Nontraditional #BacktoSchool Book List: Picture Books Edition

This is the time of year when we are caught up in getting kids ready for going to school for the first time or back to school for a new year. Sharing books with our kids is a great way to celebrate and prepare for the big event.

There are lots of great book lists, and I have tweeted some of my faves @TheReadingTub. We also maintain Back to School Book List that we update all year long.

This year I’m taking a broader approach with a book lists that can create conversation around the anxieties, worries, and fears of the unknown kids may have, but don’t include the word “school.”

Today’s list includes six picture books for students in preschool into third grade. The next list (next Tuesday) is for upper elementary and middle school students. The third list will be for rising high school students.

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Change and Fear of the Unknown

upstairs cat The Upstairs Cat
by Jaimi Ilama

The heart of this story is how dealing with change. Kids who are experiencing change – someone moving away, sibling going to college – will relate to the cat. A cute cat with big green eyes shows kids that change takes courage, that it doesn’t change your feelings of the past, and good things can happen.

blue ocean bobThe Adventures of Blue Ocean Bob – Into the Lead
by Brooks Olbrys

All readers will understand and can speak to Blue Ocean Bob’s emotions (nervousness, overcoming fear, courage, et al.) as he is asked to do something that he has never done before.


want mommyI Want My Mommy!
by Tracey Corderoy

This is a book to share with a child in anticipation of a change in their routine. Arthur is expressive in his emotions (fear, happy) in both words and visually through illustrations. Together, those things not only invite conversation but can also give comfort, too.

Friendship & Being the New Kid

arlo wendy waxArlo Makes a Friend
by Wendy Wax

This is a simply told picture book story about friendship, being the new kid, and bullies.

Kids will see themselves in Arlo and Jack’s dilemmas … and get ideas on how to handle situations in their lives.

Enemy Pie
by Derek Munson

There is lots to explore with this simple story about friendship, the risks of judging people, and problem solving.

Kids are easily hurt by things that aren’t done on purpose (like not being invited to a party), and this story helps them understand that life isn’t always about them.

ice in the jungleIce in the Jungle
by Ariane Hofmann-Maniyar 

Kids getting ready to move, or those about to start a new school will find a friend in Ice. Young readers will relate to Ice and at the same time be like her peers, who are trying to make her feel welcome. I can totally see young children sitting with this book on their own to be with Ice. It is easy to ‘read’ the story with just pictures.