Books: Back-to-School Reads

Great books to welcome students back to class.

  • Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

1 | Community Soup
By Alma Fullerton. $19.95.
In this Kenyan spin on Stone Soup, a group of kids comes up with a way to help make the village soup, and save some wily goats, to boot. Lush paper-sculpture art. Grades PreK–2.

2 | Map My Neighborhood
By Jennifer Boothroyd. $6.95.
This simple graphic book, which is part of a series, is perfect for a start-of-year community unit. Comes with teaching guide and available as an e-book. Grades K–2.

3 | Monstergarten
By Daniel J. Mahoney, illustrated by Jef Kaminsky. $16.99.
A little monster tries hard to be fierce but finds out his best tactic is just to be himself. Kids will love the colorful and goofy drawings. Grades PreK–1.

4 | Joe and Sparky Go to School
By Jamie Michalak, illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz. $15.99.
A giraffe and a turtle hitch a ride on a bus “for noisy short people” and end up having a day of mishaps
in Ms. Hootie’s class. Grades K–2.

5 | Tony Baloney: School Rules
By Pam Muñoz Ryan, illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham. $6.99.
An eager little penguin breaks all of Mrs. Gamboney’s rules on his first day—but ends by showing he’s the best friend ever. Grades K–2.

6 | The Invisible Boy
By Trudy Ludwig, illustrated by Patrice Barton. $16.99.
A lonely boy who loves to draw aliens and dragons goes from B&W to color by using his skills to make friends. Pitch-perfect words and art. Grades 1–3.

7 | One + One = Blue
By MJ Auch. $16.99.
Two preteens with similar “freakisms” (they have synesthesia) bond after a bumpy start and help each other find a way to navigate school and troubled family dynamics. Grades 6–8.

8 | Troublemaker
By Andrew Clements. $5.99.
Frindle author Clements tells a cautionary tale of serial troublemaker Clay. It takes a brother who’s been to jail and a wise principal to set him straight. Grades 3–7.

9 | Star Wars: Jedi Academy
By Jeffrey Brown. $12.99.
Middle school is tough everywhere: In this graphic novel, Roan thinks he’s doomed when he’s rejected by Pilot School—until he rocks Jedi Academy. Grades 4–7.

10 | My Life as a Cartoonist
By Janet Tashjian, illustrated by Jack Tashjian. $13.99.
Cartoonist Derek butts heads with a wheelchair-driving bully—until they unite. From an award-winning mother-son team. Grades 4–7. 


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  • Subjects:
    Reading, Language Arts, Independent Reading, Reading Fluency, Adjusting to School, Back-to-School Experiences, Back to School, First Day of School

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