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Are You Ready? School’s Open!

Our Class Is a Family

It's that time of year again! When the days start getting shorter and as temperatures cool down, that could only mean that it's time for school to start again. There's a lot to be excited about — new friends, old friends, learning interesting things. But school can be kind of scary, too. Find out if a girl's buffalo is ready for school or how saber-toting pirates enjoy school. Practice a fire drill, ride a school bus, and more — all in the books suggested here, just in time for the new school year!

Carmen Learns English

By: Judy Cox
Illustrated by: Angela Domínguez
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Starting school can be especially frightening if you don't yet speak English. But Carmen is determined to learn English well in order to teach her little sister. With a supportive teacher and growing confidence, Carmen gradually learns the new language. Expressive illustrations complement this recognizable story.

Fire Drill

Fire Drill

By: Paul DuBois Jacobs, Jennifer Swender
Illustrated by: Huy Voun Lee
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

The young children in class are introduced to safety rules when they have a fire drill. Their varied reactions when their routine is interrupted and a "loud bell rings" are seen in crisp, colorful collages though the steady, rhythmic text suggests that everything is under control.

First Grade Jitters

First Grade Jitters

By: Robert Quackenbush
Illustrated by: Yan Nascimbene
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

The narrator is cranky with the first grade jitters, according to his parents. Aidan stays that way until his friends return from vacation. As they share friendship and information, Aidan's concerns melt away and he looks forward to first grade. Now in an illustrated edition, children will empathize with Aidan and his friends.

Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten?

Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten?

By: Audrey Vernick
Illustrated by: Daniel Jennewein
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

A girl with ponytails takes her buffalo to school, and as one might guess, the buffalo doesn't respond quite the same as everyone else. But the buffalo learns about individuality and respect just like the children starting kindergarten will. Cartoon illustrations enhance the silliness of the sincere message.

Kindergarten Day: USA and China

Kindergarten Day: USA and China

By: Trish Marx, Ellen Senisi
Genre: Nonfiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Children going to kindergarten in the U.S. are welcomed by the teacher, practice reading, eat, and more — just like their counterparts in Beijing. A day of school life in Schenectady, New York, and Beijing, China, shown in expressive photographs, highlight commonalities. Chinese is included, though it is also transliterated.

Kindergarten Diary

Kindergarten Diary

By: Antoinette Portis
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

The day before the first day of school Annalina declares in her diary: "I don't want to go to kindergarten!" Her worries are familiar, expressed in boldly colored and outlined illustrations. As the month goes along, however, Annalina's concerns are dispelled and she grows to love school, her friends and teacher, and kindergarten.

Ming Goes to School

Ming Goes to School

By: Deirdre Sullivan
Illustrated by: Maja Löfdahl
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

A gentle story about the everyday discoveries and accomplishments that school can bring. Ming is curious and playful and ready for adventure, but even she gets scared of new things sometimes. Kids will relate to her desires and fears and will be excited to see Ming at the top of the slide by the story’s end.

Miss Brooks Loves Books! (And I Don't!)

Miss Brooks Loves Books! (And I Don't!)

By: Barbara Bottner
Illustrated by: Michael Emberley
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Miss Brooks, the librarian at the narrator's school, brings books alive by dressing up for reading circle. But the narrator still doesn't find books intriguing like Miss Brooks — that is until she finds one filled with all of the gross things she enjoys; she's discovered Shrek! Cartoon-like illustrations present the eccentric but lovable characters in this playful tale.

Our Class Is a Family

Our Class Is a Family

By: Shannon Olsen
Illustrated by: Sandie Sonke
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Teachers build a sense of community within their classrooms, creating a home away from home where they make their students feel safe, included, and loved. This is a book that will help build and strengthen that class community. Kids learn that their classroom is a place where it’s safe to be themselves, it’s okay to make mistakes, and it’s important to be a friend to others. 

Pirate's Guide to First Grade

Pirate's Guide to First Grade

By: James Preller
Illustrated by: Greg Ruth
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

An imaginative boy goes to the first day of school with his "salty crew of swabbies" by his side "sailing for adventure…" The make-believe pirates are with him throughout the day. The entire tale told in pirate lingo is ideal for reading aloud. The pirates are always with the boy but depicted in monochromatic sketches on each full-color page.

School’s First Day of School

School’s First Day of School

By: Adam Rex
Illustrated by: Christian Robinson
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

It's the first day of school at Frederick Douglass Elementary and everyone's just a little bit nervous, especially the school itself. What will the children do once they come? Will they like the school? Will they be nice to him? The school has a rough start, but as the day goes on, he soon recovers when he sees that he's not the only one going through first-day jitters.

The King of Kindergarten

The King of Kindergarten

By: Derrick Barnes
Illustrated by: Vanessa Brantley-Newton
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

A confident little boy takes pride in his first day of kindergarten. Starting kindergarten is a big milestone! He's dressed himself, eaten a pile of pancakes, and can't wait to be part of a whole new kingdom of kids. And afterward, he can't wait to tell his proud parents all about his achievements, and then wake up to start another day.

There's No Place Like School: Classroom Poems

There's No Place Like School: Classroom Poems

By: Jack Prelutsky
Illustrated by: Jane Manning
Genre: Poetry
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

From racing out of the house to riding the bus with "thirty pairs of sleepy eyes" to the much noisier ride home, these short, humorous poems bring the school day to life. Loose watercolors add verve to the light and varied verse.

This School Year Will Be the Best!

This School Year Will Be the Best!

By: Kay Winters
Illustrated by: Renee Andriani
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Gathered by their teacher on the first day of school, each child shares what he or she wants to have happen this year. The range of answers shows the many interests and personalities in a classroom until the teacher shares her wish: to get to know each child. Lively ink and wash illustrations are sure to start anyone’s school year off right.

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