What are your kids reading as they prepare to go back to school? Whether they can’t wait to return to the classroom or they’re feeling a little nervous, we have great choices for every learner. See below to find books about the first day of school, stories about anxiety or homework troubles, and feel-good tales about friendship and teamwork – plus some fun crafts to help kids go back to school in style!
Get Excited for School
I Color Myself Different by Colin Kaepernick
When Colin Kaepernick was five years old, he was given a simple school assignment: draw a picture of yourself and your family. What young Colin does next changes his whole world and worldview, allowing him to embrace and celebrate his Black identity through the power of radical self love and knowing your inherent worth.
Schools Around the World by Brenna Maloney
Every day, all around the world, kids go to school, eat lunch and play games… And yet, these universal experiences can look very different between different countries. These books will take our readers on a trip around the globe to celebrate diverse cultures and traditions, and will show us how different (and how similar) we all are!
Meet a Bus Driver! by Jodie Shepherd
Join Emma and Theo on their adventures as they meet community helpers in their neighborhood! Theo and Emma’s school bus driver is getting ready to retire—and now they are sitting in as he trains his replacement. Come along as Emma and Theo get a firsthand look at a bus driver’s job.
The Wheels on the Bus by Sandra Magsamen
Hop on the bright yellow bus and sing and dance along to your little one's favorite song! The bus drives all through the town to pick up new friends, making stops at the farm, in the jungle, under the sea, and in the forest. A soft plush bear finger puppet pokes through to become a character on every spread, moving and dancing to the song. Perfect for transportation lovers, back-to-school, and a sing-along for any time of day, this board book is the just-right tactile choice for little ones.
Clifford’s First Day of School by Norman Bridwell
When Emily Elizabeth brings young Clifford to class, he wants to do everything the students are doing, but eager puppies can't always do things as well as big kids can, and Clifford makes messes left and right. Still, he has a great time, and the kids love playing with him. The book's fresh and funny look at a typical classroom scene is sure to make children smile and inspire confidence in new students, who will see that if this little puppy can do well at school, they can too.
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Books! by Lucille Colandro
There was an old lady who got ready for school! That lovely old lady has returned just in time for the first day of school. Now she's swallowing items to make the very best of her first day back. And just in time for the bus.
Twelve-year-old homeschooled Olive is tired of being seen as "fragile" just because she has osteogenesis imperfecta (otherwise known as brittle bone disease) so she's thrilled when she finally convinces her parents to let her attend Macklemore Elementary. Olive can't wait to go to a traditional school and make the friends she's always longed for, until a disastrous first day dashes her hopes of ever fitting in.
Then Olive hears whispers about a magical, wish-granting hummingbird that supposedly lives near Macklemore. It'll be the solution to all her problems! If she can find the bird and prove herself worthy, the creature will make her most desperate, secret wish come true.
When it becomes clear that she can't solve the mystery on her own, Olive teams up with some unlikely allies who help her learn the truth about the bird. And on the way, she just might learn that our fragile places lead us to the most wonderful magic of all . . .
Clifford Goes to Kindergarten by Norman Bridwell
Emily Elizabeth is starting Kindergarten and she's a little nervous. Good thing that the teacher sent a note home that says each child can bring something from home to make the transition a little easier. But the teacher didn't bet on a child bringing something — or someone — as big as Clifford!
Time for School, Baby Shark by Jon John Bajet
Sing, dance, and read along to this brand-new school-themed song, featuring Baby Shark and his underwater friends. Perfect for back-to-school and all throughout the year, kids and caregivers alike will delight in this silly illustrated story, full of funny, eye-popping illustrations and a catchy tune you won't be able to stop singing. Also features helpful picture guides so readers can dance along, act out the hand and foot movements, and develop their fine motor skills. Snuggle up with your little one and as you laugh, sing, and dance along to this charming and catchy read-aloud!
