Picture Book Highlights | Back to School

By Monica C. RSS Mon, August 30, 2021

A new school year is upon us and so many new experiences on the horizon! Starting something new can include a mix of excitement and butterflies-in-your-tummy. What better way to get ready than by reading a book that reflects those feelings right back at you?.

Here’s a selection of some brand new and all-time favorite books on going back to school!

Isabel and Her Colores Go to School written by Alexandra Alessandri; illustrated by Courtney Dawson

ebook available from Overdrive

English, with its blustery blues and whites, just feels wrong to Isabel. She prefers the warm oranges and pinks of Spanish. As she prepares for class at a new school, she knows she's going to have to learn—and she would rather not! Her first day is uncomfortable until she discovers there's more than one way to communicate with friends. This is a universal story about feeling new and making new friends.

Becoming Vanessa by Vanessa Brantley-Newton

ebook available from Overdrive

On Vanessa’s first day of school, her parents tell her it will be easy to make friends. Vanessa isn’t so sure. She wears her fanciest outfit so her new classmates will notice her right away. They notice, but the attention isn’t what she’d hoped for. As the day goes on, she feels more self-conscious. Her clothes are too bright, her feather boa has way too many feathers, and even her name is too hard to write. The next day, she picks out a plain outfit and tells her mom that her name is too long. She just wants to blend in, with a simple name like the other girls—why couldn’t her parents have named her Megan or Bella? But when her mother tells her the meaning behind her name, it gives her the confidence she needs to introduce her classmates to the real Vanessa.

Danbi Leads the School Parade by Anna Kim

ebook available from Overdrive

Danbi is thrilled to start her new school in America. But a bit nervous too, for when she walks into the classroom, everything goes quiet. Everyone stares. Danbi wants to join in the dances and the games, but she doesn’t know the rules and just can’t get anything right. Luckily, she isn’t one to give up. With a spark of imagination, she makes up a new game and leads her classmates on a parade to remember!

The Shape of Home by Rashin Kheiriyeh
It's Rashin's first day of school in America! Everything is a different shape than what she's used to: from the foods on her breakfast plate to the letters in the books! And the kids' families are from all over! The new teacher asks each child to imagine the shape of their home on a map. Rashin knows right away what she'll say: Iran looks like a cat! What will the other kids say? What about the country YOUR family is originally from? Is it shaped like an apple? A boot? A torch? Open this book to join Rashin in discovering the true things that shape a place called home.

Bird Boy written by Matthew Burgess; illustrated by Shabrzad Maydani

ebook available from Overdrive

Nico was new and nervous about going to school. Everyone knew what to do and where to go, but Nico felt a little lost. So, he did what he loved to do: watched the insects, sat in the grass, and most importantly—befriended the birds. Before he knew it, Nico was known as BIRD BOY. But Nico didn’t mind. Soon, he made one friend, then two, as the other kids learned to appreciate Nico for who he was. Before long, Nico learned he could be completely and delightfully himself!

El Cucuy Is Scared, Too! written by Donna Higuera Barba; illustrated by Juliana Perdomo

ebook available from Overdrive

Ramón is a little boy who can’t sleep. He is nervous about his first day at a new school.
And El Cucuy is the monster who lives in Ramón’s cactus pot. He can’t sleep, either.
It turns out that El Cucuy is scared, too! This gentle, perceptive story explores the worries that can accompany moving to a new place and beginning a new journey—and reveals how comfort, bravery, and strength can be found through even the most unexpected of friendships.

Little Ghoul Goes to School by Jef Czekaj

ebook available from Overdrive

Little Ghoul is nervous about her first day of school. Her mom assures her that it will be great: The teachers will be scary. The lunch will be revolting! And the other classmates will be spine-tingling and creepy. But what if Little Ghoul’s greatest fears come true—and everyone is nice?

Time for School, Little Blue Truck written by Alice Schertle; illustrated by John Joseph

ebook available from Overdrive

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are excited to meet a bright yellow school bus on the road. They see all the little animals lined up in the school bus’s many windows, and Blue wishes he could be a school bus too. What a fun job—but much too big for a little pickup like Blue. Or is it? When somebody misses the bus, it’s up to Blue to get his friend to school on time. Beep! Beep! Vroom!

