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Summer Unplugged: Back to School (and a Giveaway!)

School is right around the corner (or has already started for lots of people). Time to start thinking of books about starting school. Or at least books about school.

books about starting school

books about starting school

Picture Books:

  • Miss Nelson is Missing! by Harry G. Allard Jr. and James Marshall. My all-time favorite school story. Obviously.
  • David Goes to School by David Shannon. I’ve never met a kid who doesn’t like the David books. Including my own children.
  • Baloney by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith. This duo always comes up with the most hilariously weird books. This one, about an alien telling his teacher why he’s late for school, is no exception.
  • I Spy School Days: A Book of Picture Riddles by Jean Marzollo and Walter Wick. Ella is super into I Spy books these days. And this one is my favorite – all the pages are so amazing.
  • Planet Kindergarten by Sue Ganz-Schmitt and Shane Prigmore. Suit up for the newest adventure for five years old.
Chapter Books:
  • Lost and Found by Andrew Clements and Mark Elliott. I really like Andrew Clements, and this story of twin boys who pretend to be a single person so they can take turns going to school really delighted me.
  • Wonder by R. J. Palacio. Have you read this book? When August decides to go to public school in fifth grade, he knows it’s going to be tricky, thanks to his severe facial deformity. And he’s not wrong – it’s quite the year for everyone involved.
  • Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar and Julie Brinckloe. I’ll admit that these books are a bit too weird for my taste, but my sisters both loved them and they are hugely popular even today.
  • Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea. Seven students tell the story of their fifth grade year and their teacher Mr. Terupt who makes the classroom a place they all want to be. And then the accident that happens on a snowy winter day.
A Few Crafts, Activities, and Recipes:
  • Make candy apple pretzels
  • Pretend your driveway is a giant chalkboard and go to town.
  • Make Rolo pencils 
  • Teach your kids some classic school-yard games like hopscotch and four square.
P.S. Chronicle Books is giving away three back-to-school books, Planet KindergartenSeamonster’s First Day and Jumping Jack! (giveaway is closed)
And if you’d like a printable copy of this list that you can take to your library or screenshot on your phone for easy access, just pop in your email address below and it’ll come right to your inbox!

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  1. Oh goodness! I can't begin to explain how fun you've made our summer! My husband and I love to read and really want our four-year-old to share that love with us but it's a challenge. She's ready to enjoy variety (thank goodness no more Good Night Moon!!) and I was stumped!! I've systematically requested the list of books you've put out this summer and taken them home for so much fun. I can't say thank you enough! I love that we have daughters close to the same age because I felt comfortable with the selections being age appropriate. You took the thinking out of this for me and it's been such a huge blessing! Thank you just doesn't express my gratitude! 🙂

  2. I love these! My theme for the first week of preschool is new school year, so these will go perfectly!

  3. Awesome! It just occurred to me how much I need to expand my son's repertoire beyond the same three books that he insists on reading over and over. He still wants to reverts to his favorites at bedtime, so I've taken to reading to him while he eats (overkill, I'm sure, but it's seems to work in getting him to pick a new favorite when I think I can't read "Goodnight, iPad" one more time. 🙂

  4. I didn't love Wonder for many reasons, but I do love Andrew Clements and remember liking Wayside School way back in the day. I've really loved this series, thanks for keeping it up all summer!

  5. I Spy Books! Wow, it has been too long since I have perused one of those. Thanks so much for the recommendations!

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