Books to get you ready to head back to school


(Deb Lindsey/For The Washington Post)
August 21, 2012

It’s back-to-school time, so you may be feeling a lot of mixed emotions.

●Excitement: It’ll be so fun to reconnect with friends I haven’t seen all summer.

●Nervousness: Is Ms. Tofflewoffer really as mean as everyone says?

●Dread: Oh my gosh, this is the year I have to learn my multiplication tables.

The thing about all those emotions is that you’re not alone in feeling them. Kids everywhere greet back-to-school season with a combination of the thrill of learning new things and the fear of things being new!

It’s not just real kids who feel these things, either. Kids who are characters in books go through first-day jitters, middle school nerves and coping with bullying. So here are some books about being back in school. We bet they’ll make you laugh, get you excited about learning and realize that Ms. Tofflewoffer is really a great teacher if you just give her a chance.

The New Kid

By Mavis Jukes. Age 8 and older.

Carson is moving to a new home in a new town with his dad. That means just one thing: a new school for Carson, who will become the dreaded “new kid.” But the new school isn’t all bad. After all, there’s goofy Mr. Lipman, who turns out to be a pretty funny teacher. There’s Mr. Nibblenose. No, that’s not a teacher; he’s the class rat whom Carson can’t wait to take care of. There are even some nice kids in his class. But, of course, there are some not-so-nice kids. (Hey, kids are people, too!) And when Carson’s best friend, a stuffed animal named Moose, goes missing, he may have to make some new friends of the human type.

Who knew?

Marco Goes to School

By Roz Chast. Age 4 and older.

This book has a funny story with funny illustrations that will help anyone heading off to kindergarten or first grade feel more comfortable about the new ad­ven­ture. Because in this book, going off to school is definitely an ad­ven­ture. Marco is a busy bird who decides it would be good for him to go to school. But, boy, does he have a lot to learn. Such as how to get along with his new classmates, where he will eat lunch, who his teacher will be and how to build a block tower all the way to the moon! But what Marco learns at the end of his first day of school is a lesson that will last him a lifetime.

Third Grade Angels

By Jerry Spinelli. Ages 7 to 10.

(Available September 1)

Have you heard this rhyme?

First grade babies

Second grade cats

Third grade angels

Fourth grade rats

Author Jerry Spinelli has written a bunch of kids’ books, including “Fourth Grade Rats.” As George enters third grade, he’s excited that Mrs. Simms will hold a competition each month to see which student will be awarded “the halo” as the best-
behaved, kindest third-grader in the class. George wants to win the award really badly, but he has some questions, such as: Does he really have to be kind to everyone, including his annoying little sister? And what if he does something really nice but Mrs. Simms doesn’t see it?

Sometimes being an angel isn’t as easy as it seems.

The Classroom (The Epic Documentary of a Not-Yet-Epic Kid)

By Robin Mellom. Age 10 and older.

There’s so much to love about this laugh-out-loud-funny story of what happens to Trevor Jones, who is just starting the seventh grade at Westside Middle School. All in one day, Trevor starts school, loses his best friend and has to deal with a film crew documenting the life of a “typical middle school student.” The story is told a bit in the style of a movie; the chapters are short, and there are cute drawings and doodles on the pages. Total fun for the end of the summer and the start of school.

— Tracy Grant

kidspost@washpost.com

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