It’s that time again – back to school! The sun is hot, the grass is dry, the kids might (or might not) be bored. So, once you’ve visited all the interactive museums nearby, some quiet reading time might be just the thing. Reading books about school experiences is one more way to help kids transition into the classroom at summer’s end.
There are many different reactions kids can have when it comes to returning to school. For example: some kids are excited, some kids are nervous, some kids are bummed. These are all perfectly fine feelings to have, and kids can rest assured that somebody else has already had them. That’s why there are so many children’s books on this topic! (There are even some for parents.)
Here Comes Teacher Cat by Deborah Underwood and Claudia Rueda (age 3+) is a story about a cat who takes over a sick teacher’s class. He leads the students in humorous, cat versions of typical school routines. He also teaches the kids to emulate him and use signs to communicate. This book is a good intro to school with a lead character who overcomes his own misgivings.
The Pigeon Has To Go To School by Mo Willems (age 3+) continues the hilarious adventures of Pigeon. As usual, he is worried. This time he frets about going to school. Pigeon’s concerns range from “I already know everything!” to “What if I learn too much?” and everything in between. In typical Mo Willems style, it’s a feel good book with unexpected humor. Just the thing to get through to an anxious kid!
The King of Kindergarten by Derrick Barnes and Vanessa Brantley-Newton (age 3+) is a cheerful, positive story about beginning elementary school. Fun and funny word play turns the classroom into a kingdom, which seems like a great idea for any kid who needs to feel excited about starting school. Isn’t that all of them?
The Class by Boni Ashburn and Kimberly Gee (age 4+) is a sweet story about twenty kids who make up a new class on their first day of school. Some kids are happy, some are tired, some are grumpy. Whether it’s a fashionista or a child who won’t change out of yesterday’s clothes, there is a character for every kid to connect with. This book helps kids know they aren’t the only one having anxious thoughts about starting school. It also embraces diversity with a wide variety of different homes, families and reactions to school.
School’s First Day Of School by Adam Rex and Newbery Award winner Christian Robinson (age 4+) takes an unusual perspective on what the first day can be like – if you’re the school! This book gets kids out of their own heads in a fun and silly way. It’s another one full of examples of other people (and buildings) who feel anxious about change and new experiences. In addition, the illustrations are a joy to look at!
Bad Kitty Takes The Test by Nick Bruel (age 7+) is a graphic novel all about test taking. Its humorous take on testing shows that tests aren’t the only (or even the most important) part of learning – there’s so much more! This story is packed with funny characters who are featured throughout the Bad Kitty series along with goofy scenarios that relate to real-life experiences everyone encounters.
Need recommendations for older kids? Check out Common Sense Media’s Back to School Books list.