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Back to School! Part I

It's September and children in North America -- and in many places around the world -- are headed off to school. Happily, there's a great diverse collection of books about that experience in which young students can see themselves reflected.

In our first post, here are some delightful titles on three topics.

First Day 

These titles feature either main characters who are Black, Indigenous, or People of Color (BIPOC), or multiracial casts of students in typical stories about starting public school -- with all its excitement and anxiety. Young children will find lots of reassurance here about what school might be like and how others have navigated that first big day:

Lena’s shoes are nervous


by Keith Calabrese and Juana Medina

Lena is excited about starting kindergarten but her favorite shoes are not until, with the help of her father and a very special headband, she convinces the shoes--and herself--to be brave.

Any Child

Butterflies on the first day of school


by Annie Silvestro and Dream Chen

Rosie can’t wait to start kindergarten—she’s had her pencils sharpened and her backpack ready for weeks. But suddenly, on the night before the big day, her tummy hurts. Rosie’s mom reassures her that it’s just butterflies in her belly, and she’ll feel better soon. Much to Rosie’s surprise, when she says hello to a new friend on the bus, a butterfly flies out of her mouth! As the day goes on, Rosie frees all her butterflies, and even helps another shy student let go of hers, too. -- publisher

Any Child Cross Group

Coming Soon
By Anna McQuinn & Rosalind Beardshaw

Lola Goes to School (2019)

Lola and her family prepare for the first day of school the night before, then get up early, take pictures, and head to class. Lola puts her things in her cubby, chooses her activities, reads, plays, and has a snack. Before she knows it, it’s time to sing the good-bye song and rush into Mommy’s arms for a warm reunion. A comforting, cheerful read that demystifies the school day for preschoolers and kindergarteners.

Coming Soon
By Derrick Barnes & Vanessa Brantley-Newton

The King of Kindergarten (2019)

Starting kindergarten is a big milestone—and the hero of this story is ready to make his mark! He’s dressed himself, eaten a pile of pancakes, and can’t wait to be part of a whole new kingdom of kids. The day will be jam-packed, but he’s up to the challenge, taking new experiences in stride with his infectious enthusiasm! And afterward, he can’t wait to tell his proud parents all about his achievements—and then wake up to start another day.

Diverse Experiences

Then there are going-to-school books with rich content about particular racial or cultural group experiences:

Around the World

While children love to see their own school experiences featured in picture books, it's also fascinating to see how the experiences of students in other countries is similar to and/or different from their own:

The following has a 2019 edition coming soon!

For more than 200 other picture books that portray a diverse array of school experiences featuring BIPOC characters, search our database here.

Many of the cover images on this site are from Google Books.
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