It seems that the traditional start of a new school year after Labor Day is gone for good. Although lots of kids will return on Tuesday, September 6, there are others who have been in the classroom for weeks or who attend year-round school. I understand the reasons, but it makes me sad. It seems like we should all be buying new shoes and pencils in mid-August!
Here are five new picture books to pave the way to school….
School’s First Day of School by Adam Rex with illustrations by Christian Robinson
Why hasn’t anyone thought of this before! Of course, it’s not only the first day for the kids – but also for the school which has been getting ready all summer long.
In this delightful picture book, it’s the first day of a newly constructed school – Frederick Douglas Elementary. In the opening pages, “a man named Janitor came to mop the school, and buff his floors, and wash his windows.” But it’s only a few pages before the school bus pulls up and the school is full of children. The school is busy all day long, and the school enjoys some funny moments, including one when a boy “laughed so hard that milk came out of his nose.” In the last few pages, the school along with his friend, Janitor, share a quiet moment watching the sun go down. This is guaranteed to be a story time hit – and a book I’m looking forward to sharing with students in our new building!
Sophie’s Squash Go to School by Pat Zietlow Miller
Sophie isn’t too excited about going to school. In fact, she has kind of a bad attitude. “The chairs were uncomfortable. The milk tasted funny. And no one appreciated her two best friends, Bonnie and Baxter.” Here’s the thing you need to know about Bonnie and Baxter: They are squash.
Sophie grew them herself, and she considers them her best friends. But Steven Green, a persistent little guy, tries to be friends with Sophie. Most of us might back away from a girl so attached to her squash, but not Steven. He tries everything to win Sophie’s friendship. And he does! When I read this one, I’m going to bring two squashes to school and draw little faces on them. If you have a copy of A Friend for Dragon by Dav Pilkey, you are all set for the perfect fruit-based story hour!
Frank and Lucky Get Schooled by Lynn Rae Perkins
A boy feeling down on his luck finds Lucky – a lost black lab. Both of them, Perkins writes “had a lot to learn.” Both go to school: Frank “went to his school thousands of times,” but Lucky learns by observation of the world around him. The fun starts after Frank’s real school day is over and the learning continues. Lucky and Frank learn about science, history, math, and their favorite subject – geography. This is a book that reminds young readers how much they learn outside of the classroom!
The Class by Boni Ashburn
Here is the perfect read aloud for anxious kindergarten students. Following a group of twenty children as they get ready for the first day of school, Ashburn’s diverse group of kids cover a range of emotions: “Four are eager, up since dawn. Three just sit and yawn and yawn. Some are grumpy. Some keep sleeping. They don’t hear the clock beep-beep-ing!” Everyone will recognize themselves in one of these kids. It would be fun to read this book to a group of kids and then ask them how they start their day!
My Favorite Pets by Jeanne Birdsall with illustrations by Harry Bliss
It’s clear from the first picture that Gus is nervous about turning in his report. He even turns it in – with a gift for his teacher, Ms. Smolinski! Gus’s report about life with his family and seventeen sheep appears on the following pages. In it, he describes the havoc sheep can cause, especially when they “think the rug is grass and try to eat it,” and the challenge of trying to teach a sheep to climb a tree. At the end of Gus’s report, the reader can see what Ms. Smolinski thinks of her student’s paper – no spoiler here!
Speaking of the first day of school, the new library is almost ready. There are just a few more boxes….
And if a child wants to read a book that’s just out of reach, we have a conveniently placed library ladder ready to go…..
Finally, as if there aren’t enough reminders that the summer is almost over, this is the scene I confronted in the grocery store yesterday:
Happy Back to School!