Sunday, August 11, 2013

Back to School Picture Books that Rock!

Break out your wallets (or library cards) this week, and grab some of these books to start your school year out on the right foot. These books will serve as mentor texts for all of your back-to-school needs, and possible woes. Some of the books have writing or project ideas with them. Hope you like it!

David Goes to School by David Shannon
In this book by David Shannon, David (named after the author who was always being told "No") goes to school, and what do you know? He breaks all the rules! No, David! He chews gum, he cuts in line, he writes on his desk, he doesn't pay attention in class. David, is not the model student. At the end, he has to clean up a mess he made, and he realizes how good it feels to receive praise from the teacher. Yes, David.
David Goes to School Activity
First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg
In First Day Jitters, the narrator is encouraging someone to get out of bed. Isn't everyone nervous about starting a new school year? The person in bed does not want to come out, and shares all of their reasons for wanting to stay put in bed. Would you be surprised to find out the person in bed was the teacher? Students are always surprised to hear the ending. 
Make some Jitter Juice! Every student can take a sip of the Jitter Juice to relieve some of their anxiety. It''s really just fruit punch, but students will feel better knowing that they may have a special juice helping them feel better about starting a new school year. Even the teacher will take a sip! After each student takes a sip, make a tally chart. The link below will show you a pin from Pinterest that shows what my tally chart looked like. 
Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes by Eric Litwin 
One of my favorite things about going back to school is seeing all of the children with their new shoes on. Their white laces, the smell of the new rubber on the soles of their shoes. I love starting a new school year just so I can see all of the new shoes! Pete the Cat rocks in his school shoes all over the school. He takes those cool shoes everywhere because it's all good! He never stops signing his song. Take your students on a school tour after you read this little ditty.
I love this subtraction activity using Pete's buttons on his coat (from the original Pete the Cat book)
I also think this writing idea is great. Use the verbs has, does, and says to help students brainstorm writing ideas. Students tell you what Pete the Cat has, does, says, etc. while you record it on a poster with a Pete the Cat shown on it.
One by Kathryn Otoshi
To say that I adore this book is simply an understatement. This book is perfect for reading to your class over and over again. The idea of the book is that it only takes ONE person to stand up for what is right. This author brilliantly uses colors to represent people, and their feelings. Can you guess what color the bully is? It's red. The more Red pushes the other colors around, the bigger Red gets. This essentially means that the more a bully is allowed to be in charge, and push people around, the more powerful they become. One comes along and puts a stop to it, because it only takes ONE. If there is one book I'd say you should invest in, this is the one (no pun intended)!
Wonder by RJ Palacio
This book is a chapter book for older readers, but I can tell you honestly that when I read it, I cried. It was beautiful. The main character, August (Auggie) Pullman, has a facial deformity that has kept him out of school (he was home-schooled) until now. His mom finally gives him the green light to go to a private school, and he is both nervous and excited. Auggie soon learns that kids can be cruel. He knows all about people gawking at him, but he just wants to be a kid. This book is a perfect read aloud for your class (grades 3-6), and a great way to engage your students in conversations about bullying, and judging someone based on their looks. A powerful look at the way we, as humans, interact and falsely judge others by their outward appearance when it is truly the heart that matters. 

I chose my top 5 books to share with you. What are some of your top 5? I'd love to know!

Happy new beginnings.  



  1. I have Wonder on my shelf. I bought it when I was selling so many copies while working at B&N.

  2. Have you read it, Anita? It's a great book!