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If I had to pick a favorite book that I’ve read to my children during times when they've been anxious about returning to school, I’d be unable to choose – there are that many excellent choices.
One that topped our list, however, was “David Goes to School” by David Shannon. Full of mischief, little David, who is loosely based on the author, gets into trouble at every turn. Will he be banished to the time-out chair? Or, perhaps he’ll practice appropriate when-at-school behavior and earn a gold star. My kids adored this book, and brought our copy to their classrooms’ on more than one occasion for reading-aloud time.
We recently asked SchoolFamily.com Facebook fans to name their favorite books to help children deal with their going-to-school jitters.
The most popular book by far among our SchoolFamily.com fans was “The Kissing Hand” by Audrey Penn. In this book, Chester, a young raccoon, would much rather stay at home with his mother than go to school. His mother, however, kisses his palm and good feelings “rush from his hand, up his arm, and into his heart.” Chester’s mother then tells him that whenever he is lonely he can put his palm to his cheek and “that very kiss will jump to your face and fill you with toasty warm thoughts.”
“Chrysanthemum” by Kevin Henkes was another of our readers’ favorites. Henkes is the author of the popular “Lily” series, and has a devoted following of his books, which feature adorable mice as the main characters. “Chrysanthemum” is the name of a little mouse who is bullied and made fun of on her first day at school because of her long and rather unusual name. Eventually, however, the class learns that their music teacher, whose name is Delphinium, plans to name her unborn baby Chrysanthemum, the prettiest name she has ever heard.
“First Day Jitters” by Julie Danneberg takes a twist that children will find delightful. Sarah Hartwell does not want to go to her third-grade class at a new school. She hides under her bed covers and generally delays however she can on that first morning. When she finally gets to her new school, however, young readers learn that Sarah - who is their new teacher - has the same back to school jitters that they do, even though she is a grown-up.
Want the names of more back-to-school books? Check out the books listed here.