Books

BOOK REVIEW: Back-to-School Books

Back-to-School Books by Various Authors
c.2021, Various Publishers
$16.95 – $27.99
Various Page Counts

Nothing but the perfect notebook will ever do.

Same with the crayons, the colored pencils, pens and the three-ring binder. School — whether virtual, in-person, or hybrid — is not the same without the perfect supplies. So why not start the year off right by adding these great books to the Back-to-School pile?

For the youngster who’s super-extra-ultra-excited about school, you’ll want to have “Sounds Like School Spirit” by Meg Fleming, pictures by Lucy Ruth Cummins (Dial Books for Young Readers, $17.99) around. It’s a cheer! It’s an action-packed rally! It’s a book to get kids up to second grade really excited about going back to school.

For the child who speaks English as a second language, or for the kid who’s learning Spanish, “Isabel and Her Colores Go to School” by Alexandra Alessandri, illustrated by Courtney Dawson (Sleeping Bear Press, $16.99) is a great book to read aloud. It’s the story of Isabel, who doesn’t want to go to school if they speak English there. English reminds her of dark colors, while Spanish reminds her of bright oranges and pinks. What happens is a sweet ending to this book, presented in both languages, so any 3-to-8-year-old can easily follow along.

For the child who loves his teacher instantly and for the parent who knows this years’ teacher is a true partner in education, “A Teacher Like You” by Frank Murphy and Barbara Dan, illustrated by Kayla Harren (Sleeping Bear Press, $16.99) is a great gift to bring to the classroom. Written in picture-book style, this small tale offers colorful, heartfelt thanks to the educators, inspirations, leaders, and those who believe in and guide your child.

If you’re a parent and you watched helplessly as your child struggled last year, look for “The Disintegrating Student: Struggling But Smart and Falling Apart… and How to Turn It Around” by Jeannine Jannot, PhD (Citadel Press, $16.95). Offering case studies, a plethora of things to watch for, and tips to help your student succeed in adverse school situations, this book offers advice that can be adapted to fit any student, whether this year will be spent at home, at school, or a little of both. Best of all, it’s easy-to-understand and great for parents and caregivers of kids grades five and up.

And finally, if there’s a college student in your life — especially if yours is a student of color — then look for “The State Must Provide” by Adam Harris (Ecco, $27.99). Here, Harris writes about how colleges have been historically slanted toward education for white students, leaving HBCUs to struggle financially and otherwise. It goes deep and it goes far back and it’s going to frustrate you a lot. The good news in this book is that, for parents and students who want to end this inequality, it’s fixable.

Your favorite bookseller or librarian has more for you to read if these great back-to-school books aren’t enough for your family. Find something new to read for fall because a great school year starts with books worth noting.

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