How Do Dinosaurs Go to School by Jane Yolen with illustrations by Mark Teague
What would you do if a very large Ceratosaurus stomped into your classroom? And what if the student sitting next to you was a gigantic Silvisaurus, who decided to jump on top of the desk? Come along and join the fun as dinosaurs ride the bus, read their favorite books, and have fun on the playground with all their friends. Filled with entertaining details and familiar scenes, each illustration includes the name of the featured dinosaur hidden in the picture. Going to school has never been so much fun!
I Spy School Days by Jean Marzolo with photos by Walter Wick
School's open for I SPY fans, with a fun learning activity on every page. Readers will find a blackboard scene with brainteasers to solve, a classification puzzle to ponder, a nature scene to explore, and much, much more!
David Goes to School by David Shannon
In this companion to the Caldecott Honor Book No, David!, David is back for a wild, unruly romp through a school day. David — running, yelling, and pushing with abandon — soon tries the patience of his teacher, but his day ends sunnily with some kind words of encouragement.
Vampires Don't Wear Polka Dots by Debbie Dadey and Marcia Thornton Jones, Adapted by Pearl Low
The third graders at Bailey Elementary are so hard to handle that all of their teachers have quit. But their new teacher, Mrs. Jeepers, is different -- to say the least. She's just moved from Transylvania into a spooky old house in Bailey City. She wears a mysterious brooch that glows as green as her eyes. Could Mrs. Jeepers be a vampire?
Into the Cave of Thieves by Ralph Lazar
When the forces of chaos interrupt the most important meal of Dash's day and conspire against him, his friends, his school, his town, and indeed the entire planet, Dash needs to take things into his own hands, and some crazy stuff starts to happen.
Anxiety & School Jitters
School's In, Crabby! by Jonathan Fenske
It's just another day in the ocean for Crabby and Plankton — until they find themselves INSIDE a school of fish! This gives Plankton a fabulous idea — he and Crabby should play school! But Crabby does not want to play. In four hilarious stories, Crabby uses funny wordplay to distract Plankton from teaching, until finally he gives up and declares, “School is OUT, Crabby!”
Moon Rising (Wings of Fire #6) by Tui T. Sutherland
Peace has come to Pyrrhia . . . for now. The war between the tribes is finally over, and now the dragonets of the prophecy have a plan for lasting peace: Jade Mountain Academy, a school that will gather dragonets from all the tribes and teach them to live together, perhaps even as friends. Moonwatcher isn’t sure how she feels about school, however. Hidden in the rainforest for most of her life, the young NightWing has an awful secret. She can read minds, and even see the future. Living in a cave with dozens of other dragons is noisy, exhausting--and dangerous. In just a few days, Moon finds herself overwhelmed by her secret powers and bombarded by strange thoughts, including those of a mysterious dragon who might be a terrible enemy. And when someone starts attacking dragons within the academy, Moon has a choice to make: Stay hidden and safe? Or risk everything to save her new friends?
My Very Favorite Book in the Whole Wide World by Malcolm Mitchell with illustrations by Michael Robertson
When the daunting task of finding his favorite book is assigned at school, Henley is at a loss. He goes to the library and the bookstore. He looks at so many books of all shapes and sizes, but none of them have made Henley excited enough to read more.
After a fruitless search, Henley returns home, but defeat quickly turns to triumph with one exciting discovery: his mother kept all the books that he wrote when he was younger. That is when Henley gets an idea.
At school the next day, Henley is just as excited as his classmates. And he shares the new book he wrote, The Book Boy. Because there is a book for everyone, even if you have to write it.
When Sophie Thinks She Can't by Molly Bang
When Sophie can't solve a math puzzle, she feels upset and inadequate. "I CAN'T DO IT!" she shouts, expressing the frustration all of us feel when we try and fail. Will she ever be "smart" like her sister? Maybe she isn't smart at all. Luckily Sophie's teacher steps in. What does it mean to be smart? Using current, popular "mindset" techniques, Sophie's class is taught that we get smarter when we exercise our brains, such as when we work harder at solving a puzzle. Struggling to solve a problem doesn't mean "I can't do it!" Sophie and her classmates just can't do it... yet!
