It’s back to school time and there are some fabulous picture books to read with young children to talk about school. You will enjoy reading them, your children will enjoy listening to them, and if you chose to donate them to your kid’s classroom, the whole class will read them!
“Hello School” by Priscilla Burris (fabulous illustrator of the “Maggi and Milo” series) is a wonderful story about the first days of school. Even if your child has already started school, it’s a great book to read and start a conversation with a kindergartener about how the school in the story differs from their school. Is there a cubby for them to store things at their school? Do they have circle time? In the story, the teacher explains about listening and not interrupting. Did your child’s teacher do that? Are they counting? Learning about letters? That’s just some of the activities taking place in this lovely book about the first days of school. (Nancy Paulsen Books)
“Did You Hear What I Heard? Poems About School” by Kay Winters and illustrated by Patrice Barton is a perfect picture book to take an elementary school student through the school year. The clever rhymes begin with the start of the school year and take the reader through January and the 100th day of school (which has its own rhyme). There’s Groundhog Day and more until finally, it’s the end of the school year. From the first poem, “Bus Stop,” to the last, kids will enjoy the imaginative and descriptive language. (Dial)
Bus Stop (excerpt)
Breakfast is flurry.
Eggs in a hurry.
People pop up like the toast.
Where is my backpack?
I can’t find my sweater,
the blue one that I like the most!
“Dear Substitute” by Liz Garton Scanlon and Audrey Vernick is illustrated by award-winning Chris Raschka. This imaginative and humorous book will quickly become your reader’s favorite. The story is told through a series of letters to the different entities by a student who is not happy that her teacher is gone. The substitute is Miss Pelly. The narrator explains, ‘”Pelly like a pelican,” she told us. And then she laughed — again.’ The nadir of the day is the letter to Tears. “Dear Tears, Not here. Not now. You understand.” But by the end of the school day, Miss Pelly has won over the kids with her sense of humor and her fun. Things may not be like they are every day with Mrs. Giordano, but “sometimes you’ve got to mix things up a little. You know?” I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this book for substitute teachers to read to classes — it’s a lot to live up to! (Disney-Hyperion Books)
“Take Your Octopus to School Day” by Audrey Vernick and illustrated by Diana Schoenbrun is a charming story about Sam and his quest to be the best. Every time his class has a special day, like Pajama Day, Crazy Hair Day, or Silly Hat Day, he tries to make his pajamas, hair, and hat the most outlandish. But (even though his teacher says it’s not a competition) someone’s hair or hat is always a bit more clever than his. So when his teacher announces Take Your Octopus to School Day, Sam is sure he’ll win. He is sure he’s the only student with a pet octopus. But when Sam rolls Thurgood, his octopus in on his special traveling tank, Caleb is there with his squid. When Thurgood disappears from the tank, Sam realizes that being first isn’t everything. And he and Caleb work together on a surprise for the class. Not only will kids love the message behind the story, they will love learning something interesting about octopuses…and squid. (Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers) Available September 25, 2018.
Please note: This review is based on the final, hardcover books provided by the publishers for review purposes.