Thursday, August 2, 2012

12 great back-to-school books for young kids


In the weeks leading up to September, I like to read my kids a few cheerful books about school to get them back into the groove. A number of these are rather mainstream, but as you dig into the indie titles they tend to be more issues-oriented vs. lighthearted fun, and I like to keep it light when I'm getting the kids ready for that first week back.

Here are my top 12 for the younger set, Pre-K to 2nd grade:

1. RICHARD SCARY'S GREAT BIG SCHOOLHOUSE 
By Richard Scary. (ages 3 and up)

Kids and grownups alike love Scary’s mischievous drawings and quirky tales featuring Huckle the Cat and Lowly the Worm (and a host of irresponsible adults having accidents with pickle cars and motorcycles). In the Great Big Schoolhouse we also learn the alphabet and other pertinent school-age lessons.

2. THIS IS THE WAY WE GO TO SCHOOL: A BOOK ABOUT CHILDREN AROUND THE WORLD 
By Edith Baer. Illustrated by Steve Bj√∂rkman. (ages 4 and up)

I love these simple rhymes about how kids around the world get to school: by ferry, trolley car and even by helicopter.

3. BISCUIT GOES TO SCHOOL
By Alyssa Satin Capucilli. Illustrated by Pat Schories. (ages 5-7)

Biscuit the puppy wants to go to school like everyone else, and sneaks in. Woof! Woof!

4. MILES TO GO 
By Jamie Harper. (ages 3 and up)

Preschooler Miles has to get to school lickety split in his toy car, no matter what.

5. CURIOUS GEORGE'S FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL 
By H. A. Rey. (ages 5 and up)

It’s the first day of school, and George the curious monkey has been invited to Mr. Apple’s class to be a special helper. ‘Nuff said.

6. MISS BINDERGARTEN GETS READY FOR KINDERGARTEN  
By Joseph Slate. Illustrated by Ashley Wolff. (ages 3 and up)

Miss Bindergarten readies her Kindergarten classroom for the first day of school in this fun alphabet book that kids will read over and over.

7. CLIFFORD'S FIRST SCHOOL DAY
By Norman Bridwell. (ages 4 and up)

Clifford the Small Red Puppy’s hilarious misadventures at school.

8. LUNCH MONEY AND OTHER POEMS ABOUT SCHOOL 
By Carol Diggory Shields. Illustrated by Paul Meisei. (ages 3 and up)

Funny poems about hot topics like the morning rush to school (“Eight-Oh-Three”) and what’s on the school lunch menu (“Decisions”).

9. IF YOU TAKE A MOUSE TO SCHOOL
By Laura Numeroff. Illustrated by Felicia Bond. (ages 3 and up)

If you take a mouse to school, he'll ask you for your lunch box. When you give him your lunch box, he'll want a sandwich to go in it. Where will it all end?!

10. AMELIA BEDELIA GOES BACK TO SCHOOL 
By Herman Parish. Illustrated by Lynn Sweat. (ages 3 and up)

Amelia Bedelia creates hilarious confusion with her literal take on everything in the classroom. Don’t ask her to “take a chair”!

11. PIPPI GOES TO SCHOOL
By Astrid Lindgren. Illustrated by Michael Chesworth. (ages 5 and up)

“Pippi may be ready for school, but is school ready for Pippi?”

12. GRACE FOR PRESIDENT
By Kelly S. DiPucchio. Illustrated by LeUyen Pham. (ages 5 and up)

Grace runs for President in her school's mock election and a political career is launched. (This book has a slightly older theme, but I like it so much I snuck it in.)

That’s my list. What books get your kids excited about going back to school?

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