ages 6 – 9



                               

I know just about all kids are already back to school but it’s never too late for some good back-to-school books.   This list is geared for the younger set who may be nervous about starting preschool or kindergarten but are also a good refresher for those who are a little older.

Pre-School (ages 3-5):

How Do Dinosaurs Go to School? by Jane Yolen & Mark Teague. As with the other “How Do Dinosaurs” books, this one shows what dinosaurs should and shouldn’t do at school, some of which are funny and ridiculous. These books would be preachy if they weren’t so well done.

Sea Monster’s First Day by Kate Messner, illustrated by Andy Rash.  I reviewed this book, as well as “Sea Monster and the Bossy Fish,” over on 5 Minutes for Mom right around this time last year, and it’s a good reminder that anxiety and fears on the first day are normal.  Kate Messner also did a guest post on using books as springboards.

Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney.  It’s time for Llama Llama to go to school, but he hasn’t spent much time away from his mama. After a morning of missing her, he finally makes some friends, and before he knows it, the day is over.  This is a great book for kids with separation anxiety.

Kindergarten and older:

Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten by Joseph Slate, illustrated by Ashley Wolff. My younger son loved reading this book over and over, even after he was well into kindergarten.  I don’t know if it was alliterative animals or Miss B herself, but this is a book we reached the renewal limit on because he never wanted to send it back to the library.

Berenstain Bears Go Back to School by Stan & Jan Berenstain, with Mike Berenstain. I’m not a fan of all Berenstain Bears books, as they often make Papa look like a bumbling fool and can be a bit preachy too (I’m obvious not a fan of preachy).  But this is a rhyming book that shows Brother and Sister Bear nervous and excited to go back to school and is more of a tour of the school than a book that soothes fears. I would recommend it for first or second graders who’ve already got a year or two of school under their belts rather than kids who are anxious about beginning school.

What books are favorites in your house when it’s time to head back to school?

Nancy is the mother of a second grader who likes school but won’t admit it, and a sixth grader who has until now hated school but so far is actually enjoying and doing well in middle school. She writes about her boys, books, and life in Colorado at Life With My Boys and Books.



                               

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Monkey Me books 3 and 4

Thanks to Scholastic, I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing the first two books in the “Monkey Me” Branches series by Timothy Roland – Monkey Me and the Golden Monkey and Monkey Me and the Pet Show.  Branches is “a unique line of books specifically designed for newly independent readers who are ready to make the exciting leap from leveled readers, but not quite prepared for a traditional chapter book.”  My now second grader is reading on a third grade level, so he’s beyond the target audience, yet he still loves these books about a hyper boy who transforms into a monkey when he gets excited.  Since I somehow misplaced the third book when I received it a few months ago, and the final book comes
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Calvin, Look Out!: A Bookworm Birdie Gets Glasses

A few years ago, I became enamored with a little starling named Calvin, a book-loving bird who skipped flying lessons in favor of trips to the library and more time immersed in a book. Jennifer Berne’s Calvin Can’t Fly: The Story of a Bookworm Birdie became a much loved read aloud in my preschool classroom, and it remains a favorite of my own children to this day. Imagine my excitement when I saw that Berne had collaborated with illustrator Keith Bendis once again to bring a new Calvin story to the shelves. Calvin, Look Out! A Bookworm Birdie Gets Glasses gives the gist of the book’s tale right there in the title, but be prepared for a little silly adventure in the process, of course. When Calvin
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Kindergarten, Planes, and Sea Bears from Chronicle Books

Planes Go by Steve Light is a highly appealing book for the youngest of booklovers. I have to enumerate what I love: I love board books, but this one is unique because of its size, 12 x 6 inches. Fun sound words like “wheeeevvrrruuhmmm,” “huk, huk, huk, wwwhhhiiirr,” “bbbrrrrmmmmmm.” Bright pictures and a fun font make each page exciting. The Bear’s Sea Escape by Benjamin Chaud is another uniquely-sized book, at 14.5 x 9.8 inches. It has an old-fashioned busy style of illustration which takes up the majority of the page,inviting readers to find Little Bear on each page, as Papa Bear is looking for him as well. The scenes are diverse, from snow to sand to sea. Planet Kindergarten equates starting Kindergarten to a
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Dreamworks Press Dragons mobile story app #Giveaway

Disclosure: I received a complimentary app to review and other promotional consideration for this campaign. My son Kyle has read a heckuva lot less this summer than he has in years past. There are many reasons for that, and if I cared more, I’d do something about it. I know that once we get back into the routine of school, he’ll be back to consuming novels at a rapid pace. Last year he had the most AR points of any 4th grader, so there’s that…. He’s just so drawn to those handheld (and desktop) computer devices. That’s why I was excited to try out the new app from DreamWorks press, which combines reading with a familiar app experience. Ultimately, he decided he’s a bit too
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Song for Papa Crow

