3 Favorite Back to School Books

September 3, 2020

Are you on the lookout for some new back to school books?!

In today’s blog post, I wanted to share 3 of my favorite books to use at the beginning of the year for back to school. A new school year can bring many different emotions as students’ schedules change and their summer rhythm and routine (or lack thereof) get disrupted.

Before I dive into why I love each book, I wanted to let you know that you can actually watch or listen to this information by clicking play on the YouTube video below where I dive into each book:

While you’re there be sure to subscribe to my channel.

To read why I love each book, just keep scrolling!


(1) The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn

Now this book is an oldie, but a goodie, but I think the lesson in this story is even more important this year than ever before. With students spending so much time at home since last March, they may feel that shift away from their parents/caregivers more than they have in the past.

In this story, a young raccoon is sad about leaving his mother to head off to school. To help him, the other raccoon gives him a little kiss in the palm of his hand to remind him of her throughout the day and let him know he is loved. It is a great, heartwarming story that may help ease some fears during those first weeks at school. You can also do a quick Google search and find tons of free activities to go along with this book. Just click below to grab it on Amazon:


(2) The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi

Our names are important. Go ahead and repeat that again and again. I absolutely love to read The Name Jar at the beginning of the year as a way to show how important our names are. This story is about a young girl named Unhei who comes to America from Korea and her new classmates have trouble pronouncing her name.

Unhei has to decide if she wants to create an American name for herself and they use a name jar to fill it with ideas for what her new name could be. She has a difficult decision to make throughout the story! I also have a free read aloud lesson to go along with this book with great stopping points for questions and some reading and writing response sheets as well. You can grab that freebie below:

To add The Name Jar to your library, check it out on Amazon below:


(3) The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson

I love Jacqueline Woodson’s books and this one is no different. It is all about being and feeling different. This book is a non-linear story that touches upon a few different scenes and characters, but the main character is a girl named Gabriella who feels different in her new classroom. It walks through different aspects of going to school which can make students feel left out or different. Some examples are your skin color, your eye color, what food you bring to lunch, your summer experiences.

As educators, we know these topics can come up often in our classrooms so this book provides a great way to discuss the beautiful things that make us different and how despite our differences, we have many things in common as well.

You can check this book out on Amazon below:


(BONUS) The King of Kindergarten by Derrick Barnes

I wanted to share one last bonus book that my own son, Theo, is loving right now! It is specifically for kindergarten so keep that in mind. This is a fun book about a little boy who is going to kindergarten for the first time. It is playful as he talks about being the king of school and uses all sorts of fun, royal comparisons. They go over small details about taking the bus to school, sitting and listening to the teacher, sharing toys, etc.

It is a great book to build confidence and get your new students excited about being at school!

You can see that one below on Amazon as well:


Even if you are doing remote or distance learning right now, you can still read your students some of these books through video so students can connect with you and enjoy read-aloud time! There are so many back to school books, that it was difficult to choose just a few to share. Go ahead and share some of your favorites in the comments down below!

Pin to remember:

Looking for some newer books to read at the beginning of the school year?! These 3 books are some of my favorite back to school read alouds for the 2020 year. Head on over to the post to see why and see the bonus book I also shared!

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  • Thank you so much for sharing these great beginning of the year books. They are new to me. You are awesome!!