September is here. For the kiddos that means heading back to school. Meeting new teachers, learning a new school building, making new friends . . . big kid school can be quite a transition for the littlest littles. Fortunately, the scariest apprehensions can be tamed with a snuggle and a good book.
In our house, we’ve always used books to help prep our kids for new experiences. From the first trip to the dentist to the first time on an airplane to the first day of school, reading together ahead of time has blessed us with many smooth “firsts,” keeping meltdowns at bay. So this month’s Scuppernong Bookshelf goes out to the littles — and the parents — in all our lives. We’ve got a great collection of books about going back to school to help even the most nervous nellies feel excited about getting on the big yellow bus, ready for their next adventure.
Llama Llama Back to School by Anna Dewdney and Duncan Reed, illustrated by JT Morrow
It’s almost time for the first day of school for Llama! But Llama Llama isn’t ready for a summer full of backyard camping, family picnics and ice cream to end. He’s anxious about his first day back at school, but maybe, with some help from his friends and Mama Llama, it will be fun after all!
The Queen of Kindergarten by Derrick Barnes, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton
A confident little Black girl has a fantastic first day of school in this companion to The New York Times bestseller The King of Kindergarten.
MJ is more than ready for her first day of kindergarten! With her hair freshly braided and her mom’s special tiara on her head, she knows she’s going to rock kindergarten. But the tiara isn’t just for show — it also reminds her of all the good things she brings to the classroom, stuff like her kindness, friendliness and impressive soccer skills. Like The King of Kindergarten, this book encourages back-to-school excitement and builds confidence in the newest students.
School’s First Day of School by Adam Rex, illustrated by Christian Robinson
The New York Times bestselling author (The True Meaning of Smekday) and illustrator (Last Stop on Market Street) team up to bring you a fresh look at the first day of school — from the school’s perspective.
It’s the first day of school at Frederick Douglass Elementary and everyone’s just a little bit nervous, especially the school itself. What will the children do once they come? Will they like the school? Will they be nice to him?
The school has a rough start, but as the day goes on, he soon realizes that he’s not the only one with first-day jitters.
The Pigeon Has to Go to School by Mo Willems
Why does the Pigeon have to go to school? He already knows everything! And what if he doesn’t like it? What if the teacher doesn’t like him? What if he learns too much?!?
Ask not for whom the school bell rings; it rings for the Pigeon!
We Don’t Eat Our Classmates: A Penelope Rex Book by Ryan T. Higgins
It’s the first day of school for Penelope Rex, and she can’t wait to meet her classmates. But it’s hard to make human friends when they’re so darn delicious! That is, until Penelope gets a taste of her own medicine and finds she may not be at the top of the food chain after all.
This Is a School by John Schu, illustrated by Veronica Miller Jamison
A school isn’t just a building; it is all the people who work and learn together. It is a place for discovery and asking questions. A place for sharing, for helping and for community. It is a place of hope and healing, even when that community can’t be together in the same room. John Schu, a librarian and former ambassador of school libraries for Scholastic, crafts a love letter to schools and the people that make up the communities within. OH
Shannon Purdy Jones is co-owner of Scuppernong Books.
Calling All Readers!
We cordially invite you to join the new O.Henry Readers Club. We’d love to publish your thumbnail review of whatever great book you are reading at the moment.
Submit — and join — simply by emailing our (bookish) managing editor at email@example.com.