On the Bookshelf

Back to School (However You Do It)

This week, Susan was the lucky bookseller who was able to select the titles that would become the all-grade level reads to welcome Harbor Springs students back to school (in-person or virtually). With enormous thanks to the donors who have helped us Keep Young Readers Reading this summer, we were able to move ahead with this initiative to provide all kindergarten through 8th grade students a book to begin the year.

We are, however, making one last ask to help cover these final costs. If you are able to make a small donation, please contact Between the Covers at 231.526.6658. THANK YOU!

(For a complete list of donors as well as reviews of the books by grade level keep an eye on this column in two weeks!)

In the meantime, for the littlest school-goers, who might need a fun book to ease them into the school year, may we recommend:

Danbi Leads the School Parade, by Anna Kim

Danbi is thrilled to start her new school in America. But a bit nervous too, for when she walks into the classroom, everything goes quiet. Everyone stares. Danbi wants to join in the dances and the games, but she doesn’t know the rules and just can’t get anything right. Luckily, she isn’t one to give up. With a spark of imagination, she makes up a new game and leads her classmates on a parade to remember!

Pearl Goes to Preschool, by Julie Fortenberry

Pearl loves attending dance classes at her mother’s ballet school. Even though Pearl is the youngest and smallest ballerina, she knows how to count her poses and follow along. When her mom suggests that Pearl try going to preschool, Pearl has a lot of questions . . . A sweet story about trying something new.

We Will Rock Our Classmates, by Ryan T. Higgins

As the only T. Rex in her school, Penelope is often overlooked, but when she loses her confidence after signing up for the school talent show, her father and some friends help her find her courage.

First Day Jitters, by Jory John, illus. By Liz Climo

It’s almost the first day of school, and the animals are nervous. Sloth worries about getting there on time, snake can’t seem to get his backpack fastened onto his body, and bunny is afraid she’ll want to hop around instead of sitting still. When they all arrive at their classroom, though, they’re in for a surprise: Somebody else is nervous too. It’s their teacher, the armadillo! He has rolled in as a ball, and it takes him a while to relax and unfurl. But by the next day, the animals have all figured out how to help one another through their jitters. School isn’t so scary after all.

I Got the School Spirit, by Connie Schofield- Morrison, illus. by Frank Morrison

As a new school year begins, a young girl is filled with school spirit as she zips her book bag shut, rides the bus, enjoys her classes, and eagerly anticipates the next day.

Ollie & Augustus, by Gabriel Evans

Ollie and his dog, Augustus, do almost everything together: painting, riding bikes, digging (Ollie’s favorite), and collecting sticks (Augustus’s favorite). So as Ollie is getting ready to start school, he’s a little worried. Won’t Augustus be lonely during the day? Ollie has just the idea: a sign that reads “Wanted: Friend for Augustus.” But good friends, as it turns out, are hard to find. Luckily, Ollie and Augustus aren’t just any kind of friends—they’re best friends, and nothing will ever change that.

Rescuing Mrs. Birdley, by Aaron Reynolds, illus. by Emma Reynolds

Self-proclaimed animal expert Miranda Montgomery sees her teacher at the grocery store and decides to return her to her natural habitat, the classroom.

All Welcome Here, by James Preller, illus. by Mary GrandPré

The first day of school and all its excitement, challenges, and yes, anxieties, are celebrated here in connected haiku poems. A diverse cast of characters all start—and finish— their first days of school, and have experiences that all children will relate to.

When Pencil Met the Markers, by Karen Kilpatrick & Luis O. Ramos, Jr., illus. by Germán Blanco

A purple marker shows his friends that being creative means sometimes coloring outside the lines in this new picture book, the imaginative, inspiring, and colorful follow up to When Pencil Met Eraser.

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