I can smell it in the air, can you? The fragrance of dry leaves, the scent of new crayons and notebooks and sneakers. A new school year is just around the corner, or perhaps it has already started in your neck of the woods. As a kid I always looked forward a little nervously to the first day of school. Would I like my teacher, I wondered? Would I make friends? Would I understand what we were learning?
We didn’t take pictures of every little moment back when I was a kid like families do now, but here’s a favorite first day of school picture from my childhood. I think you can catch a glimpse of my nervousness in the way I’m holding that book bag and have my feet tucked so tidily side-by-side.
And what better way to soothe back-to-school jitters than with a picture book, or two, or eight! Each of these is engaging and full of back-to-school messages of hope and joy and acceptance. I give them all two thumbs ups!!! Enjoy!
LITTLE MOLE GOES TO SCHOOL, written by Glenys Nellist and illustrated by Sally Garland, is the sweet tale of Little Mole who is worried about all of the above (see the intro to this post) but learns we all have special roles to play and gifts to offer. (Beaming Books, 2022) *Stay tuned for an interview with Little Mole later this week!
TWO TOUGH TRUCKS, written by Corey Rosen Schwartz and Rebecca J. Gomez and illustrated by Hilary Leung uses two big trucks as stand-ins for two kids. It is the perfect story to calm back-to-school nerves and set the wheels in motion for a terrific school year. Written by two of the best rhymers around, it’s also full of fun word play that will tickle the engines of young readers everywhere. (Orchard Books, 2019) See here for a post with activities I rounded up for the book when it first came out.
SCHOOL’S FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL, written by Adam Rex and illustrated by Christian Robinson, imagines what the very building itself might be feeling on the first day of school! (Roaring Brook Press, 2016)
IT’S YOUR FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL, BUSY BUS, written by Jody Jensen Shaffer and illustrated by Claire Messer, showcases the excitement and worries little ones experience as they prepare for their first day through the lens of a very special bus. (Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2018) Check out five fun facts about the book from the author here.
I WALK WITH VANESSA, illustrated by Kerascoët, wordlessly tells the story of one girl who inspires a community to stand up to bullying. It makes a wonderful conversation starter for being the kind of people who connect rather than divide. (Schwartz & Wade, 2018)
AND I THINK ABOUT YOU, written by Rosanne L. Kurstedt and illustrated by the Ya-Ling Huang, poignantly captures the love and connection shared by a working mama bear and her cub. During the day, they are apart while at work and school, but they are always thinking of each other. Told with the feel of a letter (or love song) from mama to child, it is just the kind of story I would have loved to snuggle up with with my own kids when they were little. (Kids Can Press, 2022) *Stay tuned for a post with activities for this book coming soon!
BUNNY’S BOOK CLUB GOES TO SCHOOL, written by Annie Silvestro and illustrated by Tatjana Mai Wyss, is a delightful read celebrating friendship and books through the antics of Bunny and friends. (Doubleday Books for Young Readers, 2019)
MY KINDERGARTEN, written and illustrated by Rosemary Wells, charmingly captures the magic and wonder of kindergarten through a series of vignettes that take readers through the school year. This is a family favorite! (Disney-Hyperion, 2004)
In closing, what books would you add to my round up? Let me know in the comments below.
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3 thoughts on “Eight Engaging BACK-TO-SCHOOL PICTURE BOOKS for Little Ones”
Thanks for including TWO TOUGH TRUCKS in this great list!
These sound like sweet back-to-school books!