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Back to School Books [ The Must Have List! ]

Updated: Jul 31, 2022

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Oh, how my teacher heart LOVES a good back-to-school book! There are so many great ones out there.


  • Short

  • Silly

  • Lends easily to movement

Having books with a specific school theme is great, but remember they don't have to be related to school at all! Stick with books that are short and silly.

Groovy Joe by Eric Litwin and Tom Lichtenheld is always a class favorite!

  • Sing and dance to "love my doggy ice cream!"

  • Let out big dinosaur "ROARS!!"

  • Doggy ice cream dance party? Yes, please!

It's a hit every. single. year.

Eric Litwin has so many other great read-alouds too!

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Another silly book I LOVE for the first week of school is The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli. The kids love to pretend along with me that they swallowed a seed. We get real dramatic and let out HUGE burps at the end! It also lends well to an easy craft for the first week of school.

The infamous Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by John Archambault is another great one for the first week. I love that it can be sung. This makes it a big hit with all my little ones.

Just before the letters fall down in the story, I give each of my kiddos a plastic or foam letter. They hold it WAY up high in the air and we all drop them together and bellow "Chicka, Chicka, Boom, Boom!!"

Adding small interactive elements like this makes the story so much more engaging for little ones. I also do a name craftivity with my kiddos on the day we read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. I use pom poms as coconuts and clip them to clothespins. The kids dip 'em in paint and fill in the letters of their name.

Next up, good ole' Mo Willems! You seriously can't go wrong with any of his books! They are silly, engaging and ready for you to make the characters come alive! My favorite one for back to school is The Pigeon Wants a Puppy, but there are so many other great ones too! Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus and The Pigeon HAS to Go to School! naturally lend themselves to beginning of the year activities. The Pigeon Needs a Bath is another great one that kids can easily relate to.

Anna Dewdney's Llama Llama series is great for back to school! One of my favorites is Llama Llama Misses Mama.

I usually read Llama Llama Misses Mama during the first week of school, but NOT on the first day. Why?

Because I've just calmed down and distracted the kiddos who are in tears missing their loved ones! Once I've redirected their attention to a story, the last thing I want to do is remind them that Mommy or whoever they are missing isn't there. I've found that Groovy Joe or The Watermelon Seed work better for the actual first day of school. Save Llama Llama Misses Mama for a bit later in the week. A few other great ones by Anna Dedney are Llama Llama Time to Share and Llama Llama and the Bully Goat.

Next up, We Don't Eat our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins. This book is AWESOME! But again, it is one I would save for a little later in your back-to-school week. Getting eaten by a dinosaur might be a little too scary for some kiddos without building up some rapport first. Once your kids are comfortable and happy in the classroom, they are going to LOVE this book! Pout-Pout Fish in the Big-Big Dark is another cute one about the power of friendship and helping one another. It lends very easily to movement and has repetitive text making it a perfect back-to-school book.

So those are some of my favorites! How about you? Which other books do I need to add to my list? Please comment below with a few of your back-to-school go-to books!


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