School is upon us and that means much to see and learn. The following books are all picture books and best for ages five through eight unless otherwise indicated.
Butterflies on the First Day of School, by Annie Silvestro and brightly illustrated with vivid colors throughout by Dream Chen, is the perfect book for the first day of school jitters. The book addresses the thoughts and anxieties youngsters may have going to a new school, grade, or class. Reading this beautifully illustrated book is likely to open up discussions with children who may not know how to talk about their fears or even realize what they may feel anxious about. Young Rosie is excited about the first day until the night before. But as she goes through her day and helps others, her happiness takes over and the fear dissipates.
Rock Star Recess, by Patrick Baggatta and richly illustrated with vibrant color by Emily Mullock, is an imaginative story about Elsie and what her two friends end up doing after music class. She was becoming bored with playing Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star so she decided to start up a rock band with her two friends and play during recess. This clever story shines on what we can create and enjoy with just a little imagination. You’ll be surprised with the song they end up performing during recess!
VIP: Very Important Preschooler, by Cindy Jin and brightly illustrated by Ella Bailey, is a smallish board book that will help alleviate trepidation for younger children going to preschool for the first time. The book cleverly proceeds through the week with a different activity for every day. This will give children, ages two through four a very good idea of what to expect at their preschool.
The Little Bear, by Nicola Killen, is a sweet and adorable story about beginning school. However, this book has a different slant to the storyline. As young Ollie, who is sublimely dressed like a cuddly bear, gets ready for bed, she feels nervous about school the next day. She suddenly hears the hoot of an owl, and her magical nighttime adventure begins. Gold etching around some of the characters highlights the unique nature of this edition, making this a beautiful read-out-loud and favorite story for your youngster.
Puppy Bus, by Drew Brockington, is a fun book to read to with your children during the beginning of school. This hilarious book would also be perfect for those youngsters who have moved and face completely new surroundings. When a young boy, who recently moved with his family to a new neighborhood, gets on the wrong bus, the fun and laughs begin and won’t let up until the very last page! The wonderfully hand-drawn and colored illustrations are bright and lend to the humor.
Don’t Forget, by Jane Godwin and perfectly painted by Anna Walker, is a sweet list of life’s to-does. Each page reads with simple text and wonderful imagery that emphasizes the importance of the written words. On one open page you read: Don’t forget to smile, and lend a hand when you can. The illustrations show two children helping each other. This is a wondrous story to remind us all that it’s the little things, like helping others, that brings joy.
Time to Fly, by George Ella Lyon and full open-page illustrations done digitally by Stephanie Fizer Coleman, is a nice allegory little ones can connect with their school jitters. A young bird does not want to leave the nest and Mama Bird continues to encourage him to keep trying and not give up. Her maneuvers and motivational ideas do not go unnoticed when Baby Bird succeeds. This rhyming tale is sure to strike the right chord with youngsters heading to school.
Ally-Saurus & The First Day of School, by Richard Torrey, is a board book rich in imagination. Young Ally is about to go to the first day of school. It becomes immediately apparent that she loves dinosaurs. She imagines herself to be a dinosaur as she chops on her breakfast with her imaginary sharp teeth. She asks her mother if there will be other dinosaurs in her class. The clever way Mr. Torrey drew her imaginary tail and ridges on her back was with a simple red line in contrast to the graphite etching. Ally soon discovers other children in her class have imaginations of being something else. You see Robert with a blue line around his body portraying an astronaut and Tina with a yellow crown signifying a princess. Ally has a great first day encouraging youngsters of their outcome.
This is a School, by John Schu and vividly illustrated using watercolor, acrylic paint, and digital collage, will give little ones entering school for the first time a tour of school. This tour will help alleviate the anxiety that they might feel. It begins with meeting the teacher, seeing the classroom, hallway, the library, and more. The full open-page pictures help give a feel for what children do at school and then the learning and enjoyment that takes place. Children will feel the essence of belonging to a community in class and school.