This months bookclub is all for the kiddos. It's back-to-school time and it's their time to shine (don't worry, I also listed some of my favorite books I have read in the past month down below in case you have some extra time for yourself;).
It's back-to-school time for the kids and whatever age your kid is, school can come with a ton of mixed emotions - excitement, fear, anxiety, sense of unknown, just to name a few.
Last year, when Ellie started preschool she really had no idea what to expect from it. Preschool (and play-school for younger toddlers) is such an abstract thought for most toddlers and young kids and they really have no idea what it is and why they are going. Since Ellie had stayed home with me since she was 18 months old, the thought of her going somewhere all day without me was both exhilarating and frightening for her.
To calm her nerves, we read a ton of books about what exactly happened at school. I then used the books as a jumping-off-point to talk about what school was, what she would be doing all day, how she needed to be nice to other kids, how to listen (still working on that one:) and maybe most importantly it gave us a place to talk about what emotions and feelings she had around the idea of school. Since most kids get shy and have a hard time talking about what they are feeling, I have found that popping in questions about emotions while we are reading really helpful for us. I find that Ellie will completely open up when I ask her things like 'does that monster scare you?.. does anything else scare you?' 'does that make her happy?.. what makes you happy?' and so on. This might be because it is just us in her darkened room, safety tucked side-by-side in her bed that creates an intimate time for us to actually talk about emotions and her feelings. Whatever it is, I love the way books can create a connection to my child that I don't get from her anywhere else.
This year, Ellie is mostly pumped about going to school again and asks each and every morning if it is time for school yet! I guess, she is mostly exhilarated about getting away from me again!
Even though she is mostly excited about going back to school, she will be getting a new teacher this year and I know this will be a hard transition for her since she loved both of her teachers she had last year. So right now, we are again reading a ton of books to her about school to help reassure her that everything is going to be okay. We are also reading Parker the younger toddler school books as she is starting a 2-day a week play-school this year.
Talk about exhilarated - I will have 2 mornings all to myself for the first time in years! Oh the things I will do!!
Maisy Goes to Preschool - (great for toddlers) - This is a simple and cute book that tells what kids should except their first day of school to be like - first art, then snack, followed by naps, music and then goodbye time. I got this and am reading it to Parker so she can prepare for her first day of play-school.
Time for School, Mouse! - (great for toddlers) - Super simple and easy book for younger kids to learn about school (or daycare). Mouse goes around finding items that he needs for school - pencil, lunch box, backpack, etc. Only 1-2 sentences per page. I like to read the words and then make Parker find the items to make it a more interactive book.
Dinosaur vs. School - (great for toddlers and preschoolers) - This series features a very fun dinosaur and follows him on his adventures of growing up. This book is focused on Dinosaur going to school, where he meets new friends, plays dress up and makes art. Then it's time for clean up, where all of his new friends pitch in to help. Since we have a serious problem with clean up in my house, I loved this book for both themes it had. Both Ellie and Parker loved this book.
Bear's Big Day - (great for toddlers and preschoolers) - I love anything by Salina Yoon, and this book is no exception. Bear is going off to school for the first time, but realizes that when he gets there he is sad because he misses his stuffed bunny Floppy. He doesn't eat, make art or play for then entire day at school. Then, with the help of his teacher, he comes up with a solution to his problem. A quick read that has a great positive message.
Ming Goes to School - (great for preschoolers) - A lovely story about a brave and curious girl that is ready and excited for school to start. She loves everything about school (building sandcastles, making snow angles, playing with glitter and glue) except for one thing - the red slide! Will she concur the scary slide by the end of the book? Read it to find out!
The Pout-Pout Fish Goes to School - (great for preschoolers) - This book focuses on some fears and anxiety that some kids might have around going to school - not being able to do math, not being able to write, not fitting in, not being smart enough. All of those emotions are real for kids and I like how this book approached these subjects in a fun way with a very positive outcome. It is definitely a book to read and then talk to your child about how they feel and what they might be afraid of when it comes to starting school.
Pete the Cat: Rocking My School Shoes - (great for preschoolers) - If you haven't read any Pete the Cat books, let me warn you that it feels like you just smoked up and are now reading/singing a story to your kids. With that said, the books are fun to read and sing to and the girls LOVE this series. This book is all about Pete rocking in his new school shoes and his adventures during his first day of school because it's all good. There is even a video (link on amazon) of the tune of the song in the book, which my girls have now watched a zillion times.
I Am Too Absolutely Small for School - (great for preschoolers) - This book is great for any kid that might have some apprehensions around going to school. Lolo isn't sure about starting school and comes up with a million reasons why she doesn't have to go 'I am too extremely busy doing important things at home' and 'I don't need to learn to read, I got all my books in my head'. Charlie, her older brother, uses fun ways to talk her into wanting to do all of those things. I love reading this book to the girls because it has a good flow, the illustrations are beautiful and the relationship between the brother and sister in the book is precious.
School's First Day of School - (great for kindergarteners) - A little advanced for Ellie, but I will be keeping this book for when she starts Kindergarten next year. A fun story about how the school feels during the day. It has some great areas to talk to your child about what is good and bad behavior during school.
School Memory Keeper - (great for all ages) - This one isn't a book, but since I am terrible at putting together photo albums or even baby books for the girls (I'm still actually telling myself that one day I will make a baby book for both of the girls, HA!), I got this easy to use school memory organizer for both of the girls. It is small, so don't expect to put every cute drawing your kid ever makes in it. It has a spot to write down their memories from the year, a place for their school picture and a folder for a couple awards, report cards, etc. I have a bigger tote for all of their school art work and projects, this is just a record of their school years.
Now tell me, what are your favorite back-to-school book for kids?
And in case you need some good reads, I highly recommend the following books: