Article, Book Resources

5 Back-to-School Stories and Other Picks for Classroom Libraries

Stories about first-day jitters and making new friends, from favorite authors, about math, and more

  • Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

Each year, we look for stories about first-day jitters and new friends. Here's what's worth adding to your shelf.

 

How Do Dinosaurs Go To School?
By Jane Yolen and Mark Teague. $16.99

Yolen and Teague illuminate once more the logistics of dinosaur life, this time with an eye toward the classroom. Teague's smart illustrations make this series,and kids will get a kick out of centrosaurus riding to school on top of a minivan. Grades PreK-2


The Fabled Fourth Graders of Aesop Elementary School
By Candace Fleming. $15.99.

Fleming spins a series of modern fables about a charismatic and wily group of kids.Stories that literally end with a moral run the risk of pedantry, but the author's innate sense of humor and school life make this a nice companion to Aesop's traditional tales. Grades 3-6


Middle School Is Worse Than Meatloaf
By Jennifer L. Holm, illustrated by Elicia Castaldi. $12.99.

We can't stop flipping through the pages of this Year Told Through Stuff. It's the story of Ginny Davis's seventh-grade year, but instead of traditional text, there are school schedules,handwritten notes, instant messages, and even bank statements. It's a pitch-perfect choice for reluctant readers. Grades 5-8


Ruthie and the (Not So) Teeny Tiny Lie
By Laura Rankin. $15.95.

Ruthie likes small things: dinky dinosaurs and itty-bitty trains. So she's in heaven when she discovers a teeny tiny camera on the playground. But then Martin says the camera is his. Rankin nails Ruthie's voice and dilemma, and this book would be a great way to talk recess ethics. Grades PreK-3


Cornelius P. Mud, Are You Ready for School?
By Barney Saltzberg. $25.99.

David Shannon fans, meet Cornelius P. Mud. This little pig's spunkiness and Saltzberg's vivid humorous illustrations echo Shannon at his best. Use this silly story as a springboard to talk about morning routines. Grades PreK-2

 

5 Treats From Old Friends

Baby Bear, Baby Bear, What Do You See?
By Bill Martin Jr., illustrated by Eric Carle. $16.95.

Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle again bring a cast of wild animals to life using simple rhyming text and colorful illustrations. Readers will meet a red fox, a flying squirrel, and a blue heron–not to mention two picture-book legends. Grades PreK-2


The Aurora County All-Stars
By Deborah Wiles. $16.

This novel proves that Each Little Bird That Sings was no fluke: Wiles has the storytelling goods. Here, she tells the adventures of House Jackson, who must confront the nefarious director of his town's anniversary pageant. Grades 3-7


The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World
By E.L. Konigsburg. $16.99.

Two kids, an eccentric old woman, and a mysterious piece of art–Konigsburg created this formula for success with From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and continues it in this brand-new, completely original adventure. Grades 4-8


Aunt Nancy and the Bothersome Visitors
By Phyllis Root,illustrated by David Parkins. $16.99.

The award-winning author of Big Momma Makes the World is back with a rollicking collection of trickster tales that begs to be read aloud. Readers will be hooked from the first line: "Aunt Nancy should of knowed Old Man Trouble was in the neighborhood." Grades 2-5


Love, Stargirl
By Jerry Spinelli. $16.99.

inally, we discover what happened to the mysterious girl that ruled Leo's life–this time,from her enchanting perspective. Spinelli delivers a companion story to the best-selling Startgirl that is just as compelling as the first. Grades 6 and up

 

4 Books You Can Count On

Fun story lines plus a dose of 1, 2, 3's that equals a back-to-school review that's tops.

The Wishing Club: A Story About Fractions 
By Donna Jo Napoli, illustrated by Anna Currey. $16.95.

When a lively group of siblings wish upon a star, everyone receives only part of what he or she wanted. Napoli cleverly explains fractions as her characters figure out how to make the whole dream come true. Grades 1-4
 

Fish, Swish!, Splash, Dash! 
By Suse MacDonald. $8.99.

Kids will have a blast counting colorful under-the-sea cutouts in this simple,sturdy picture book. When readers reach 10, they flip the book upside down and count back to one. Grades PreK-1


Five Little Monkeys Go Shopping 
By Eileen Christelow.$16.

A zany back-to-school shopping trip creates ample opportunity for monkey mischief and basic math practice in the latest installment of Christelow's cheeky series. Grades PreK-2


Math Fables Too 
By Greg Tang,illustrated by Taia Morley. $16.99.

In his newest collection of rhymes, teacher hero Tang combines counting, addition and basic facts about koalas,dolphins, and other friendly creatures. The result is a winning read-aloud that would also be at home in a math or science center. Grades PreK-2

 

4 Books in Spanish

Resources for Spanish/English-speaking students keep getting better and better.

Beauty and the Beast 
Adapted by Roser Ros,illustrated by Cristina Losantos. $14.95.

The story of la bella y la bestia joins this series of bilingual fairy tales,each of which offers expert translation and gorgeous illustrations. Spanish and English on the same page allows for back-and-forth teaching. Grades 1-5


Cuentos que contaban nuestras abuelas 
By F. Isabel Campoy and Alma Flor Ada. $12.99.

Older Kids will be delighted by this unique anthology of Hispanic folk tales (in Spanish only). The authors include notes explaining each story's origin and importance to Hispanic culture. Grades 1-6


The Moon Is la Luna 
By Jay M. Harris, illustrated by Matthew Cordell. $15.

Humor is a universal language in this funny collection of rhymes, which teaches basic Spanish words and their English counterparts. A pronunciation guide and glossary up the educational value. Grades K-5


Diego 
By Jeannette Winter and Jonah Winter. $15.99

From the author of Frida comes the story of Diego Rivera, accompanied by beautiful illustrations painted in the style of the Mexican muralist. Grades 2-5

 

  • Part of Collection:
  • Subjects:
    Curriculum Development, Literature, Literature Appreciation, Back-to-School Experiences, Back to School, Friends and Friendship, New Teacher Resources, Teacher Tips and Strategies
top