Books for Back to School: Start the week of right! – Part 1

One of the things I have missed the most about being on leave from teaching is that first week of school. It is so incredibly exciting. I love seeing all of the kids on the first day of school, with their new backpacks smiling faces ready for whatever the year is going to bring them.   So I wanted to share some picture books that I think would be perfect to share with students those first few days of school.

How Full is Your Bucket

How Full is Your Bucket: For Kids by Tom Rath, Mary Reckmeyer and illustrated by Maurie J. Manning (2009, Gallup Press). This book holds a special place in my heart because one of my best teacher friends and I would make our way around to each classroom reading this story and then doing some amazingly fun brainstorming with kids about how they could work all year to fill each other’s buckets. This is such a fun story to read, not to mention you can make a great chart for your wall to remind kids about being kind to one another.

Grade Levels – Kindergarten to Fifth Grade

Big Plans

Big Plans by Bob Shea and illustrations by Lane Smith, (2008, Disney Hyperion).  This is a fantastic story of a young boy, who although stuck in timeout, has BIG PLANS!  He has a fantastic imagination.  This story is filled with imagination.  This would be a perfect read aloud with older grades to start thinking about goals setting.

Grade Level – Kindergarten – Fifth Grade 


What if Everybody Did That? by Ellen Javernick with ilustrations by Coleen M. Madden (2010, Two Lions). This book is all about consequences and making good choices. This book is a cautionary tale about breaking the rules, even if it seems like a silly rule. Each time the boy breaks one of the rules, an adult responds with “What if everybody did that”? This causes the boy to realize that there are consequences for his actions and that he needs to turn it around.

Grade Levels – Kindergarten to Second Grade

Back to School Rules

Back-To-School Rules by Laurie B. Friedman art by Teresa Murfin (2011, Carolrhoda Books).  A book about a little boy named, Percy.  Percy struggles to follow the rules, he knows what they are but doesn’t always make the best choices.  This would be a great read aloud for developing classroom rules.

Grade Levels – Kindergarten – Fourth Grade

Oh, the Places You'll Go!

Oh, the Places You’ll Go!, by Dr. Seuss (1990, Random House).  This book is a classic that is loved by all ages of children.  I think it would be perfect to use to set goals with older students and discuss where they are at the beginning of the year and then revisit the same goals at the end of the year.  Not to mention there are some really amazing bulletin board ideas.

Grade Levels – All Ages

First Day Jitters

First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg and art by Julie Love (2000, Charlesbridge).   Another lovely book all about first day jitters of starting at a new school.  I love that this book is relatable and will help kids learn empathy and compassion for their classmates who may be having their first day in a new school.  I love this because you can explore the plot lines with older students and spend more time discussing feelings with younger students.

Grade Levels – Kindergarten to Fourth Grade

Going Places

Going Places by Peter and Paul Reynolds, (2014, Atheneum Books for Young Readers).  This is a book that we have read many times before, it is a great story about working together.  I think that this is especially important for young students to be reminded about what working together can look like.  A great story about teamwork.

Grade Levels – Kindergarten – Third Grade

Chu's First Day of School

Chu’s First Day of School by Neil Gaiman and Alex Rex ( 2014, Harper Collins) is the perfect book to discuss all the emotions and concerns that go along with the first days of school.  We love Chu at this house and think your students and kids will too.  Also, there are some really fun activities to do after you finish reading to keep the conversations flowing.

Before Reading | Talking Points During Reading | After Reading Activitites

Grade Levels – Kindergarten to Second Grade

I am currently putting together part 2, so  if you have a favorite story you love to read tell me about it and I will include it on the next list!