Top Ten Picture Books for Starting School - Volume II

Friday, September 2, 2011

It's Labor Day weekend, do you know where your backpack is?

While many of the families we know (and many children of my lovely readers) are already back to school,  it's labor day weekend that traditionally marks the end of summer. For us, that means the start of school is right around the corner. B is so excited to be a kindergartner! He'll be starting a half-day kindergarten program this year, and T will be starting to get a little classroom experience under his belt with a Mommy&Me class once per week. 
Too Many Choices
There is really an abundance of great choices for books about school experiences and preparations, but I began my efforts to thin the pack last year when B started preschool with my Top Ten Starting School Picture Books post. My veteran readers will recognize many on this list from last year - I'm not so fickle that I'd start from scratch. But I have, with much difficulty, made room for a few recent discoveries by letting a few less favorites drop off the list. Doesn't mean I don't still love them - go check out last year's list to see the difference. 
Now... for the 2011 list:
After 18 years as a student, 8 years as a classroom teacher, and my first second year as the mom of a school-age child, here are my picks for The Top Ten Picture Books for Starting School:
(In No Particular Order)

10. Going to School: An Usborne First Experiences Book
Going To School (Usborne First Experiences)
Very straightforward, with the facts and details little ones need to feel prepared for a new environment, new routines, and new people.

9. Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten
Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten (Miss Bindergarten Books)

I only left this one off my list last year because I was saving it for when B was really ready for kindergarten. All of the Miss Bindergarten books are fun to read, and this one is especially valuable as it prepares kids for kindergarten and delivers a handy alphabet review!

8. The Twelve Days of Kindergarten
The Twelve Days of Kindergarten: A Counting Book
Even if your little one (like mine) isn’t ready for kindergarten just yet, this makes a nice introduction to the concept of school and some of the fun learning activities that take place there.

7. If You Take a Mouse to School
If You Take a Mouse to School
Again, not so much realism but a lot of fun, this addition to Numeroff’s series features realistic school activities paired with silly mouse antics always good for a laugh.

6. Off to Kindergarten
Off To Kindergarten
A boy after B's own heart, the kindergartner in this story plans to take ALL the things he might need while he's at school, and the packing list becomes not only cumbersome but outrageous. Children will enjoy the humor and then discover the message that the young boy really demonstrates his readiness by heading off to school WITHOUT all his gear. 

5. I Love You All Day Long
I Love You All Day Long
This is a sweet story to remind children that they are loved no matter where they are or what they (or their parents) are doing.

4. On the Way to Kindergarten
On the Way to Kindergarten

Each page spread in this book highlights a year in the life of the kindergartner, beginning with life as a newborn. Rhyming couplets help the story bounce along, while common milestones and 3rd person narration make it feel very personal. 

3. What Did You Do Today?
What Did You Do Today?: The First Day of School
This book follows the activities of both parent and child during the day, a pleasant and comforting read for children curious about what Mommy or Daddy might be doing while they’re gone.

2. A Bad Case of Stripes
Un Caso Grave de Rayas (A Bad Case or Stripes) (Spanish Edition)
Especially suited to slightly older children, (more of a back-to-school suggestion) this is a story of a little girl’s struggle with being preoccupied about what others will think of her, and it teaches a valuable lesson about being true to yourself.

1. The Kissing Hand (This really is my #1 pick!)
The Kissing Hand
A classic comforting tale of Chester the raccoon and his mother preparing for Chester’s day away at school. She assures him her love will always be there when he needs it by placing a kiss in his hand; a tradition sure to start in many families who share this book.

Ready, Set, Preschool!: Stories, Poems and Picture Games with an Educational Guide for ParentsAn honorable mention, since I don't have a preschooler this year but would have loved this book last year, is Ready, Set, Preschooll, recently reviewed by JDaniel4's mom

Any other great suggestions for starting school? I've got a couple days left to get them here if they happen to be on the shelf at our library or if they're avaialbe with Amazon Prime... Leave a suggestion comment or link up a review if you have one.


Brimful Curiosities September 2, 2011 at 9:10 AM  

Great list. I'll have to see if I can't find that preschool book.

Miss Bindergarten is one of our favorites, but my daughter likes the funny school books the best. We read First Day Jitters and also Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten? last year.

This week we had the chance to review Bailey by Harry Bliss.

Nf1andprek-whisper September 7, 2011 at 11:56 AM  

I have been MIA all summer.. but i came back today... to visit all my favorite blogs.. and yours is on the list... I loved the books you chose... I love First day jitters.. about a teacher afraid to go.. too.... forgot the author... but check it out..

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