Sunday, August 18, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?: Beginning of the Year Books

Check out It's Monday! What Are You Reading? at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers

I started back to school this week, so part of my focus is books that can be shared during the first week of school. Serge Bloch's Butterflies in My Stomach and Other School Hazards is the story of a boy who is very nervous on his first day of school. He does not want to leave his dog Roger behind. His story is told through idiomatic expressions. For example, his mom tells him he will be in a real pickle if he misses the bus. When the boy arrives at school, his teacher asks "Has the cat got your tongue?". There are bumps in the road, but our main character is able to maneuver through his first day. The combination of drawings and real objects will entertain readers and make for a fun first day activity. 

The students in Miss Cluck's class are excited about the new student coming to their class. They think they are getting a student who will be just like their stuffed bears. What they get instead is a rather large grizzly bear named Boris. In this environment of small creatures, Boris has a hard time fitting in. He breaks chairs, his voice is too loud, and his classmates are generally scared of him. Not feeling a part of the class, Boris has a tough afternoon. It's not until an incident on the way home that he begins to find his place in the class. 
The New Bear at School, written by Carrie Weston and illustrated by Tim Warnes, is a great read aloud selection for the first few days of school. Students will be able to relate to Boris since they are all trying to figure out how to fit in as well. 

Ralph the Raccoon is a disappointment to his parents. He is far too polite, neat, and kind for a raccoon. His tidiness is so annoying that he is sent to Bandit School so he can be a proper raccoon like his Grandpa Cutlass and Uncle Whiskers. Ralph finds that he does not fit in with the misfits at school and receives low grades from his teacher, Mrs. Mischief, for his neat ways. At the end of the term, students are given a big sack and told to collect as much loot as possible. How will Ralph fill his sack when he is such a nice raccoon?

School for Bandits, written and illustrated by Hannah Shaw, would be a terrific read aloud to accompany the discussion of class expectations. 


  1. Thank you for sharing these back-to-school titles, Jeff! I love them! I've been trying to find really good titles to share with my teacher-trainees. Will now reserve them in our libraries. :)

  2. These look charming - two weeks to go and I have butterflies in my stomache, too.

  3. Thanks for these, Jeff-I hadn't heard of them!

    Two favorites of mine are Audrey Vernick's Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten? and Julie Danneberg's First Day Jitters.

    We start back to school next week, so I've got a bit of time to check out your recommendations. Thanks again!

    Natalie @Biblio Links


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