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School is about to begin and children everywhere are anticipating all that awaits them. However, some kids are nervous about their first day. Here are some great books to help open discussions about the beginning of school. All are picture books and all are good for ages four through eight.
A Tiger Tail (Or What Happened to Anya on Her First Day of School), by Mike Boldt, is a delightful story addressing fears and doubts about the first day of school. Anya has just discovered she has grown a tiger tail and school is about to begin. She doesn’t want to go to school looking this way and tells her mom she just won’t go. But through good parenting skills, and dealing with her uniqueness, she makes some important discoveries about herself and her peers. The illustrations are bright and Anya’s facial expressions are fun and captivating.
Otter Goes to School, by Sam Garton, is a book in a series of “Otter” books. This cute little otter attempts to get his stuffed toys ready for school. When one of the toys doesn’t like school anymore, a great lesson is learned. The illustrations are so captivating you’ll find yourself looking over them again and again.
Lola Knows A Lot, by Jenna McCarthy, and illustrated with colored pencils, cut paper and digital media to create digital pictures by Sara Palacios, showcases an adorable young Lola as she prepares for her new experiences in elementary school. She tells her parents and older sister all that she knows (which by her standards is a lot). But she finally realizes there is still much for her to learn. The pictures of her and her sister will make you smile!
Teachers Rock!, by Todd Parr, showcases the positive influences teachers provide to students. Parr’s traditional illustrations are once again vibrant and eye-popping in color. The sentences are simple yet descriptive and easy to grasp. Teachers do so much for their students such as encouraging and helping their students. But they also laugh, brush their teeth and sleep just like the students. This is an exceptional book to ease the nerves of many youngsters.
A Piece of Home, by Jeri Watts, and painted in watercolor by Hyewon Yum, brings out the difficulties of moving from a different culture and country and entering a new school. When Hee Jun moves with his family from Korea to America, they are having trouble adjusting. But as time goes by they begin to speak and understand English. As Hee Jun begins to make friends at school, he begins to find the happiness he felt he left behind in Korea. This is a perfect book to help children understand the many new challenges they will find when entering school.
Pete the Cat’s Got Class, by James Dean, celebrates numbers and applying them to simple math problems. Pete’s friend, Tom, doesn’t like math. Pete sets out to show him how math and numbers can be fun by using items Tom likes. Included in this typical boldly colored book are flash cards with tips, a large poster and stickers. Kids will also learn numbers and amounts as they read the book.
The Class, by Boni Ashburn, and illustrated with pencil and colored digitally by Kimberly Gee, takes twenty children and individually shows them getting ready for their first day of school. As they prepare for their day differently they ultimately come together in their class with their teacher welcoming them. Some of the children begin this special day, eager to get going. Others begin with a yawn. The different groupings of children are most interesting. Each page makes this an excellent counting book as well.
Rappy Goes to School, by Dan Gutman, and brightly illustrated by Tim Bowers, teaches us that it’s cool to stand up and help others who are being bullied. Rappy is a friendly dinosaur who is excited and a little scared when he meets his teacher for the first time. But he soon finds she is great and will help all of her students. When he sees another student being picked on, Rappy intervenes and stops the bullying in its tracks. The entire text is told in rhyme that begs to be read out loud. The beat will have you tapping your foot to the rhythm!
Frank and Lucky Get Schooled, by Lynne Rae Perkins, begins with young Frank getting a new dog, Lucky, from the shelter. As Frank and Lucky learn about each other, they also begin to learn about all that surrounds them. They see the many unique trees, plants and animals all around. They even learn about fractions when Lucky shares a portion of Frank’s bed. Ultimately, they learn that there are many new things you can learn outside of school. The pencil, ink and watercolor used in the pictures create a warm hue that is inviting to the reader.