Do you have a little one going back to school this week? Or maybe starting for the first time? Here are a few books for young readers that deal with the ups and downs of back to school.
The Kissing Hand , by Audrey Penn (illustrations by Ruth E. Harper and Nancy M. Leak)
Chester Raccoon is ready to start school but he's a little worried he'll miss his mother so she gives him the gift of her kiss to last the whole day long. It's sweet and tender and beautifully illustrated. A classic for a reason!
Llama Llama Misses Mama, by Anna Dewdney
Llama Llama's mama has gotten him all ready for his first day of school. They've met the teacher. They've looked around the classroom. They've talked to the other children. But now it's time for Mama to leave and Llama Llama is sad. Will she remember to come back for him?
Franklin Goes to School, by Paulette Bourgeois (illustrations by Brenda Clark)
Franklin is excited to start school...until he has to actually get on the bus. This book was a perennial favourite in my daycare classrooms as children faced their own fears about starting "big school."
Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten, by Joseph Slate (illustrations by Ashley Wolff)
The Miss Bindergarten books are fantastic! They are alphabet books with a twist. All of the letters are represented by members of the classroom (like Katie the kangaroo, Izzy the iguana) but told in one fluid story. In this one the children's names are rhymes with the things they are doing to get ready for kindergarten (Adam Krupp wakes up, Brenda Heath brushes her teeth, Zach Blair finds his chair). Fantastic!
We Share Everything!, by Robert Munsch (illustrations by Michael Martchenko)
This is a favourite with my daughter and my daycare classes alike. The kindergarten teacher is hilariously saccharine, reminding the children to "share everything." Meanwhile, two warring students who are having trouble sharing ANYTHING without getting into a fight finally take the teacher's advice to heart and start sharing their pants, shoes and shirts, much to the teacher's dismay. Classic Robert Munsch.
Froggy Goes to School, by Jonathan London (illustrations by Frank Remkiewicz)
Froggy is nervous at first about his first day of school, but comes around with enthusiasm when he sees how much fun he'll have. This was always a favourite among the children in my daycare classes, particularly those who needed a little reassurance about life's big changes.
Your back-to-school reading might not include watching DVDs, but if you're looking for one with a school theme, there's Pooh's Grand Adventure. The residents of the Hundred Acre Woods are worried because they've heard that Christopher Robin has gone off to the ominous sounding place called "Skull." The animals must all be brave and set out to find him. I just love that it really emphasizes that Pooh and the gang are the stuffed animals in Christopher Robin's room who are left on their own while he grows up and goes off to school (long before Toy Story!)
Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity, by Mo Willems
I love all of the Knuffle Bunny books so much! In this one, Trixie brings her precious Knuffle Bunny to school for show-and-tell, only to discover that another child has the same bunny! When the two bunnies get mixed up, Trixie and her Daddy must go on a late night adventure to find the real Knuffle bunny.
First Day, Hooray!, by Nancy Poydar
It's the first day of school for everyone! Young Ivy Green must prepare for the first day of school, but so must the teacher, the principal, the bus driver and the janitor, each of whom has their own preparations and anxieties about the coming school year. As someone who has a lot of teachers in her family, I appreciate the perspective that everyone has things to get ready for as the school year begins, and everyone gets just a little nervous.