Banish the back-to-school blues with books

August 20, 2010|By LESLEY MASON / Special to The Herald-Mail
  • "High School's Not Forever," by Jane Bluestein, is recommended for students 12 and older.

Not everyone is excited about the start of a new school year.

There are so many "new" things to think about: new teachers, new friends and maybe even a new school. Offer your child a book that might address some of the nervous, scared or anxious emotions that a lot of kids face when it's time to go back to school.

Use the stories as a way to start a conversation about going back into the classroom. A supportive network can help every child face fears about scholastic performance, social acceptance and the uncertainty of a new environment.

Try these titles to help your child feel more comfortable about going back to school.

o "I'm Your Bus," by Marilyn Singer. Ages 3 and younger.

In rhyming text, a school bus describes its busy day transporting children to and from school.

o "It's Your First Day of School Annie Claire," by Nancy White-Carlstrom. Ages 4 to 8.


Annie Claire is excited but nervous about her first day of school. She is reassured by her mother.

o "First Day Jitters," by Julie Danneberg. Ages 4 to 8.

Sarah is hiding under her covers and announces that she isn't going to school. Mr. Hartwell reminds her how much she liked her other school and reminds her to think of all the new friends she'll meet. In a great unexpected twist at the end, children are reminded that everyone gets nervous.

o "I've Got the Back-To-School Blues," by Gail Herman. Ages 4 to 8.

Summer is almost over and second grade is about to begin. This is not good news for Annie. She is sure that second grade is going to be absolutely terrible because this is the first year she and her two best friends will be in different classes.

o "Back to School, Mallory," by Laurie B. Friedman. Ages 9 to 12.

Mallory McDonald starts third grade at a new school in a new town, away from her best friend and her old life.

o "Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Middle School," by Robin Epstein. Ages 9 to 12.

Homework, hormones, heartache - middle school has no shortage of perils. Never fear. The authors of the best-selling Worst-Case Scenario series return with a survival guide for those who are facing this big transitional time in school and life.

o "Ride the Butterflies," by Donald Davis. Ages 9 to 12.

There's something about school that infuses the work of Donald Davis. Whether we're traveling around the world with Miss Daisy, the fourth-grade teacher who was integrating arithmetic, geography and English before the term "whole language" ever surfaced. Or watching in awe as a classmate conjugates malaprops in Miss Vergilius Darwin's Latin class. Or driving a school bus and learning about segregation. Readers experience flashes of recognition in moments that transcend Davis' Appalachian childhood.

o "Fred & Anthony's Horrible, Hideous Back-to-School Thriller," by Esile Arevamirp. Ages 9 to 12.

In their fourth adventure, slackers Fred and Anthony, having escaped from the Netherworld, are ready to return to Sunny Babbling Brook Elementary for another school year.

o "Back to Class: Poems by Mel Glenn," by Mel Glenn. Ages 12 and older.

An illustrated collection of 65 poems describing the feelings, insights and aspirations of a variety of high school students and their teachers.

o "High School's Not Forever," by Jane Bluestein. Ages 12 and older.

With real-life stories from teens across the country, as well as high school "survivors," this book paints a real picture of how teens feel about the struggles and triumphs of the daily grind and how they get through it.

Lesley Mason is children and young adult librarian at Washington County Free Library.

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