Children spend an awful lot of time at school. For this reason alone it is important that we have conversations with them about what they are learning there, how socializing is going, what they need help with, what they have questions about, and so much more. That is because it is not only where they learn academic subjects, but where they create friendships, face bullies, learn more responsibility, and face many other important life lessons. Books can help us open those discussions with kids as well as simply celebrating the time that they spend in school. (Sometimes all you need is a little laugh and a reminder that school can be wonderful.) Below you will find books of both categories for your little students that I hope you enjoy as much as we do.
“The Teacher’s Pet” by Anica Mrose Rissi and Zachariah Ohora- Mr. Stricter and his students all have tadpoles for science and decided to keep one as their class pet. However, what it grows into isn’t a small, harmless frog, but a large Hipoppotamus! Now the students must find a way to break the news to their teacher who is head-over-heels in love with their class pet that it simply must go! Hippopotamuses are simply too large and messy for school!
“Hooray for Diffendoofer Day” by Dr Suess, Jack Prelutsky and Lane Smith- Diffendoofer School is one that instead of teaching students to learn how to test well, it teaches children how to think instead. I love the celebration of innovation in this classic Suess book and I love how relatable and wonderful its reminder is about the purpose of school and the power of one’s mind.
“Miss Nelson is Missing” by James Marshall and Harry G. Allard Jr.- This is a classic! I loved this book as a child and couldn’t do a school list without it. It is about a class that takes their kind teacher for granted until one day she is replaced by a grouchy substitute. Will kind Miss Nelson return or are they stuck with a grump forever?
“If You Take a Mouse To School” by Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond- Let’s face it, I love every single book in this series by Laura. It is just like the others, but with a darling school twist and it almost makes me wish that I had had a mouse to share my backpack with as I was a child.
“That’s Not a Hippopotamus!” by Juliette Maclver and Sarah Davis- This one makes a fabulous read aloud. It is about a class that goes on a field trip to the zoo and winds-up trying to help the zookeeper find the hippopotamus who has gone missing. Children will love being able to spot the hiding hippo on each page that everyone else just seems to miss.
“Cool Dog, School Dog” by Deborah Heiligman and Tim Bowers- This is the story of a dog who misses his child everyday when they go to school, so he decides one day to go to school to. With catchy rhymes and simple, sparse text, this is one my toddlers ask for again and again.
“My Teacher is a Monster (No, I am Not.)” by Peter Brown- As a former teacher I especially get a kick out of this one. It is about a young boy who thinks his teacher is a “monster” until one day he runs into her at the park. After they pass through the awkward phase of running into each other they have a pleasant time together and he realizes that his teacher is actually a wonderful person. So funny and yet so endearing.
“The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade” by Justin Roberts and Christian Robinson- In this story the smallest girl in the smallest grade is often quiet and perhaps a bit overlooked, however, she misses nothing. She sees things going on in her school that aren’t quite right and eventually she decides to take a stand. It is the perfect reminder to children that they have the power to make a difference and be an example.
“If You Ever Want to Bring an Alligator to School, Don’t!” by Elise Parsley- This is a cautionary tale for any child who has ever wanted to bring an alligator to school. It goes on and on about all the trouble you will have if you do so and creates such a humorous situation that it is definitely fun for young students to read for a good laugh.
If you are looking for picture book recommendations related specifically to the first day of school or back-to-school season, check out my list for those HERE.
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