Suggestions to Set the Stage for Back to School

As the new school year approaches, it’s essential to create a positive and welcoming environment for students. Here are some Classroom Book-a-Day suggestions to ease anxieties, build relationships, foster empathy, and lay the foundation for a successful school year.

Get ready to gather your students, open a book, and embark on an enriching adventure of exploration and growth as you read together.

Let’s Go to School

From the Series Let’s Look at Fall (Pull Ahead Readers — Fiction)

  • Interest Level: Preschool – Grade 1

Join a young boy as he gets ready for his first day of school with help from his grandpa. Readers will enjoy engaging illustrations and decodable text. Pairs with the nonfiction title Ready for School.

Ready for School

From the Series Let’s Look at Fall (Pull Ahead Readers — Nonfiction)

  • Interest Level: Preschool – Grade 1

The first day of school is very exciting with so many new things to do. Engage emergent readers with full-color photographs and easy-to-read text. Pairs with the fiction title Let’s Go to School.

On the Way to School

  • Interest Level: Preschool – Grade 2

“On the way to school, I can see . . . my friends racing just like me. Way up high, we touch the sky. I ride to school. I almost fly.”

Every day, children all over the world are traveling to school—by bus, by canoe, through valleys, over mountains and snow. How do you get to school? Exploring all the diverse ways that children journey to school across the globe, this book celebrates the universal joy of childhood, friendship, and learning. A wonderful starting point for discussions about other cultures and lifestyles, this book begs to be read again and again!

A New Classmate: All Kinds of Languages

From the Series All Kinds of People (Early Bird Stories ™)

  • Interest Level: Kindergarten – Grade 2

Romelie’s family communicates in English and American Sign Language, but what languages do her friends and neighbors use? Young readers will love exploring different languages in this entertaining, illustrated story.

Ella McKeen, Kickball Queen

  • Interest Level: Kindergarten – Grade 3

A pitch-perfect look at recess, friendship, and being a good sport.

First grader Ella McKeen is the undisputed kickball queen until a new girl named Riya shows up—and shows her up at recess. How does Ella handle losing? By throwing herself on the grass and screaming while the rest of the class watches her fall apart. Yikes!

Be a Bridge

  • Interest Level: Preschool – Grade 3

In this upbeat picture book, acclaimed authors Irene Latham and Charles Waters bring key themes from their earlier collaborations (Can I Touch Your Hair? and Dictionary for a Better World) to a young audience.

Rhyming verse describes different ways in which readers can “be a bridge,” from welcoming a new student and listening respectfully when someone else is talking to standing up to a bully and comforting a classmate who is upset.

An ideal book to share with students in the fall to set the tone for the whole school year!

The Grizzled Grist Does Not Exist!

  • Interest Level: Preschool – Grade 2

An exuberant read aloud story about a school trip outdoors with rhyming word play and madcap energy. From the award-winning creators of That’s Not a Hippopotamus.

“A bouncy read-aloud that will tickle children and adults alike.”—Kirkus Reviews

Luis’s First Day: A Story about Courage

From the Series Building Character (Early Bird Stories ™)

  • Interest Level: Preschool – Grade 3

Luis is nervous about his first day of school, but his dad reminds him to have courage. Luis introduces himself to other kids at school, participates in class, and learns that courage is key!

Monkey with a Tool Belt and the Silly School Mystery

From the Series Monkey with a Tool Belt

  • Interest Level: Preschool – Grade 2

Inspiration for the Netflix series Chico Bon Bon!

Chico Bon Bon and his friend Clark are having the most unusual day at school. Half the library books are missing, the taco shells for Taco Day are nowhere to be found, and someone (or something!) has chewed up the classroom map. It’s up to Chico Bon Bon to crack the case—with his trusty tool belt, of course!

Leilong’s Too Long!

  • Interest Level: Preschool – Grade 2

Every morning, Leilong the school bus shuttles through the city, picking up children as he goes. But a brontosaurus longer than a tennis court and heavier than five buses causes big problems in the busy streets. The school decides he can’t be the bus anymore. The children must find a way to help their long friend fit in.

Calm Monsters, Kind Monsters

A Sesame Street ® Guide to Mindfulness

  • Interest Level: Preschool – Grade 2

Breathing, positive self talk, and calming down—mindfulness includes all this and more. Sesame Street characters present big emotions readers have likely faced alongside simple solutions like belly breathing to help kids cope with what they’re feeling.

School Days

  • Interest Level: Preschool – Grade 2

Get ready for the first day of school—and beyond—in this reassuring photo book.

From bus rides to reading and math to recess and field trips, simple text and bright photos offer young readers a look at what happens throughout the school year. See a diverse range of kids taking part in morning meeting, visiting the library, going to lunch, playing on the playground, and much more. Perfect for preschoolers preparing to start school as well as early elementary students getting ready to begin a new year!

Read about School (Read for a Better World ™) — Hardcover Set

From the Series Read about School (Read for a Better World ™)


  • Interest Level: Kindergarten – Grade 2

Prepare new learners for school with this kid-friendly series. From the bus to recess to the 100th day of school, kids learn what to expect. Reflection questions and family/educator engagement tips provide social and emotional connections.

Last Summer in Outer Space

From the Series Adventures of the PSS 118

  • Interest Level: Grade 4 – Grade 7

Jack’s eighth-grade year aboard the PSS 118 is coming to an end. And the students and faculty of the best public schoolship in the galaxy (if it does say so itself) are on the verge of completing their mission. If all goes well, they’ll soon foil the sinister alien plot that’s put all of humanity in danger.

But this is still middle school. So all does not go well.

When the original plan backfires, it’s up to Jack, Ari, and Becka to take on the evil Minister one more time and make the galaxy safer for everyone.

Attention Hijacked: Using Mindfulness to Reclaim Your Brain from Tech

  • Interest Level: Grade 8 – Grade 12

Attention Hijacked offers a roadmap for those deciding how they want to deal with technology, exploring the ways technology affects the individual, dispelling common misinformation, and using this knowledge to make personalized decisions. Page Plus links in the book lead to mindfulness and meditation audio clips. Using mindfulness techniques, this book gives readers the power to take charge of their technology use.

“Cover[s] various aspects of mindfulness, with Marcus advising students what to do about all the busyness we face in this tech-fueled world. . . . lively and deeply relevant work that is a must for school and public libraries.”—starred, Booklist

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