10 Back to School Books with Activities
Here are ten back to school picture books and ten coordinating enrichment activities to get your little ones ready to go back to school!
1. David Goes to School by David Shannon
School Library Journal: David is back! In his very traditional school, he is expected to follow all the rules. He can’t run in the halls, cut in line, call out, or swing his paintbrush around. Drawing on his desk is the final straw, and although minor punishments have already been given out, it’s time for him to stay after school. In a punishment that fits the misdemeanor, he has to wash the desks. He does a stellar job and is rewarded with his teacher’s words of praise. Run out and get several copies of this high-spirited school story.
Toilet Paper Roll Rocket
2. The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
School Library Journal: When Chester Raccoon is reluctant to start school, his mother addresses his fears, then kisses his hand so he will have her love with him while they are apart. After this exchange, he gives her a “Kissing Hand” as well and scampers off happily to school.
Kissing Hand Suncatcher Craft
3. Countdown to Kindergarten by Alison McGhee
Publishers Weekly: Ten days before kindergarten starts, a dark-haired girl wakes up in a panic. “I’ve heard from a first grader that they have a lot of rules there,” she confides, locking eyes with the audience. “You have to know how to tie your shoes. By yourself.” Days nine, eight, seven and so on bring various shoelace disasters. The girl tangles the laces around her cat by accident; she drenches them with syrup on purpose. At dinner, her father jokes, “How’s your bowl of shoelaces I mean spaghetti?” If all the girl’s fears are for naught, at least they provide her with a conversation opener: at kindergarten, she commiserates with one, then two, then three new friends who can’t tie their shoes either.
Shoe Lacing Facts Craft
4. Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes
Booklist: Wemberly, a little mouse girl, worries about big things, little things, and everything in between. If the radiator makes a noise, Wemberly wonders if there’s a snake inside it. Who knew there were so many nuances of worried? There’s concern as Wemberly’s stuffed animal, Petal, goes around in the washer; despair when Petal goes missing; and contained terror as the first day of school approaches. Happily, Wemberly meets a new friend named Jewel at school (and Petal meets Jewel’s stuffed cat, Niblet), and suddenly the world doesn’t seem quite so scary anymore.
Chenille Mouse on a Popsicle Stick
5. Pete the Cat rocking my School Shoes by James Dean
Amazon: Pete the Cat is back—and this time he’s rocking in his school shoes. Pete discovers the library, the lunchroom, the playground, and lots of other cool places at school. And no matter where he goes, Pete never stops moving and grooving and singing his song . . . because it’s all good.
One, Two I Can Tie My Shoes!
6. The Night Before First Grade by Natasha Wing, Deborah Zembe
Amazon: It’’s the night before the Big Day—-first grade! Penny is excited to start the year with her best friend right beside her in the same classroom. This humorous take on Clement C. Moore’s classic tale has a perfect twist ending that will surprise readers —as well as the “heroine” of the story— and help all about-to-be first-graders through their own back-to-school jitters.
First Day of School Interviews (free printables)
7. First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg
Kirkus Review: A fresh twist on an annual crisis suffered by millions: the arrival of that dread day in September when school starts. The alarm rings, but Sarah Jane Hartwell just burrows deeper into her covers, announcing that shes not going, wailing “ `I dont know anybody, and it will be hard, and . . . I just hate it, thats all.’ ” Finally, Mr. Hartwell firmly orders her down to breakfast, puts her in the car and drops her off to join the children flooding through the school doors. Love fills the sharply detailed illustrations with happy, individually distinct faces, vividly capturing the fateful mornings hubbub and, aside from a few hints for the sharp-eyed, artfully setting viewers up for the climactic revelation that Sarah Jane is not a student, but a teacher. Many children will be amazed at the idea that teachers get butterflies too.
First Day of School Hand Craft
8. Splat the Cat Back to School, Splat! by Rob Scotton
School Library Journal: The fuzzy black feline is worried about his first day of school, and despite determined attempts to avoid the inevitable, he ends up there. School is a combination of fantastic revelations and baffling mysteries. Most puzzling of all for Splat is the news that cats chase mice. He does not chase mice. In fact, he has a pet mouse whom he has packed in his lunchbox because he wants a friend with him on his first day. The sight of the mouse causes chaos, but proves fortuitous when Seymour saves the day by crawling through a small hole to unlock the milk pantry. Cheered by the fact that school is, in fact, wonderful, Splat excitedly returns on the second day. This lighthearted story, told with a generous helping of humor and goofy characterizations, will have broad appeal.
Black Cat Paper Bag Craft
9. Mouse’s First Day of School by Lauren Thompson
Amazon: Mouse decides to hide inside a bright red backpack…and ends up at school! As he explores this place full of colors, letters, and numbers, Mouse discovers a world beyond his imagination–and makes some friends along the way.Mouse’s First Day of School is sure to entertain children with its simple, energetic text and sweet illustrations, as well as get readers excited about their own first trips to school.
Letter M Mouse Craft
10. I Love You All Day Long by Francesca Rusacks
Amazon: Owen’s anxious question prompts this heartwarming, comforting tale of how a parent’s love stays with a child whether they are together or apart — all day long.
First Day of School Pocket Hearts Craft