It’s Back to School time!!! Every parent is screaming YAY!!! It’s that time of the year where we find ourselves spending money on school supplies, school clothes, and books, instead of excessive trips to the grocery store (those kids can eat), the movie theater, amusement park, beaches, fairs/festivals, zoos/aquariums/museums/science centers/parks, and summer camps (they need constant entertainment! otherwise you hear the resounding "I'm bored"). Speaking of books, I really hope you didn’t forget trips to the library this summer. My 9 year old, Olivia Lauren read a picture book every day or a chapter book every 2-3 days and helped me review them for her summer reading project.
Last fall we read 4 really great books about Back to School and thought we would share them again! Below, I have reviewed our favorite three.
Mission: Back to School
This is a hilarious, fun, and quick read for any kid who enjoys the idea of completing a mission. The author introduces a robot as the narrator to encourage the characters and her readers of what is to be expected or needed through the school day. Using step by step lists, the robot guides the characters through 19 steps from selecting what to wear to school to returning home. I loved the colorful and diverse illustrations, the introduction of new vocabulary words such as rendezvous, decoding, fugitive, and rogue. The author is articulate in her ability to make school sound like a Mission (Im)Possible episode. She does it in no time at all using quick and efficient dialogue between the characters. Olivia read this 30 paged book in 3 minutes. After reading this book, even the most anxious child should get excited about his or her first day of school. It was a joy to read. She writes really well and the illustrator demonstrated diversity above and beyond gender and racial/ethnic diversity. The author also included language, thereby teaching children to say hello in 6 different languages. This book makes learning sound like a whole lot of fun and adventure. Kudos to the author for a job well done.
School’s First Day of School
When I started to read this book, I didn’t know what to expect at first. But my doubt quickly became a warm and welcoming pleasant surprise. This lovely book takes a very unusual perspective of narration. Rather than a 1st person or 3rd person narration, the school is the book’s main character. Using dialogue between the school and janitor, the author cleverly disguises the lesson of emotions surrounding the issue of the first day of school for different types of children---from the most eager, the bully, and the shy. Even the illustrations are quite simple in nature at first, not having very much detail. Some of the faces lacked facial features. But as the story progresses, the characters become more detailed and the illustrator is very intentional in addressing diversity. There are construction workers at the school that are male and female; black, White and Latino. The school is named after Frederick Douglas, an African-American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman. There is much diversity in gender, race, ability, body size, and as mentioned before, emotional expressiveness of the children. My daughter and I read this book in under ten minutes. The author does a great job in showing that school’s aren’t as scary as one would think, but there is a lot to anticipate. Finally, everyone is unique and different, and that’s ok. Everyone is valuable, full of potential, and welcomed by the school.
Amelia Bedelia’s First Day of School
Apparently Olivia and I saved the best for last. This book had us cracking up laughing from beginning to end. The main character Amelia is very comical and quite literal. The author introduces homonyms and puns in such a clever way. Examples include name tag vs. playing tag; here vs. hear; Clay vs clay; assemble vs. assembly, and understanding the terms “Nose in a book” and “Glued to one’s seat.” The illustrator did a great job introducing characters that were diverse in gender, race and ethnicity. Well, the children were diverse. I did notice however that the three teachers and staff represented were all White women, which happens to be very characteristic of elementary schools in the U.S. (80% in fact). Despite that the story was great and took under ten minutes to read. It also shows the reader that students are not the only ones with concerns about their first day of school, but so do the teachers. Emotions range from nervousness, fear, excitement, doubt, and relief. This book uses a lot of humor and is equally suitable for that kid who is excited and ready to run out the door to go to school and the one who isn’t quite sure what to expect.
Olivia really enjoyed these three Back to School themed books. She is quite a critic and tough book reviewer. She was bummed that when we finished reading it was her bed time. But there was no regret concerning reading these really great stories. I shall be hitting the sack as well. Hope your little ones are looking forward to a safe and productive school year. Have a great time at open house meeting all the new teachers. Please be especially courteous to them. They do so much for so little. With that, I bid you
Good night and Sweet dreams
Buenas noches. Que duermas bien
Bonne nuit et Fait de beaux rêves
Wǎn'ān, zuò gè hǎo mèng
Laila sa'eda wa ahlaam ladida
Other recommendations below: