Children’s Library: Back to School

Children’s Library: Back to School

August 24, 2011, Epoch Times


It’s that exciting time of year again—when the promise of newly sharpened pencils, crisp white paper, shiny new shoes, and a whole new year ahead beckon children back to school. Whether a child is just starting out in his or her first year or returning to a familiar routine, a good book can go a long way in inspiring enthusiasm for what’s to come.

“We Like Kindergarten” by Clara Cassidy, illustrated by Eloise Wilkin
This classic Little Golden Book was first published in 1965 and is now out of print, but used copies can still be purchased online. It is most certainly worth the search. This charming and finely illustrated book presents beautifully the joys of kindergarten, as the reader follows young Carol through a typical day at school. The language is simple and hits all the right notes: “At kindergarten I hang up my spotted coat. Stephen hangs up his brown coat.” “We Like Kindergarten” is a great choice that can help a hesitant child relate to what kindergarten will be like, and feel more calm about the new experiences that lie ahead.

“Everything I Need to Know Before I’m Five” by Valorie Fisher
This vibrant picture book delightfully runs through the basics: counting to 20, the ABCs, opposites, colors, shapes, weather. An entertaining choice to build familiarity and confidence with school subjects, a young child will want to flip through this book again and again.

“Richard Scarry’s Great Big Schoolhouse” by Richard Scarry
And great and big it is! In classic Scarry form, the famed author’s characters come together to present all that they learn and do in school. Getting ready in the morning, learning the alphabet, recess at the playground, show and tell, remembering the days of the week—school concepts abound in “Great Big Schoolhouse.” Best taken in small bites, children can pour over the illustrations and their labels, and marvel at finding something new each time.

“Those Shoes” by Maribeth Boelts, illustrated by Noah Z. Jones
The pressure to have what everyone else has often permeates the school experience. “Those Shoes” tells the story of a boy of modest means who yearns for the popular sneakers everyone is wearing. When he finds a pair in a thrift store, he uses his own money to buy them, even though they are the wrong size. He hopes he can stretch the shoes out to make them fit. When he sees another boy in his class with shoes so worn that they need to be held together by tape, he gets a different idea about what to do with “those shoes.” This book is a fitting back-to-school read that breaks down issues of peer pressure and materialism, and ends with an act of kindness.

“My Book about Me” by Dr. Seuss and Roy McKie
This classic “make yourself” book urges children to chronicle all of the pertinent details about themselves, including their names; how big their hand looks when traced; the number of freckles they have; how many forks are in their house; and favorite books, pets, and colors, among many other things. It even asks children to invent their own story. The beginning of a new school year is an ideal time for students to do a bit of self-reflection, and that is precisely what “My Book about Me” encourages. The end result is a childhood keepsake that can be treasured for a lifetime.

“i before e (except after c)—old-school ways to remember stuff” by Judy Parkinson
Appropriate for any age, this very helpful book presents creative and classic ways to remember all manners of things, including the presidents of the United States, how to count in foreign languages, the number of days in each month, the musical notations on a staff, and how to set a table. Young children will simply absorb information as young children do, while older children can utilize these “tricks” to remember whatever information they need. The book also includes a history of the ways humans remember things that is very entertaining to read. This unique reference book is a wise addition to a student’s top shelf.

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