Kalamata’s Kitchen written by Sarah Thomas; illustrated by Jo Kosmides Edwards

ebook available from Overdrive

Tomorrow is Kalamata’s first day at a new school and she’s nervous! What if the kids aren’t friendly? Or worse, what if they don’t like alligators!? If only Kalamata and Al Dente could go back to the Indian spice market they visited this summer, then maybe she’d remember how to feel brave when new experiences seem scary. Luckily for Kalamata, all the magic required for her journey is right in her own kitchen! As Kalamata and her alligator friend, Al Dente, transport themselves to a magical land filled with tasty ingredients, she realizes being brave is exciting! And most importantly, she learns that when we’re nervous about trying new things, food can comfort us and remind us to stay curious, courageous, and compassionate.

Step by Step written by Alice B. McGinty; illustrated by Diane Goode
On the morning a little boy is going to start school, his father reassures him: when things seem overwhelming, take it step by step! Whether it is making new friends, learning to write and count, or cleaning up a big mess at the end of the day, he can get through it all and have fun along the way.

Never, Not Ever! by Beatrice Alemagna
Anxious about starting school, Pascaline shrinks her parents (accidentally!) and then decides to bring them along to her first day—where instead of being a comfort, they drive her crazy! Charming and laugh-out-loud funny, this irresistible first day of school saga is sure to be a repeat read!

The King of Kindergarten written by Derrick D. Barnes; illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton

ebook and audiobook available from Overdrive

Starting kindergarten is a big milestone—and the hero of this story is ready to make his mark! He's dressed himself, eaten a pile of pancakes, and can't wait to be part of a whole new kingdom of kids. The day will be jam-packed, but he's up to the challenge, taking new experiences in stride with his infectious enthusiasm! And afterward, he can't wait to tell his proud parents all about his achievements and then wake up to start another day.

School’s First Day of School written by Adam Rex; illustrated by Christian Robinson

ebook available from Overdrive

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 arrive? 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.

Lena’s Shoes Are Nervous: A First-Day-of-School Dilemma written by Keith Calabrese; illustrated by Juana Medina

ebook available from Overdrive

Lena is excited about starting kindergarten but her favorite shoes are not! With the help of her father and a very special headband, she convinces the shoes—and herself—to be brave.

Mom, It’s My First Day of Kindergarten! by Hyewon Yum

ebook available from Overdrive

On the first day of school, one boy is very, very excited, and one mom is very, very worried. It's a child's first day of kindergarten, but who is worried about all the new people and the different things he'll meet—the child? No! The mother. In a refreshing reversal of roles, the child takes it upon himself to comfort and reassure his mother that everything will be fine, she'll get used to him going to big-kid school, and yes, he is ready for the first day of kindergarten.

The Proudest Blue: A Story of Hijab and Family written by Ibtihaj Muhammad with S.K. Ali; illustrated by Hatem Aly

ebook and audiobook available from Overdrive

With her new backpack and light-up shoes, Faizah knows the first day of school is going to be special. It's the start of a brand new year and, best of all, it's her older sister Asiya's first day of hijab—a hijab of beautiful blue fabric, like the ocean waving to the sky. But not everyone sees hijab as beautiful, and in the face of hurtful, confusing words, Faizah will find new ways to be strong.

I Got the School Spirit written by Connie Schofield-Morrison; illustrated by Frank Morrison

ebook available from Overdrive

Summer is over, and this little girl has got the school spirit! She packs up her book bag—ZIP ZIP!—and hears the school bus coming down the street—VROOM VROOM! She shares her school spirit with a new friend and sings it in the classroom—123! ABC! And at the end of the day, she can’t wait for her next day of school.

All Are Welcome written by Alexandra Penfold; illustrated by Suzanne Kaufmann

ebook available from Overdrive

Discover a school where all young children have a place, have a space, and are loved and appreciated. Readers will follow a group of children through a day in their school, where everyone is welcomed with open arms. A school where students from all backgrounds learn from and celebrate each other’s traditions. A school that shows the world as we will make it to be.

Be sure to check our catalog and Overdrive Kids eReading Room for these titles and many more being added!

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