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8 great back-to-school books recommended by a children's librarian

Back to School: 4 Picture Books and 4 Chapter Books

Ack!, our in-house children’s librarian, Janssen, has done it again with her latest list of recommended reads!  Llama, Llama Misses Momma is seriously beloved at our house and was a big help with preschool transition, Ramona was one of my all-time favorite characters as a kid, and anything written by Mo Willems is solid gold in my book.  Hope you guys love these back-to-school reads as much as I do!

Isn’t back-to-school season a great time of year?

Of course, it can be stressful and busy, and there’s always an adjustment period, but I love the routine of school schedules and the excitement of new friends, new projects, and new opportunities to learn and grow.

School is such an integral part of childhood, that it’s no surprise to see it as the setting for many many children’s books. Here are eight of my favorites – four picture books and four chapter books.

Picture Books:

  1. Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes. Haven’t we all felt these jitters about something new? This book, with its bright, happy colors is perfect for helping a child recognize and overcome the urge to worry unnecessarily over new experiences, especially school.
  2. Miss Nelson is Missing by Harry G. Allard Jr. and James Marshall. This book is one of my all-time favorites. I find the whole idea of a teacher dressing up as a really strict substitute in order to whip her class back into shape so funny. (In fact, Friday was National Book Lover’s Day, so I celebrated by dressing up as both Miss Nelson and Viola Swamp. My daughter almost didn’t recognize me).
  3. Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity by Mo Willems. Nothing is more exciting than show-and-tell, except when you discover your prized possession isn’t quite as unique as you thought. Even worse is when you take the wrong one home by accident. Mo Willems is always a smash hit with kids, and the Knuffle Bunny series is no exception.
  4. Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney. My toddler went through some pretty serious separation anxiety (preschool became a weekly drama for a few months), and this book was really helpful in helping me talk to her about it and how I’d come back at the end of the day.

Chapter Books:

  1. Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary. To me, this is the ultimate school  book. Ramona’s experiences in kindergarten are the highest of the high and the lowest of the low. I can’t wait to read this to my daughter in a year or so.
  2. Wonder by R. J. Palacio. Have you heard of this book? It’s garnered all sorts of awards and accolades in the last year, and it deserves them all. August has a severe facial deformity and has always been home schooled, but this year, he’s decided he wants to attend fifth grade at the public school. His parents are, understandably, worried about what his experience will be like when he looks so very different from everyone else, but August is determined.  Told from multiple perspectives, this book is funny, sweet, and you’ll remember it for a long long time.
  3. Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar and Julie Brinckloe. If your child likes wacky stories, this is the book you’re looking for. Wayside School was supposed to have thirty classrooms in a row, but the builder built them one on top of the other, thirty stories high. Perhaps that’s why things at Wayside are always a little abnormal. Especially in the classroom on the thirteenth floor.
  4. No Talking by Andrew Clements and Mark Elliott. Andrew Clements is the current master of school stories, in my opinion. This is my favorite of his books (and I’ve read many of them), about a high-spirited fifth grade class that has never been able to keep their mouths shut until they start a competition to see who can go longer without talking – the boys or the girls! Funny and clever, I loved it as an adult – I can only imagine how much I would have loved it as a child.

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Janssen is a former librarian and avid reader who is always maxing out her library card. She now stays at home with her two-year-old daughter (with another girl on the way) and blogs about books for readers of all ages, her favorite recipes, and parenting adventures at Everyday Reading.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Siouxzy August 27, 2013 at 10:44 pm

Good recommendations, thanks.

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