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It’s that time of year again!
There’s so much to process about a school year, from start to finish. There are so many moments. Here are a dozen wonderful picture books that speak to some of them—from making friends to manners, from being on the outside to being the perfect person for a task.
On adventures of the imagination
A Few Blocks
by Cybèle Young
On letting your imagination make a walk to school (and life) an adventure of the imagination, complete with pretend cape and rocket-blaster boots.
on feeling nervous
On being true to yourself
The Name Jar
by Yangsook Choi
On being true to yourself even (especially) when you’re not like anyone else in your class.
on being brave at school
Edda: A Little Valkyrie’s First Day of School
by Adam Auerbach
Edda may be a Valkyrie from Asgard, but her biggest challenge is acclimating to school with ordinary kids—luckily, she triumphs!
by Jan De Kinder
This one’s about bullying—watching it, letting it happen, and then taking a stand. One boy blushes, another boy makes fun of him, and the narrator learns how to listen to her conscience.
on being homesick
Here I Am
by Patti Kim and Sonia Sanchez
This wordless book conveys the pain of being in an unfamiliar place but also how that place, inevitably, becomes familiar, especially with a new friend.
on being kind
by Jacqueline Woodson and E.B. Lewis
On being kind to others and yourself because actions create lasting ripples that go out into the world.
on playing nice with others
by Rowboat Watkins
On manners and playing nice with others, told with cakes, Cyclops, and hilarity.
On being out of your element
Ice in the Jungle
by Ariane Hofmann-Maniyar
This book is just as useful for the “new kid” who feels out of her element as it is for encouraging old-timers to welcome her to class.
on being shy, but valuable
The Invisible Boy
by Trudy Ludwig and Patrice Barton
On being shy but valuable and eventually seen that way.
On giving someone a chance
on standing up against injustice
The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade
by Justin Roberts and Christian Robinson
A book for keen observers of daily injustices at school who try to change them regardless of their stature.
Here’s to fresh pencils and blank notebooks! What’s your favorite back-to-school book?