Picture Book Round-Up: Back to School Picture Books!

Back-to-School time means new pencils, new lunchboxes, new classrooms (or a new look for the dining room table!), and…

new emotions.

Scared and excited students, anxious and eager teachers, sad and glad parents, new kids, returning kids….

Check out one of these back to school picture books from your local library (or buy it for your classroom library). Use them as a fun, non-threatening way to explore some of these emotions and to start some great conversations about how we can honor the Lord by loving our neighbor–including the neighbor who sits next to us at school.

Back to School Picture Books for Home and School

The Secret Life of Squirrels: Back to School! by Nancy Rose. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2018. 32 pages.

Nancy Rose lures her friendly backyard squirrels into place by hiding peanuts in her homemade stage sets. Then, she starts snapping photographs via a camera on a tripod. In her latest book, Rosie and Mr. Squirrel are getting Rosie’s classroom ready for all her new students. Perfect for helping preschoolers and kindergartners know how much their teachers prepare for them–and are excited to see them!

Someone New by Anne Sibley O’Brien. Charlesbridge, 2018. 32 pages.

Being the new kid is a scary experience. It’s even more nerve-wracking if you can’t speak the language or don’t know the customs of your new school. But it’s also unsettling to be the returning student who is welcoming a new student in: how do you talk to him if he doesn’t speak your language? What if she can’t play soccer as well as the rest of your team? O’Brien gently explores these swirling emotions through three different returning students, each of whom welcomes a new student from a different culture. This would be a great resource to use in a classroom setting to help students know how to be friends with those who initially appear different. For middle grades kids, a fantastic title along similar lines is Save Me a Seat.

This is My Home, This is My School by Jonathan Bean. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015. 48 pages.

We’ve talked about this one before–it’s a terrific back to school picture book for… homeschoolers! Bean’s delightful illustrations capture the cheerful chaos in a home education environment while his text echoes the familiar terms used in a traditional school setting. If you have a new homeschooler of any age, this is a very fun book to start your year with!

Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes. Mulberry Books, 2008 (reprint). 32 pages.

A classic for the elementary school crowd and for good reason: Chrysanthemum is a delight and worth revisiting if it’s been a few years (or reading for the first time!). This one is good for elementary school aged children of any age.

School’s First Day of School by Adam Rex and illustrated by Christian Robinson. Roaring Brook Press, 2016. 40 pages.

Another title we’ve reviewed before, this is a fun back to school picture book … from the school’s perspective! A delightful twist with terrific, multicultural illustrations.

Frank and Lucky Get Schooled by Lynne Rae Perkins. Greenwillow, 2016. 32 pages.

Frank and Lucky learn a lot in this exuberant picture book, but they don’t learn it in a classroom. A fun reminder that our traditional school subjects are relevant to real life–and that you can learn plenty even if you aren’t in a traditional school classroom. Check out our starred review.

*The Watcher by Nikki Grimes and illustrated by Brian Collier. Eerdmans, 2017. 40 pages.

An excellent title for mid- to upper elementary students, The Watcher uses Psalm 121 and the Golden Shovel technique to discuss bullying, friendship, and how we treat our neighbors. An outstanding title to jumpstart discussion right at the beginning of the school year! Highly recommended.

What are YOUR favorite picture books for back-to-school?

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Betsy is the Managing Editor at Redeemed Reader. When she reads ahead for you, she uses sticky notes instead of book darts and willfully dog ears pages even in library books. Betsy is a fan of George MacDonald, robust book discussions, and the Oxford comma. She lives with her husband and their three children in the beautiful Northwest.

1 Comment

  1. Ashley on August 8, 2018 at 10:32 am

    Oh my friends, I adore “Move it Miss Macintosh”! A brilliant way of looking at school through the eyes of a terrified first time teacher. All of the staff (giggle at their creative names) help Miss Macintosh get ready for her first day. I gifted it to our kindergarten teacher last year, but I’d really like to add it to my own library.

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