Newly sharpened pencils, fresh notebooks and notepads, bright red apples—are you thinking what we’re thinking? We’re almost back to school! Whether you’re looking for books to get your kids back into the school mood, or need some great stories to welcome students back into the classroom, check out our back to school must-reads.

Stanleys School
Stanley’s School

by William Bee

Ding, ding, ding! It’s time for school with Stanley and Hattie. Join Stanley and his loyal company of rodent friends as they explore everyday preschool activities, tools, and community. With bright illustrations, adorable characters, and a padded-cover format, William Bee’s Stanley series is perfect for readers transitioning from board books to picture books.

Little Rabbit Goes to School PB
Little Rabbit Goes to School

by Harry Horse

The indomitable Little Rabbit is starting school and discovering the challenges of independence in this heartwarming story. All young readers will identify with the young character’s conflicting desires for independence and reassurance.


A Noisy Journey from A to Z

by Julie Larios
illustrated by Julie Paschkis

Mouse is selecting a flower for someone very dear to him when—Achoo!—his noisy alphabet journey begins! Readers will love meeting the colorful parade of characters along Mouse’s trek and will cheer when he reaches his destination and presents the flower to… Well, that’s a surprise! This entertaining take on the classic ABC book will delight little ones and inspire them to create imaginary alphabet adventures of their own.

First Grade Stinks
First Grade Stinks!

by Mary Ann Rodman
illustrated by Beth Spiegel

It is the first day of school and Hayley is excited. Things are different now. She isn’t a kindergartener anymore; she is a big kid. She is a first grader. Hayley quickly finds out that first grade is different from kindergarten, but in all the wrong ways! No share time! Only one recess! Writing is hard! The stories don’t end right! Young readers will immediately empathize with Hayley as she tries to negotiate new expectations and challenges on the first day of a new school year.

I Want to Help
I Want to Help!

by Diane Adams
illustrated by Nancy Hayashi

The irrepressible heroine Emily Pearl is back and she’s ready for school! She wants to be the perfect helper for her new teacher, Ms. Glenn in this fun and relatable picture book. (If you love Emily, be sure to check out her adventures in I Can Do It Myself! as well!)

Ebenezer Has a Word for Everything
Ebenezer Has a Word for Everything

by Chelsea H. Rowe
illustrated by Frank Dormer

Ebenezer loves words and collects collects them in his Word Book. No one seems to understand Ebenezer’s word collections, but his efforts are finally appreciated when he meets Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald doesn’t have a word collection—but he does have lots of ideas. Together, they can make stories. (Pair this book with Lost for Words for themes on vocabulary, collaboration, and creativity!)

The Boy Who Was Raised by Librarians

by Carla Morris
illustrated by Brad Sneed

Every day after school Melvin goes to the library. His favorite people—Marge, Betty, and Leola—are always there behind the reference desk. As the years pass, Melvin can always find the answers to his questions—and a lot of fun—in the library. Then one day he goes off to college to learn new things and read new books. Will he leave the library and his friends behind forever? Enjoy this wonderful and humorous picture book about the joy of learning and all the help to be found at the library.

Library Dragon
The Library Dragon

by Carmen Agra Deedy
illustrated by Michael P. White

Sunrise Elementary School has a BIG problem. Their new librarian, Miss Lotta Scales, is a real dragon. Can an open book temper the flames of the school’s hotheaded librarian? (Also check out Return of the Library Dragon for more dragon and library fun!)

Madeline Finn and the Library Dog
Madeline Finn and the Library Dog

by Lisa Papp

Madeline Finn does NOT like to read. But she DOES want a gold star from her teacher. But, stars are for good readers. Stars are for understanding words, and for saying them out loud. Fortunately, Madeline Finn meets Bonnie, a library dog. As it turns out, it’s fun to read when you’re not afraid of making mistakes. Bonnie teaches Madeline Finn that it’s okay to go slow. And to keep trying.

Jake’s 100th Day of School

by Lester L. Laminack
illustrated by Judy Love

What will Jake do when he forgets to bring the special collection he’s going to share at the celebration of the 100th day of school? Lester Laminack’s well-crafted story shows schools in their best light and Judy Love’s charming illustrations brightly capture the excitement of a busy school day.

Late for School
Late for School

by Mike Reiss
illustrated by Michael Austin

Smitty is never late for school. Not when his shoes get stuck in a sea of thick, black tar. Not when the sky rains snowmen down on the city streets. Not when he uses his coat for a sail to catch a gale and is swallowed up by a whale. Or when he encounters a robot from Mars eating up cars…or a very, very hungry T. Rex! The surprise ending will delight young readers as they cheer on Smitty and his heroic efforts to beat the school bell.

The Monster Who Did My Math
The Monster Who Did My Math

by Danny Schnitzlein
illustrated by Bill Mayer

A math-phobic boy faces another dreaded evening of multiplication when a monster suddenly appears in his room and offers him a deal he cannot refuse. After a quick signature on a contract, the boy’s problems are solved, and his homework is ready to turn in the next day. When the bill comes due, will our hero have the money—and the math skill—to subtract that wicked monster from his life once and for all?

Mr President Goes to School
Mr. President Goes to School

by Rick Walton
illustrated by Brad Sneed

When the president of the United States has a frustrating day, he decides to go back to the place where he learned the most important lessons of all. Children will delight in Rick Walton’s laugh-out-loud story and its over-the-top take on conflict resolution.

Charlie Bumpers vs Teacher of the Year
Charlie Bumpers vs. the Teacher of the Year

by Bill Harley
illustrated by Adam Gustavson

Charlie Bumpers’s worst fear in confirmed: he has Mrs. Burke for fourth grade. It doesn’t matter that she’s been named Teacher of the Year. He’s still afraid of her. How will he survive a year under a teacher who is just waiting for him to make another stupid mistake? Fans of Charlie Bumpers can continue with the rest of the series to see what else Charlie gets himself into.

The Trouble with Rules
The Trouble with the Rules

by Leslie Bulion

Sometimes, breaking the rules is the best thing you can do, especially when the rules don’t allow you to be yourself. Author Leslie Bulion’s sensitive, realistic look at adolescence and her humorous slant on its unique struggles will resonate with young readers who will recognize themselves and their own dilemmas in her well-drawn characters and their responses to a complicated world.

This Girl Is Different
This Girl is Different

by J.J. Johnson

What happens when a girl, homeschooled by her counterculture mother, decides to spend her senior year in public school? Evie is different. Not just her upbringing—though that’s certainly been unusual—but also her mindset. She’s smart, independent, confident, opinionated, and ready to take on a new challenge: The Institution of School. J.J. Johnson’s powerful novel will enthrall readers as it challenges assumptions about friendship, rules, boundaries, and power.

Look for these titles and more at your local libraryindie bookstore, or Barnes & Noble!