Back-to-School Book Guide

Here's my back-to-school book picks for those first weeks of school. With the help of these 15 fun books, you'll set the stage for great discussion and the opportunity to teach your expectations and train your students. While this is far from a complete list, it's a good start to your back-to-school collection.

The Pigeon HAS to Go to School! by Mo Willems

Pigeon has to start school and is terrified until... As usual, Pigeon is dramatic and funny but expresses all the emotions (and excuses) kids really have. 

So many kiddos are nervous about school and the unknown. This timely book (and very funny) book can help pave the way to talking about all those fears. 


Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes

Chrysanthemum loves her unusual name until she starts school and the mean kids get to her. Not to worry, her teacher has an ace up her sleeve.

Perfect for talking about class culture and how to treat others. It's also great for reminding students what others think of us doesn't define us unless we allow it to, a very grownup lesson.


Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes

Wemberly is a worrier by nature. So when starting school looms in the near future, she just about comes apart. But, a clever teacher and a new friend save the day.

This is a great book to use for talking about worries and how to make new friends.


The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn

This sweet book has become a classic back-to-school story. Saying goodbye to the old, familiar ways, separating from a beloved parent and starting something new can be SO hard, but this story eases the sting. 

Another fabulous book for talking about feelings and fears.


Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes

Lilly has a mind of her own and is not afraid to use it! But sometimes, her impatience gets the better of her with not so great results. Lots of lessons to learn here and some laughs as well.

Following the rules, consequences, the importance of others' right to learn are just some of the great lessons to be shared here.


First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg

You know the feeling, the one where you're dreading doing something new. this fun book has a twist and just goes to show you everyone can have the jitters before school starts. 

Another great book for talking about all those worries, how we're not alone in our fears and how it really will work out ok.


Me First by Helen Lester

Pinkerton is round, pink and likes to be first. He learns a good lesson in this funny story that convinces him the first in NOT always best. 

Young students so often want to be FIRST in line and for everything else. This is a great book to talk about how taking turns can be so hard, how no one will be left behind and no one will miss out on what they want (the real reasons so many kids fight to be first). It's also a great introduction to class culture and caring for our fellow classmates.


Decibella and Her 6-Inch Voice by Julia Cook and Anita Falla

Isabella is a shouter. She loves to using big voice but has to learn control and the five volumes for voice when she goes to school. 

A perfect book for talking about your expectations for voice and volume in your classroom.


The Art Lesson by Tomie dePaola

Tommy is so excited for school and getting to have a real art lesson. But when he finds out ART comes with "rules" he's disappointed. The clever art teacher makes it all work out and shows Tommy how rules can actually be a good thing.

Great for talking about rules and how they actually can help us. 


My Teacher Sleeps in School by Leatie Weiss

This classic book is a fun way to get your students thinking about using evidence to figure things out. 

A great book to introduce using the evidence in a story and how we need to think carefully and use our common sense as well. 


Dear Teacher by Amy Husband

Hilarious book about Michael and the letters he writes to his teacher about why he can't go to class. 

I'm all about a book that helps students realize the importance of school and what the'll miss if they don't show up.


The Girl Who Never made Mistakes by Mark Pett

Beatrice NEVER made a mistake. Until... one day she does in a big, public way.

This book is such a great segue into talking about the importance of making mistakes and how great things can come from them.


Pigsty by Mark Teague

Do you leave stuff all over? Do you expect others to clean up after you? Do you even KNOW you're doing it? Some great lessons in the funny story.

A jewel of a book to begin talking about your expectations of keeping the classroom in good share and how everyone needs to take responsibility. 


I Didn't Do My Homework Because... by Davide Call

What's not to like about this book about  outrageous excuses. 

A great way to talk about homework and excuses. 


 Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann

Such a funny, sweet story! A great book for talking about why we have rules. 

I'm Bored by Michael Ian Black

This one is a bit different. Filled with wit and a great example of how we get rid of boredom. This book would be a perfect segue into talking about what to do when you're done. There's simply no reason to not have something worth doing in your classroom.


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