Kids' Books for Back to School Season

Barnes, Derrick D.

Instilled with confidence by his parents, a young boy has a great first day of kindergarten.

Scanlon, Liz Garton

A class that is terribly disappointed in their lack of a class pet discovers that having a class plant is the best thing ever.

Brown, Keah

Sam, who has cerebral palsy, goes back-to-school shopping with her best friends.

Burgess, Rebecca

Twelve-year-old Mia is just trying to navigate a world that doesn't understand her true autistic self. While she wishes she could stand up to her bullies, she's always been able to express her feelings through singing and songwriting, even more so with her best friend, Charlie, who is nonbinary, putting together the best beats for her. Together, they've taken the internet by storm; little do Mia's classmates know that she's the viral singer Elle-Q! But while the chance to perform live for a local talent show has Charlie excited, Mia isn't so sure. She'll have to decide whether she'll let her worries about what other people think get in the way of not only her friendship with Charlie, but also showing everyone, including the bullies, who she is and what she has to say.

Calabrese, Keith

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

Christmas, Johnnie

Bree can't wait for her first day at her new middle school, Enith Brigitha, home to the Mighty Manatees--until she's stuck with the only elective that fits her schedule, the dreaded Swim 101. The thought of swimming makes Bree more than a little queasy, yet she's forced to dive headfirst into one of her greatest fears. Lucky for her, Etta, an elderly occupant of her apartment building and former swim team captain, is willing to help.

Cisneros, Ernesto

Best friends Isaac and Marco face various challenges in sixth grade, such as Isaac getting better grades, Marco winning a spot on the basketball team, and both seeing their efforts make a change in their respective family lives. They hope their friendship and support for one another will be enough to help them from falling short.

Darraj, Susan Muaddi

Fifth-grader Farah Hajjar and her best friend Allie Liu are hoping to go to the Magnet Academy for their middle school years, instead of Harbortown Elementary/Middle School; but when a new girl Dana Denver starts tormenting Farah and her younger brother, Samir, she decides she can not leave Samir to face the bully alone, especially since the adults and even Allie do not seem to be taking the matter seriously--so Farah comes up with a plan, one which involves lying to those closest to her.

Finison, Carrie

In order to be on time for her first day of school, Little Tortoise hurries and goes as fast as she can, but despite her best efforts she is passed by all her friends along the way.

Gardner, Michael

It's Move Up Day for Ava and her kindergarten class, and Ava is chosen to recite a poem! She worries about remembering the words, but her daddy reassures her he will help her practice until she's confident. But Daddy struggles with self-doubt himself when he decides to sew Ava a new dress for the occasion but isn't sure he knows the stitches and techniques to make her a one-of-a-kind creation. Word by word and stitch by stitch, father and daughter work together, helping each other stand tall, proud, and confident, wrapped in love.

Hamza, Nina

A Indian American boy endures a family move from Hawaii to frigid Minnesota and, with the help of three life-changing books he reads in school, he learns to like reading, and ultimately, himself.

Kim, Jaime

A little hippo finds that looking out for a new friend can turn shyness into bravery in Jaime Kim's sweetly illustrated story about the first day of school.

Lukoff, Kyle

When Annabelle learns that her father shares something big--and surprising--in common with her new nonbinary friend, she begins to see herself, and her family, in a whole new light.

Otis, Chad

When an unhoused boy enters school, he runs afoul of rules and finds himself alone, but finds that he has imagination, resilience, and can define "the bright side" for himself.

Penfold, Alexandra

Illustrations and simple, rhyming text introduce a school where diversity is celebrated and songs, stories, and talents are shared.

Quigley, Dawn, author.

Jo Jo Makoons Azure is a spirited seven-year-old who moves through the world a little differently than anyone else on her Ojibwe reservation. It always seems like her mom, her kokum (grandma), and her teacher have a lot to learn--about how good Jo Jo is at cleaning up, what makes a good rhyme, and what it means to be friendly. Even though Jo Jo loves her #1 best friend Mimi (who is a cat), she's worried that she needs to figure out how to make more friends. Because Fern, her best friend at school, may not want to be friends anymore...

Ríos Ramírez, Mariana

On his first day of first grade in a new country, Santiago has a dinosaur-sized problem: how will he make new amigos when he does not speak English?

Roberts, Justin

On the first day of school, a girl learns how the giant butterflies in her stomach mean she's learning and growing.

Saeed, Aisha

Rumi's family has moved to a new town and he is feeling lonely and left out at school because one of the other kids, Asher, is a bully--until Hans joins him, drawing in the dirt under the old willow tree.

Stein, Joshua David

When Ray, Preeti, Mina, and Niki bring their favorite lunches to school, their classmates scrunch their noses and act disgusted, but the four children learn to stand up for their lunches and cultural backgrounds. Based on the real-life childhood experiences of chefs Ray Garcia, Preeti Mistry, Mina Park, and Niki Russ Federman.

Tandon, Nancy

Rory Mitchell has always had an issue saying his Rs correctly (which is a real problem given his name); now in sixth grade his former best friend, Brent, suddenly sides with bullies against Rory; but then Brent is hit by a car and suffers a serious brain injury, which requires Rory to reevaluate everything.

Thompkins-Bigelow, Jamilah

Frustrated by a day full of teachers and classmates mispronouncing her beautiful name, a little girl tells her mother she never wants to come back to school. In response, the girl's mother teaches her about the musicality of African, Asian, Black-American, Latinx, and Middle Eastern names on their lyrical walk home through the city. Empowered by this newfound understanding, the young girl is ready to return the next day to share her knowledge with her class.

Torres, Jennifer

The Romero twins have always ruled David's school. But when a set of trickster triplets moves to town, David gets stuck in the middle of a full-on prank war! Can he stop the scuffle before the playground becomes off-limits for the whole year?

Wang, Andrea

While her parents attend a community ESL class, Luli connects with other immigrant children by sharing a love of tea. Includes author's note.

Yuly, Toni

Tomorrow is the first day of the new school year, and big sister Mona can't wait to go back. "What do you do at school?" asks little brother Milo. As he listens to Mona recount the many things she does during the school week - riding the bus, practicing spelling and reading, learning about science, playing with friends - Milo's activities illustrate that with a little imagination, nature itself can be a classroom. This book shows readers that learning is play and vice versa, offering a gentle introduction to school for children who are just starting and a warm celebration for those who are going back.

Summaries provided by DPL's catalog unless otherwise noted. Click on each title to view more information.

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