By Amy Hackworth.
Maybe your child’s school has been in session for several weeks or just a few days. Either way, I’m sure you’ll agree that school provides ample material for great stories. I hope you’ll enjoy six of my favorites!
1) My Kindergarten by Rosemary Wells takes a cute little animal class through the entire kindergarten year. This is a thoughtful, well-planned book to savor with your little one. It’s full of inspiring examples of great teaching, with story-based lessons on music, friendship, seasons, and science. It’s beautifully written, with an overall gentle tone that makes you appreciate the wonder of learning. If you like Rosemary Wells, try Yoko Learns to Read as well.
2) Italian immigrant Josephine practices a new language in class in Josephine Nobisso’s In English, Of Course. The book highlights the challenges of unfamiliar languages in a positive way, and also models great teaching and learning. Josephine is confident and brave, and tone of the book is upbeat. Plus it features a really cool style of illustration.
3) Sunday Chutney, of Aaron Blabey’s, Sunday Chutney, is perpetually the new girl in school because of her dad’s job, but her great imagination and self-confidence get her through. She’s likeable, and very well-rounded—her interests include “drum solos, marine biology, crumpets and worthy causes.”
4) In Back to School Tortoise by Lucy M. George, Tortoise is nervous about going back to school for all the classic reasons—what if the kids don’t like him, or he gets embarrassed, or he doesn’t like lunch? When we find out that Tortoise is the teacher, this cute book with darling animal illustrations becomes even more endearing.
5) A natural architect, Iggy from Iggy Peck, Architect has been building impressive structures his whole life, but second grade teacher Miss Greer has a serious grudge against architecture—until Iggy saves the class when a field trip takes a turn for the worse. The story is told in tight verse that’s also very funny: “She dropped to the ground with a vague groaning sound. (Luckily fainted—not dead.)”
6) Baloney (Henry P.) is one creative alien’s over-the-top version of “the dog ate my homework.” The many nonsense words (that totally work) are sure to get some laughs, especially when Henry P. forgets the alien word for thank you and accidentally uses the word for “doofbrain.”
P.S. — Bonus Book: I have to mention Patricia Pollaco’s Thank You, Mr. Falker for any struggling learners out there. It’s long for a picture book, so best suited for older kids or adults. Pollaco tells her own story of the shame, embarrassment, and bullying that came with not knowing how to read until she was in 5th grade. Through the help of kind and dedicated Mr. Falker, she finally learns to read. Her confidence, pride and gratitude make this this one a bit of a tear-jerker.