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Booktalk Tuesday: Books for Back to School, Freebies & a Giveaway!

Hello beautiful new books for a beautiful new school year! Here's a look at what new reads await your first week of school, plus some fun freebies AND a chance to win the title of your choice!

Want to enter the giveaway for a chance to win one of these great books? Like this post and leave a comment on my Facebook Page! One random winner will be chosen on Monday, August 13th!

Without further ado, here's the latest and greatest of 2018 Back to School Books:

It’s Your First Day of School, Busy Bus! by Jody Jensen Shaffer

Kids aren’t the only ones with first-day jitters… it turns out that buses get them too! Ben the bus driver checks this little yellow bus from front to back and promises Busy Bus he’s ready to roll, but Busy Bus isn’t so sure. Cute! Would recommend especially for a young first-time bus rider.

Wouldn't this be fun to read and then talk about how we get to school? Snag your FREE whole class graph and math center survey by clicking below!


Mae's First Day of School by Kate Berube

Today is Mae’s first day of school, but she’s not going! And neither is Rosie… or their teacher, Ms. Pearl! School is too scary. What if the kids don’t like you? What if no one will play with you? What if you miss your family? What if you make a mistake? Luckily, school is a place for trying and learning new things, making new friends, and facing fears together!

I LOVE how this book explores how teachers and grown-ups can feel nervous, too. Wouldn't it be great to make a Venn Diagram with the class after reading this book and compare/contrast the class's feelings to your own?

Goodbye Brings Hello by Dianne White

For each thing left behind, a new adventure awaits. What a gentle and empowering read to help young ones navigate changes and try something new… like the first day of school!


Hello School! By Priscilla Burris

A great read for families or classrooms about what to expect this new school year! From circle time to snacks to science, follow this diverse class of little learners throughout their day.

All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold

A gentle welcoming read just in time for a new school year! The rhyme scheme and refrain are so comforting. Love the message and the everyday diversity!

Click, Clack, Quack to School! by Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin

The farmyard friends are back! When Farmer Brown receives an invitation to the nearby elementary school (animals included), he gets to work right away preparing the pigs and cows and chickens for their serious day. Full of the noisy fun and repetition that makes all of these books fantastic read-alouds! Also a great opportunity to talk about classroom rules and expectations. Sometimes we have to be serious... but sometimes it’s okay to be silly!

We Don’t Eat Our Classmates! by Ryan T. Higgins



Penelope Rex is in for a surprise on the first day of school... she's in a classroom full of (delicious) children! It's not easy making friends when you treat your classmates like food. In a great twist with a goldfish, Penelope eventually learns what it's like to be on the other end of someone's sweet tooth. This story is absolutely HILARIOUS for adults and kids, and it’s another great segue into a discussion about classroom expectations.

I Walk with Vanessa: A Story About a Simple Act of Kindness by Kerascoet

How can a story without words have so much to say? This wordless picture book speaks volume about the power of kindness and community. When a classmate sees Vanessa being bullied, she stays awake late into the night wondering what she can do to help. The very next day she offers to walk Vanessa to school. The girls are joined by more and more children taking hands. I love how it ends with Vanessa and her new friend leading the way into school! Great opportunity for kiddos to practice their narrative skills and look closely at the pictures to tell the story. And of course, this book lends itself well to any age group for a discussion of how we treat others.

It’s Show and Tell, Dexter! by Lindsay Ward

Dexter the Dinosaur is back and ready to go with his best friend Jack to school! But what if no one likes him? What if Jack takes a different toy instead? Maybe Dexter should wear a costume! Dance the cha-cha? Recite the state capitals backwards? A silly and fun story about some serious topics: first-day jitters and being yourself.

Lena’s Shoes Are Nervous: A First Day of School Dilemma by Keith Calabrese and Juana Medina

It’s the first day of kindergarten and ALMOST all of Lena is excited… except for her shoes! Will Lena and her dad find a way to get Lena ready for school from head to toes? What a great debut! The bright and playful illustrations (and Lena’s relationship with her dad) really make this read for me. I also love the safe space that dad creates for Lena to explore and work through her feelings. Great read-aloud with a clear narrative structure and many opportunities for kids to draw connections!

I think this book would pair great with a first day feelings math graph or self-portrait! Click on the picture to snag your freebie!



Fairy’s First Day of School by Bridget Heos

What do fairies do at school? Although counting teeth and taking lunch on toadstools may be unfamiliar, young readers will relate to many other parts of the school day. Good for discussion about how your school day is the same and different!

Kindergarrrrten Bus by Mike Ornstein

There’s no blubbering and no fear on this swashbuckling pirate’s bus! At least, not until Polly the parrot flies away… leaving the new kindergartners to console their shivering sniveling bus driver! The illustrations didn’t do much for me and the story itself I felt would be better suited to a first grade audience, but I guess “firrrrrst grade” doesn’t roll off the tongue as well as “kindergarrrten.”

On the First Day of First Grade by Tish Rabe


Find out about all the fun first grade has to offer in this sing-song adaptation of “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” New friends and laughing and learning all day await young readers from day one!

Wouldn't it be fun to read this and then write a class book about your class’s own favorite first week adventures? Snag your FREE class book below! Tish Rabe has also written On the First Day of Kindergarten, so I've included a Kindergarten version in the file as well.


Want to keep up with the latest and greatest in kidlit? Looking for more great read alouds and fun story time songs? Don't forget to check out my library life blog!

Storytime in the Stacks

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