The list of what a child needs is short.

Food. Shelter. Play. Love.

But they need something else too…Words.

A child needs a forest of words to wander through and a sea of words to splash in. A child needs to be read to and a child needs to read.

Reading fuels the fires of intelligence and imagination.

With school upon us, and parents and teachers alike wondering how to prepare their children and students, the simple is answer to to read. Go to the library, the bookstore, garage sales and stock your bookshelves with books! Here are some of my favorite back to school books that you’re sure to enjoy beyond the first days of school!

Ally-saurus and the First Day of School
By: Richard Torrey
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

You can call her Ally-SAURUS! When Ally roars off to her first day at school, she hopes she’ll meet lots of other dinosaur-mad kids in class. Instead, she’s the only one chomping her food with fierce dino teeth and drawing dinosaurs on her nameplate. Even worse, a group of would-be “princesses” snubs her! Will Ally ever make new friends? With its humorous art, appealing heroine, and surprise ending, this fun picture book celebrates children’s boundless imagination.

Birdie’s First Day of School
By: Sujean Rim
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Tomorrow is Birdie’s first day of school and she is just SO nervous. What will her teacher be like? What should she bring? What should she WEAR? When Birdie walks into her brand-new classroom . . . oh my! A whole new world opens up as she discovers all the fun and adventure that school has to offer.

Dad’s First Day
By: Mike Wohnoutka
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

All summer Oliver and his dad played together, laughed together, sang together, and read together.

Now it’s time for Oliver to start school!

On the first day, Oliver’s dad isn’t quite ready. . . . Suddenly he feels nervous. His tummy hurts, and he would rather stay home.

But Oliver isn’t convinced. What if the first day is really fun? What if it’s the start of an exciting year?

In this charming story of first-day jitters, acclaimed author and illustrator Mike Wohnoutka perfectly captures the mixed emotions felt by kids and their parents when big changes are afoot.

For the Right to Learn: Malala Yousafzai’s Story
By: Rebecca Langston-George
Illustrated by: Janna Bock
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

She grew up in a world where women were supposed to be quiet. But Malala Yousafzai refused to be silent.Discover Malala’s story through this powerful narrative telling, and come to see how one brave girl named Malala changed the world.

How to Read a Story
By: Kate Messner
Illustrated by: Mark Siegel
Genre: Nonfiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Step One: Find a story. ( A good one. )Step Two: Find a reading buddy. ( Someone nice. )Step Three: Find a reading spot. ( Couches are cozy. )Now: Begin.Accomplished storytellers Kate Messner and Mark Siegel chronicle the process of becoming a reader: from pulling a book off the shelf and finding someone with whom to share a story, to reading aloud, predicting what will happen, and-finally-coming to The End . This picture book playfully and movingly illustrates the idea that the reader who discovers the love of reading finds, at the end, the beginning.

I Will Never Get a Star on Mrs. Benson’s Blackboard
By: Jennifer Mann
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Rose’s teacher gives stars for spelling and neatness and giving the right answer, but Rose can’t manage to do any of those things right. Will she ever get a star from Mrs. Benson?

Rose is a distracted and creative soul. She does her best at school, but sometimes her mind wanders, and she answers the wrong question. Her reading voice is quiet, not strong and loud. And her desk?—?well, keeping her desk neat is a challenge. When it’s time to make thank-you cards for a class visitor, Rose’s art supplies turn her workspace?—and her?—?into a colorful mess. But her artistic skills shine through in the gorgeous oversize card she creates. Could she possibly get a star after all? A cheerful and empowering picture book for the child whose talents lie in unconventional areas, and those still searching for their strengths.

If You Ever Want to Bring an Alligator to School, DON’T!
By: Elise Parsley
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Note to self: If your teacher tells you to bring something from nature for show-and-tell, she does not want you to bring an alligator! But nothing will stop Magnolia, who’s determined to have the best show-and-tell of all–until her reptilian rapscallion starts getting her into some major trouble. Now it’s up to Magnolia to find a way to send this troublemaker home–but what could possibly scare an alligator away?

Maybelle Goes to School
By: Katie Speck
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

If there’s one thing Maybelle the cockroach can’t resist, it’s cake. So when Mrs. Peabody bakes her famous Ten Layer Tower of Taste for the school bake sale, Maybelle finds herself in the school lunchroom-and chaos ensues!
Food fights, tarantulas, and the requisite car chase scene complete this hilarious new adventure for everyone’s favorite cockroach character.

Running the Road to ABCs
By: Denize Lauture
Illustrated by: Reynold Ruffins
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Six island children are running at daybreak — over the hills, through the fields, across the city square — to school! Never before has the love of learning (and learning together) been such a joyous time. Denise Lauture’s buoyant, poetic text captures the happiness and youth of energetic children on the way to school; Reynold Ruffins perfectly illustrates the rich beauty of Haiti with the bright-colored vibrance of Haitian folk art. A great read-aloud book for the classroom.

What James Said
By: Liz Rosenberg
Illustrated by: Matt Myers
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

A funny, heartfelt, perfectly pitched story about misunderstandings and the importance of true friendship.

When a little girl thinks that her best friend James has been saying bad things about her behind her back, she takes action in the form of the silent treatment. As they go about their day and James tries harder and harder to get her to talk to him, they both realize that true friendship surpasses any rumor… or misunderstanding.

Blog Post by : Michelle Gilman, Program Director
August 15, 2017