Happy book birthday to WE DON’T EAT OUR CLASSMATES and DEAR SUBSTITUTE!
As school winds down, and we ramp up our summer plans, the beginning of a new school year is the last thing we’re thinking about.
But reading at my house is an essential part of our summer fun, and the following books are ones we’ll read, re-read, and discuss before the kids head back to school.
1.WE DON’T EAT OUR CLASSMATES, by Ryan T. Higgins
“I didn’t make any friends!” Penelope cried. “None of the children wanted to play with me!”
“Penelope Rex,” her father asked, “did you eat your classmates?”
“Well…maybe sort of just a little bit.”
I laughed out loud at this hilarious and heartwarming story of first day of school jitters. When Penelope shows up to school to realize that she’s the only dinosaur, the reader realizes trouble is on its way.
Expressive illustrations paired with sparse and witty text makes for the perfect read- aloud, and a great way to talk about how kids are feeling about going back to school.
2. DEAR SUBSTITUTE, by Liz Garton Scanlon, Audrey Vernick, and Christ Raschka
You’re not quite right today. The substitute doesn’t know how to pronounce anything.
I love how this epistolary picture book shows the frustrations of a kid whose beloved teacher doesn’t show up. Liz Garton Scanlon and Audrey Vernick skillful word choices are enhanced by Chris Raschka’s whimsical illustrations. This story will evoke discussion on flexibility and transitions and giving change a chance. It’s an incredibly fun classroom story that will resonate with every kid.
3. ADVENTURES TO SCHOOL; REAL LIFE JOURNEYS OF STUDENTS FROM AROUND THE WORLD, by Baptist Paul and Miranda Paul and Isabel Munoz
The rickshaw is so full that all of us can barely fit inside. Legs and arms hang out, and we have to hold on tight. My backpack is tied to the rickshaw so it won’t fall.
Wow. My 7 year old was mesmerized by the stories, the carefully chosen facts, and the idea of kids around the world going to school, just like he does, but getting there very differently. The book evoked discussion and gave us a space to really discuss what life is like in other countries.
The illustrations enhance the text by engaging the reader with expressive representations of many cultures.
What are your favorite back to school books?
Dear Substitute has a wacky, poetic quality and a delicate story arc that I find very moving. All enhanced by the fanciful illustrations. A great marriage.
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE We Don’t Eat our Classmates. I have been carrying my ARC of it around for the last two months, making everyone I meet sit down and read it.
These all sound excellent! Adding them to my TBR list! Thanks, Kirsti!
Have you read Daddy’s Back-to-School Shopping Adventure? It’s pretty funny 🙂
Like Norah above I thought of Franklin, the Berenstein Bears and even Amelia Bedelia. In a way, I wonder if there were not much more PB about back-to-school in the 1990s than now. Just a question.
Great list of books! It will be back to school before we know it!
I love Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten? by Audrey Vernick. Thanks for these new titles. They look awesome!
Great choice of books!
A fun bunch of books. I just read “We Don’t Eat Our Classmates” the other day—very cute!
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These do sound like fun! The only one I can think of at the moment is Franklin’s First Day, but I know there are others I’ve read over the years. It’s good to be able to laugh at those first day jitters.
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