3 Back to School Books That You Don’t Want to Miss

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Back to school is such a hectic time, but it is the perfect time for great books!

Not only do they re-introduce students to the school atmosphere, but they are the perfect opportunity to start conversations about important topics such as: 

  • self-confidence
  • friendship
  • kindness

We all have our back to school favorites, but these are books that you might not have heard of. 

But, I can promise that if you read them once, they will probably be new additions to your back to school favorites list! 

Let me introduce you to three of my new favorite back to school books: 

  1. Giraffe Problems by Jory John
  2. Tomorrow I'll Be Kind by Jessica Hische
  3. Leonardo the Terrible Monster by Mo Willems

Back to School Book #1: Giraffe Problems

Edward the giraffe can't understand why his neck is as long and bendy and, well, ridiculous as it is. No other animal has a neck this absurd. He's tried disguising it, dressing it up, strategically hiding it behind bushes–honestly, anything you can think of, he's tried. Just when Edward has exhausted his neck-hiding options and is about to throw in the towel, a turtle swoops in (well, ambles in, very slowly) and helps him understand that his neck has a purpose, and looks excellent in a bow tie.

I read this book with my students during Library Orientation and they LOVED it. It's a cute book, that is a short read with a real page turner (at one point you have to turn the book vertical to read the page). 

It's the perfect opportunity to talk about how every one is different, but we all have different strengths. It's a great lesson in self-confidence and unlikely friendship. 

And, if I'm being honest, it's just really fun to read. 

Back to School Book #2: Tomorrow I'll Be Kind

In a follow-up to Tomorrow I'll Be Brave, award-winning illustrator Jessica Hische brings to life another series of inspirational words and scenes with her lovely hand-lettering and adorable illustrations. This uplifting and positive book encourages kids to promise that tomorrow, they will be grateful, helpful, and kind.

My favorite feature of this book is that an entire page spread is dedicated to a different character trait (grateful, helpful, kind, etc). 

It provides teachers (or parents) to stop after each page and really discuss what it means to be grateful and ways that we can practice gratitutde. 

In addition, the illustrations in this book are absolutely beautiful and engaging for kids! 

This is a book that I would read at the beginning of hte year, but you could also pull it out anytime you are having difficulties between students in class and you need to re-visit your character trait expectations. 


Back to School Book #3: Leonardo the Terrible Monster

Leonardo is truly a terrible monster-terrible at being a monster that is. No matter how hard he tries, he can't seem to frighten anyone. Determined to succeed, Leonardo sets himself to training and research. Finally, he finds a nervous little boy, and scares the tuna salad out of him! But scaring people isn't quite as satisfying as he thought it would be. Leonardo realizes that he might be a terrible, awful monster-but he could be a really good friend.

What I love about this book is that it is from one of our FAVORITE authors, Mo Willems. The book starts out normal enough, but takes a very surprising twist at the end. 

It's the perfect conversation starter about putting other people's needs before your own and the importance of being a good friend. 

More First Grade Favorites:

Back to School Book Recommendations
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Kristen Sullins

Kristen Sullins

I am a current Elementary Librarian and
Enrichment Teacher, mother of two, follower of Christ and Texas native. In my own classroom, I love to save time by finding unique ways to integrate writing, social studies and science into all parts of my day. I also love all things organization!