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Nervous? Who Me? 10 Titles for Kids Not Excited about School

No one, from the tiniest preschooler to the oldest adult, ever really gets over those first-day jitters. Here are a wide variety of new books on that old topic, the first day of school.

Board/Toddler
‘Lola Goes to School’
by Anna McQuinn

Lola and her family are busy getting ready for her first day of school, which is filled with meeting new friends, eating snacks and reading, all of which makes for a tiring day but an entertaining one for readers. If this is your first Lola series book, be sure to check out her other adventures.

‘I’m Going to Preschool’
This lift-the-flap book adds fun to its comforting message — you’re going to like preschool.

Picture Books
‘The Pigeon HAS to Go to School!’
by Mo Willems

Pigeon is not very excited about starting school and does not want to go. He hates getting up early, he wonders if the teacher will like him, and he is pretty sure he already knows everything anyway. Many young children go through some of the same worries as Pigeon when starting school and will take comfort in Pigeon and how he adjusts.

‘Back to School’
by Maya Ajmera

Share in the exciting experience of learning with children all over the world. With minimal text and bright, colorful photographs that show various modes of transportation, schools and classrooms, this book captures the joy and excitement of learning around the globe.

Young Readers
‘Big Shark, Little Shark Go to School’
by Anna Membrino

Big Shark and Little Shark are back, and this lovable odd couple is going to school — and their reactions couldn’t be more different. Little Shark is excited for school and even gets to the bus stop early. But where is Big Shark? Will this duo be late on their first day of school? Children will easily relate to both personalities, and the picture clues will help decode this silly story.

‘Butterflies in Room 6’
by Caroline Arnold

Writer and photographer Caroline Arnold transports readers to a Los Angeles kindergarten classroom in this innovative science book. The class follows painted lady butterfly eggs through their life cycle, and the photographs of those stages are clear and beautiful. Just as fun are the pictures of the children whose expressions during this process range from surprise to caution. This is a great STEAM book for young readers, but teachers beware — you may be asked to do the same in your classroom!

Middle Readers
‘New Kid’
by Jerry Craft

This engaging graphic novel follows seventh-grader Jordan Banks as he starts school at a posh private school selected by his parents instead of the art school that he wanted to attend. This entertaining and insightful book is not just about being the new kid, but also about race, as Jordan is one of the few students of color at his school.

‘Surviving Middle School’
by Luke Reynolds
Former middle school teacher Luke Reynolds uses his own experiences as well as those of other students to assist kids as they negotiate the minefield that is middle school. He uses a humorous narrative approach with short chapters that address issues like bullying, peer pressure, grades and parents and teachers in a style that will appeal to fans of “Diary of a Wimpy Kid.”

Young Adult
‘The Field Guide to the North American Teenager’
by Ben Phillippe

High schooler Norris is uprooted from Montreal to Austin for his mom’s new job at the University of Texas. As both are Haitian and French Canadians, it’s a bit of a culture shock. Issues of racial identity and immigration are deftly explored throughout this humorous debut novel. Norris yearns to find hockey-loving pals like he had back home and eventually bonds with a new community of friends — until prom night, when everything threatens to unravel.

‘Komi Can’t Communicate’
by Tomohito Oda

Social anxiety takes center stage in this comedic, classroom-focused manga featuring high schooler Komi Shouko. Debilitated by her shyness, Komi relies on writing rather than speaking to convey her thoughts. That is until her classmate Tadano realizes that beautiful Komi is not standoffish, but instead needs help. Together, they devise a plan for Komi to make a hundred friends, starting with some beguiling characters she interacts with every day.

About Compiled by the Baltimore County Public Library’s Collection Development Staff

Baltimore's Child Staff

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