• The Spark

The K-2 Guide for Back to School Books

Author:  Francie Alexander, Chief Academic Officer, HMH  | 09/09/2016

Mom reading with kidsBack to School season is my favorite time of the year because it represents so many new opportunities. While students continue to settle into classrooms, it may be a good time to look for books that can help ease the transition from summer into fall.There are lots of great titles to suit every age and taste and I’m excited to be able to share some of the wonderful books out there!

Pre-K and Kindergarten 

Going to school is one of the significant milestones of early childhood. I like books that open a window on what to expect before new students walk through a classroom door for the first time. Some titles that help ease this transition:

Froggy Goes To School by Jonathan London

This book is part of a series and very true to character. Froggy has many adventures and misadventures on his first day at school. That said, he appreciates that he's there to learn and even has something to teach the principal.

Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready For Kindergarten by Joseph Slate

Children get a look at school through observing an imaginary animal teacher get her class ready. As a bonus, it all happens in ABC order and the students’ names also provide alphabet word play.

Peppa Pig and the Busy Day at School (based on the TV program)

While the characters are fantastic, the school setting is very realistic. You even get a complete ABC chart within the book. And Peppa learns an important social - emotional lesson on about being able to make a unique contribution on Talent Day in her class.

Grades 1-2

At this age, children have a well-established sense of school. I've taught learners from K to college and have found children at this age are very enthusiastic about getting back to school and delighted with their teachers. They also become more concerned about what others think. 

First Grade Drop Out by Audrey Vennick 

Humor, a problem to solve and a slice of life in the first grade, this book has it all. The first grade protagonist thinks he can't go back to school and face his friends after calling the teacher Mommy. I've had that happen too and like in real life, it all works itself out.

Miss Nelson Is Missing Collection by Harry Allard and James Marshall 

Miss Nelson is a perennial favorite and she's a teacher that is well liked by all. But when things aren't going well in class, she calls on the dreaded Viola Swamp. We're supposed to wonder where she comes from but if you haven't read it yet, be sure to enjoy it with your kids.

Pete the Cat Rocking in My School Shoes by Eric Litwin created by James Dean 

Pete is part of a series and he's reading, playing and doing all the things kids do in school while rocking in his school shoes. And he doesn't worry about all the demands of school "Because it's all good."

Books are a great way for young learners to get a peek into a new school year and to calm their back to school nerves. There are great books for older students as well; check back for my recommendations for older students in a few days.

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