Our school welcomed kids back this last week for five days of rotating fun stations throughout the school. It was organized chaos at its best, and although we all had a great time, I think everyone is looking forward to some stability and calm next week!
In celebration of our first real week back to school, here are 10 of my favourite new and old reads right now for Back to School.
School’s First Day of School
Written by Adam Rex | Illustrated by Christian Robinson
I will read anything by either Adam Rex or Christian Robinson, so a collaboration between the two pretty much makes my heart explode. This is a fantastic but simple story about the first day of school told through the perspective of the school.
A great way to start a conversation about how to treat the school with care and respect.
Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten?
Written by Audrey Vernick | Illustrated by Daniel Jennewein
I used this book all the time in my Kindergarten teaching time, and I still love to read it to kids. A funny romp through expectations of school and Kindergarten, perfect for little ones who are still getting used to the way things work at school. Tackles a lot of anxieties that kids might have, such as being the slowest at something or being alone, but with hilarious illustrations and a giant buffalo!
How to Get Your Teacher Ready
Written by Jean Reagan | Illustrated by Lee Wildish
Another one about the first day of school from a different perspective. How to prepare your teacher so that he or she is ready for you!
I love anything that lets kids take the lead, and this is a perfect segue into a conversation about what your teacher can do to make your time at school positive. I like to read this and then do an activity on ‘What I wish my teacher knew about me’.
You Hold Me Up
Written by Monique Gray Smith | Illustrated by Danielle Daniel
A beautiful and simple book about what we can do to hold each other up. I love Monique Gray Smith’s work and use her books to help talk about empathy, kindness, and how to be a family when we are at school. A great conversation to have at the beginning of the school year!
Written and illustrated by Barroux
Three polar bears are looking for a new home after the ice they live on cracks. They look for a new home but are turned away time after time by the other animals living there. They finally find an empty island to call home, and when three lost monkeys come along…of course they are welcome!
This is a very timely story inspired by the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis, and is a great book to teach about inclusiveness, generosity, and welcoming new friends.
I’m New Here
Written and illustrated by Anne Sibley O’Brien
This is one I pull out several times throughout the year for teachers. It’s a simple but well-written book about the experiences of three new students who are newcomers to the country. It deals with language barriers, isolation, and anxiety through beautifully simple words and pictures. The story tracks the progress of three kids as they become more confident and happy at their new school, eventually thinking of it as a new home.
A New School Year: Stories in Six Voices
Written by Sally Derby | Illustrated by Mika Song
A collection of poems through the perspective of six different students entering a different new grade in school. An overwhelming majority of back-to-school books are about kindergarten. and there aren’t a lot of stories that show the perspective of more than one grade. This one tracks new kids all the way to Grade 5, which I love, and the poems are well-written, simple, funny, and relateable.
My New Friend is So Fun
Written and illustrated by Mo Willems
Obviously you can never go wrong with Elephant and Piggie! No one makes me laugh out loud like Mo Willems, and this one is one of my all time faves. It deals with the fear that your friend is playing with someone else and won’t want to be your friend any more. This is something kids (and adults!) deal with all the time, and although the story is silly and hysterical in classic Mo Willems fashion, it leads to great discussion about what it means to be a true friend, and how love and friendship is strong enough to be shared.
What Do Teachers Do (After You Leave School)?
Written by Anne Bowen | Illustrated by Barry Gott
This book is a fantastic read, especially to kids in Grades 2-3 who are old enough to understand but young enough to still have enough serious suspension of disbelief to enjoy the concept.
A great intro to the school year and discussion about all the rules that the teachers break. Another story where the kids are the responsible ones!
My New Teacher is a Monster! (No, I Am Not.)
Written and illustrated by Peter Brown
This one is just plain hilarious. A great way to break the ice for kids who are scared of meeting their new teacher and don’t know what to expect. We’re a scary bunch! I love the humour in this book and Peter Brown’s signature style.
Another conversation starter about what your teacher can do to help support you.
There’s a Norseman in the Classroom!
Written by Grayson Smith | Illustrated by Timothy Banks
We had Constable Graysom Smith come visit our school last year and we had a blast reading this book with him. It’s a great story about being accepting of differences and being proud of how we all have unique gifts that only we are able to share.
That’s all from me. Hope you all have a wonderful first few weeks back at school! Here’s a bit of weekend cheer for everyone, a little gem from Peter Brown’s book that just kills me.
Yes, it’s weird. Let’s never let it happen.