to school for the first time.  It walks us through her morning routine and, just before leaving for school, the caregiver reminds her that she has a brave heart and gives her a small wooden-shaped heart to keep in her pocket. This token comes in handy later on at school when she’s feeling lonely, sad or nervous and needs to feel brave again. My favorite part is that a wooden heart comes with the book so your child not only gets to star in the story, but gets her own heart as well!

Lucky for me, my friend was able to introduce me to the author. It turns out we have quite a few things in common! She is from Mexico City (like my husband), has 2 young children (like me) and is raising them to be bicultural and bilingual (like me). I was not surprised to learn that this project was, and continues to be, a labor of love for Caro. She came up with the idea when her first son was nervous about his first day of school. She found a small stone heart in a drawer and gave it to him to keep in his pocket. She told him it was infused with bravery and any time he needed a reinforcement of courage he could hold on to it. When he later recounted how great his day at school had been, thanks to his heart token, she knew she was onto something.  Caro said she thinks it’s very important for children to see themselves reflected in the narrative of the story. And, what better way to accomplish this than to create a book where your child’s face is actually on each page? Throughout the story there are blank spaces for you to fill in your child’s name as well (although I do wish the spaces were truly blank to make it easier to fill in).  Her hope is that each family will take the the time to customize the book together and also infuse their own family values into the wooden heart whether it be with bravery, compassion, empathy, or courage, for example.  At it’s core, this book is about helping families navigate the transition to daycare or school so that the result is a positive experience.

image

Bianca thoughtfully decorating her heart!

Personally, I have a traumatic memory of getting dropped off for my first day at a new school, in a new country, and feeling horrified! 30 years later and I can remember that day vividly. I would never wish my kids to have a similar experience, and that’s why I think this book is such a wonderful tool! And, if you have a tough time finding kids books in Spanish like I do, then you will love that this one was actually written in Spanish first. If you do pick up a copy of the book I thought you would like to know that Caro plans to donate 50% of all the profits to help children in need. (Also, I am in no way affiliated with sales of the book!)

Good luck with your back-to-school transition! Please let me know in the comments how it goes!