Readers will cheer when Sophie finally prevails, and at the end of the day, she's confident and optimistic. At home, Sophie uses her new technique to help her dad solve a carpentry puzzle. In this third book about Sophie, Molly Bang again helps children deal with a challenging everyday issue, providing an opening to ask: What do you do when you think, "I can't!"?
Twins by Varian Johnson & Shannon Wright
Maureen and Francine Carter are twins and best friends. They participate in the same clubs, enjoy the same foods, and are partners on all their school projects. But just before the girls start sixth grade, Francine becomes Fran — a girl who wants to join the chorus, run for class president, and dress in fashionable outfits that set her apart from Maureen. A girl who seems happy to share only two classes with her sister!
Natalie has never felt that she's enough — athletic enough, stylish enough, or talented enough. And on the first day of middle school, Natalie discovers that things are worse than she thought — now she's not even cool enough for her best friend, Lily! As Natalie tries to get her best friend back, she learns more about her true self and natural talents. If Natalie can focus on who she is rather than who she isn't, then she just might realize she's more than enough, just the way she is.
Guts by Raina Telgemeier
Raina wakes up one night with a terrible upset stomach. Her mom has one, too, so it's probably just a bug. Raina eventually returns to school, where she's dealing with the usual highs and lows: friends, not-friends, and classmates who think the school year is just one long gross-out session. It soon becomes clear that Raina's tummy trouble isn't going away... and it coincides with her worries about food, school, and changing friendships. What's going on?
Friendship, Kindness, & Teamwork
You Are Enough by Margaret O'Hair with illus. by Sofia Cardoso
It can be hard to be differentwhether because of how you look, where you live, or what you can or can't do. But wouldn't it be boring if we were all the same? Being different is great! Being different is what makes you YOU.
This inclusive and empowering picture book from Sofia Sanchez an 11-year-old model and actress with Down syndromereminds readers how important it is to embrace your differences, be confident, and be proud of who you are. Imagine all of the wonderful things you can do if you don't let anyone stop you! You are enough just how you are.
Sofia is unique, but her message is universal: We all belong. So each spread will feature beautiful, full-color illustrations of a full cast of kid characters with all kinds of backgrounds, experiences, and abilities.
Hello Hedgehog: Do You Like My Bike by Norm Feuti
Hedgehog loves his new bike. His best friend Harry says he likes it, too. But when Hedgehog asks Harry to go bike riding with him, Harry says he does not want to go. Does Harry not like his friend's new bike? Or could this all have something to do with training wheels?
Unicorn and Yeti: A Good Team by Heather Ayris Burnell, with illustrations by Hazel Quintanilla
Yeti is good at kicking the ball. Unicorn cannot kick the ball.
Unicorn is good at running races. Yeti cannot run fast.
Unicorn and Yeti play ring toss, run a race, and go ice skating. These laugh-out-loud stories with full-color artwork and easy-to-read text throughout are perfect for new readers!
Bunbun & Bonbon: Fancy Friends by Jess Keating
Bunbun has it all: a delightful Bunbun nose, a winning Bunbun smile, a ridiculously cute Bunbun tail, and not one, but two adorable Bunbun ears. But Bunbun doesn't have a friend — until Bunbun meets Bonbon. Learning how to be fancy and eating donuts for lunch are two of the duo's many adventures in this irresistible young graphic novel by acclaimed author and illustrator Jess Keating. Hop hop hooray!
Just Be Cool, Jenna Sakai by Debbi Michiko Florence
When Jenna Sakai gets dumped over winter break, it confirms what she learned from her parents' messy divorce: Relationships are risky and only lead to disappointment. So even though she still has to see her ex-boyfriend Elliott at newspaper club, Jenna is going to be totally heartless this semester — no boys, just books.
But keeping her cool isn't always easy. Jenna's chief competition for a big journalism scholarship is none other than Elliott. Her best friend Keiko always seems busy with her own boyfriend. And cute-but-incredibly-annoying Rin Watanabe keeps stealing her booth at the diner she's been hiding at every day after school. Rin is every bit as stubborn and detached as Jenna. And the more Jenna gets to know him, the more intriguing a mystery he seems. Soon Jenna is starting to realize that being a loner is kind of, well, lonely. And letting people in might just be a risk worth taking.
