Back to School

Back to School

by Danielle Ziegler

It’s almost fall!  Soon the world will become crisp in the mornings, the leaves will change color, and I will start to look longingly at my sweaters and cardigans.  And, of course, kids and adults start to head back to school.  Whether it’s a book or a DVD preparing you for the start of the school year, we can help you out at Ames Public Library.

Starting school can be a big change for young children, whether it’s preschool, kindergarten, or even a new daycare.  We have board books that can help introduce little ones to what is happening.  If you have any Elmo fans, they might want to check out “S is For School” which has tons of fun flaps to lift as you talk about what school is like!  We also have picture books that are appropriate for older toddlers, such as “Mila Misses Mommy” by Judith Koppens. It’s a simple story that focuses on a child missing her mother when she’s at school.

Picture books also abound with school stories for slightly older children.  One that I’m looking forward to is “Time for School, Little Blue Truck” by Alice Schertle.  I can’t wait to read about what this truck does at school! Perhaps he takes hauling classes?  Another hilarious book that I highly recommend is Ryan T. Higgins’ “We Don’t Eat Our Classmates!” Even though most children won’t have to worry about what would happen if they eat their classmates, they will definitely still be able to relate to Penelope’s trying to fit in and make friends in her new classroom.

Even kids who have been to school before might be nervous about a new teacher and classmates. A wonderful picture book for older kids is Katy Beebe’s “Nile Crossing.” In it, kids will learn about what it might be like for a young boy going to a school for scribes in Ancient Egypt.  Another unique book that shows the importance of education and helps with the fear of change is “Big Papa and the Time Machine” by Daniel Bernstrom. 

There are also DVDs that your children may like to watch to get in the Start of School state of mind. It’s always fun to check in with Ms. Frizzle and her class on “The Magic School Bus” even if their our real classes never go back in time or inside a water treatment plant.  A great DVD for kids who are headed to preschool or kindergarten is “School Cool” which is made by the same people who make the magazine “Highlights.”   

Kids who are reading chapter books can also find great reads to get themselves in the mood for school.  I love fictional sixth grader Merci Suárez who learns that a lot can change, both in school and in life, as you get older.  Kids in 4th through 6th grades will adore “Merci Suárez Changes Gears” by Meg Medina. A great selection for younger chapter book readers is “Mindy Kim and the Yummy Seaweed Business” by Lyla Lee. Your kiddos will laugh along as Mindy starts a snack selling business but will also be able to empathize as she starts at a new school and tries to make new friends.  One last suggestion for families might be “Wayside School Beneath the Cloud of Doom” by Louis Sachar. Many parents may remember reading this series when you were younger—why not read it with your family now?

Teenagers go to school too and may be interested in reading about it! Teens who are interested in history might like to pick up “Separate No More: The Long Road to Brown v. Board of Education” by Lawrence Goldstone.  Another young adult book to pick up is “Truly Devious” by Maureen Johnson. This books is about a girl who goes off to boarding school, meets new friends there, and works on solving a murder, of course.

If none of these books sound like something that can get you ready for school, come on in to Ames Public Library! We’d love to help you find exactly what you need to get ready for fall.