12 Books for Back to School

In All, Books by Danielle Davis5 Comments

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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

I am Too Absolutely Small for School
by Lauren Child

Lola will give you all the reasons she should stay home indefinitely but her sister, Charlie, has a way to counter each and every one.

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!

On bullying

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

Each Kindness
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

Rude Cakes
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

Two Speckled Eggs
by Jennifer K. Mann

In which giving someone different a chance pays off.

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?

About the Author

Danielle Davis


Danielle Davis reads, writes, and roller skates in Los Angeles. She brings picture books to life on her blog, This Picture Book Life, which as it happens is a good place to find her.


  1. What a wonderful list–several books that I am going to go looking for today.Thanks so much for including Two Speckled Eggs, Danielle.
    And to all of you responsible for this amazing new website: Congratulations–it is gorgeous and full of wonder!

  2. This is a great list. Two more that we love in our household are Marshall Armstrong is New to Our School (On Overcoming First Impressions) and The Frank Show (On How Sometimes the Most Embarrassing Moment in Your Life Can Become Your Most Proud Moment Ever). Both are by the fabulous David Mackintosh and published by Harper Collins. Congratulations on the amazing site and all your great content.

  3. Pingback: 12 Picture Books for a Dozen Milestones in Kids’ Lives | All The Wonders

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