The Boy Who Made Everyone Laugh by Helen Rutter
Billy Plimpton has a big dream: to become a famous comedian when he grows up. He already knows a lot of jokes, but thinks he has one big problem standing in his way: his stutter.
At first, Billy thinks the best way to deal with this is to… never say a word. That way, the kids in his new school won't hear him stammer. But soon he finds out this is NOT the best way to deal with things. (For one thing, it's very hard to tell a joke without getting a word out.)
As Billy makes his way toward the spotlight, a lot of funny things (and some less funny things) happen to him. In the end, the whole school will know …
If you think you can hold Billy Plimpton back, be warned: The joke will soon be on you.
Link, Michael, and Dana live in a quiet town. But it’s woken up very quickly when someone sneaks into school and vandalizes it with a swastika.
Nobody can believe it. How could such a symbol of hate end up in the middle of their school? Who would do such a thing?
Because Michael was the first person to see it, he’s the first suspect. Because Link is one of the most popular guys in school, everyone’s looking to him to figure it out. And because Dana’s the only Jewish girl in the whole town, everyone’s treating her more like an outsider than ever.
The mystery deepens as more swastikas begin to appear. Some students decide to fight back and start a project to bring people together instead of dividing them further. The closer Link, Michael, and Dana get to the truth, the more there is to face — not just the crimes of the present, but the crimes of the past.
Back to School in Style
Adorable fluffy goodness you can take on the go! Make 6 keychains that will pom-ify your backpack, jacket, or anything else you can clip them to. Choose from 9 designs like a fluffy unicorn or glitter monogram, and then learn basic sewing skills as you transform the deluxe, extra-large pom-poms into trendy accessories. Make each keychain yours by adding glitter foam pieces, smaller pom-poms, or making your own tassels!
Make one, give one! Cross-stitch six keychains to share with your BFF. Choose from 14 easy-to-follow design patterns to match your friendship. Whether you want to be total twinsies with matching keychains or you're more of the opposites-attract type, you'll have plenty of options to create the perfect pair. Wear them loud and proud to show off your bond with your bestie.
DIY Barrettes, Bows, & Hair Ties
Deck out alligator clips and bobby pins with sparkly rhinestones, fuzzy pom-poms, gold letters, and other trinkets using our custom clear, super-strength glue. Also learn how to make faux leather bows and super cute hair ties with simple bejeweled bows. This simple craft is perfect for kids who love fashion and expressing their unique creativity!
Show-off your unique style with trendy hair accessories! No matter what your mood, you'll find a style to match your attitude. Use the included headbands as your base to craft five projects right out of the box, all of which work with every hair type, plus six bonus projects show you how to change up the look with materials in the kit.
Stickers never go out of style, and now you can give them your own flair with deluxe glitter, holographic foil, and colorful gems! This kit comes with three sticker sheets (that's more than 75 stickers!) full of the super cute designs like rainbows, unicorns, narwhals, aliens, and rocket ships, that are already decorated with glitter, gold, or pretty pastels. Use the custom rhinestone applicator to add over 200 rhinestones to take their sparkle game to the next level. Share with friends and level up your stuff with sparkles!
Make your own reusable stickers! Use custom jelly paint to trace sticker designs from penguins to rainbows, then simply let the paint dry. This kit comes with everything you need to make up to 60 reusable stickers and then decorate them with rhinestones and wiggly eyes. These stickers are perfect for phone cases, water bottles, and screens. They're guaranteed to glam up your gear!
Make Your Own Stick-On Patches
Patches are the perfect way to add a little sparkle to your jackets, backpacks, phone cases, and more! With this kit, you'll learn to make 12 fluffy and shiny stick-on patches. It's as simple as layering the precut felt shapes, sewing them together, and attaching an adhesive back-no ironing required. Show off your creative flair by adding pizzazz to just about everything!