My kids and I can often be seen walking around our yard area trying to pinpoint a songbird up in the trees. There are some calls that are easy for all of us to identify- the American robin’s cheery trill, the blue jay’s jarring calls, and the chickadee’s confident repeating of its own name. Of course, another one most folks can immediately recognize is that of the American crow, though their raucous caws don’t usually convey the same warm feelings as the songbirds. Perhaps after reading Marit Menzin’s picture book Song for Papa Crow, however, children (and parents) may come to have a new appreciation the next time they hear a crow’s caws. In colorful cut-paper illustrations that convey texture even on the two-dimensional page, the story
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Ready, Freddy! Going Batty

The wee ones love the Ready, Freddy! books. It’s one of the first chapter book series that they started reading, and they felt like such big kids, along with Freddy and his first grade friends. In Ready, Freddy! Going Batty by Abby Klein, Freddy is once again being challenged by the classroom “bully” Max. Freddy has been hearing scraping noises in his attic, which has been keeping him awake at night. As he talks about the monster upstairs on the bus, Max overhears and challenges Freddy to get a picture of the monster that weekend, or else he’s chicken. Of course Freddy can’t back down, but luckily he has his best friend Robbie who volunteers to spend the night and help Freddy track down the monster.
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Hilda and the Black Hound #MMGM

Earlier this year, I was introduced to the Hildafolk series by Luke Pearson. My review of Hilda and the Troll emphasized my adoration of this spunky young character and the adventurous tone of the story in this complex comic book.  What I didn’t realize was that the series had continued with three additional books! Hilda and the Black Hound is the latest, and this fourth in the series has Hilda facing another adventure, of course, with just the amount of pluck and heart readers have come to expect from her. Since the first book in the series, Hilda and her mother have moved away from the Fjords and into the small city of Trolberg. It’s clear that Hilda still misses the wide expanse of the natural world, and
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Kelsey Green, Reading Queen / Annika Riz, Math Whiz #Giveaway

Welcome to Mrs. Molina’s third grade class at Franklin School, a fun group of kids, each with their own ‘thing.’ In the first two books in the series, young chapter book readers are introduced to two girls whose special interests are laid out right in the titles: Kelsey Green, Reading Queen and Annika Riz, Math Whiz. In the first book, Kelsey Green has her nose in a book– many, many books– throughout the story, as she is working hard to both help her class win the school-wide reading contest, as well as to claim the honor of being the student who has read the highest number of books in the entire school. There are some obstacles in her way, though, such as family events that
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TIME for Kids Big Book of When

Kids and their questions. It seems like my children can come out with questions I never would have thought to ask in a million years! I admire their curiosity, and I’m happy that they still see books as resources for finding answers. A new information book full of “801 Facts Kids Want to Know” has caught their attention, answering questions they’ve wondered and providing information to appeal to a wide variety of interests. TIME for Kids: Big Book of When is the kind of book that children will pull out again and again for entertainment (that is educational, too!). Sized like a traditional classroom textbook, this book is way more engaging than I remember any of my old school books to be. Vivid photographs and illustrative maps,
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Fact or Fib?: A Challenging Game of True or False

Combine a trivia game and an informational book, and you’ve got Fact or Fib?: A Challenging Game of True or False. Along with its companion, Fact or Fib? 2, these kid-friendly books provide a fun and educational reading experience for all ages. Their small size (about 5″x7″) make them perfect for popping into a purse or backpack as a time-killer when out and about! On each two-page spread, three statements are given about a variety of topics including animals, dinosaurs, bugs, technology, and many more. Two of the statements are absolutely true, while one is a big old lie. With the next page turn, the facts are revealed and the fib is unveiled, along with a little extra context information about each of the statements. While these
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The Baby Tree #Giveaway

It’s an inevitable rite of parenthood– answering the age-old question, “Where do babies come from?” Accomplished author/illustrator Sophie Blackall tackles this question in a beautifully rendered new picture book, The Baby Tree. My eight-year-old daughter and I had a little chat about the book, which we’ve enjoyed reading together, as well as about how she used to think babies originated. Check the video out over on 5 Minutes for Mom, and enter to win a copy of the book for yourself while you’re there! Now, let me tell you that I absolutely love this book. I’m already a huge fan of Blackall’s illustrative style, ink and watercolor pictures with a soft quality that immediately conveys tenderness. In this story, a young boy’s parents tell him that
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