Back to School Reads

Get ready for the new school year with this selection of books for ages 0-8, ages 9-12, and teens!

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El Cucuy is Scared, Too! by Donna Barba Higuera

Ramón is worried about his first day at a new school, but it helps to remind El Cucuy, the monster who lives in his cactus pot, of how brave and strong they both are.

My School Unicorn by Willow Evans

It’s almost time for Evie to go to school, but thinking about it makes her feel all wobbly and anxious. But when Evie puts on her new school uniform, she makes a magical discovery. Hidden inside the pocket of her jumper is Bobby, a tiny school unicorn! Bobby has a very important job – helping children feel brave when they go to school. With her new magical friend by her side, Evie soon learns that starting school is LOTS of fun!

The Shape of Home by Rashin Kheiriyeh

It’s Rashin’s first day of school in America! Everything is a different shape than what she’s used to: from the foods on her breakfast plate to the letters in the books! And the kids’ families are from all over! The new teacher asks each child to imagine the shape of home on a map. Rashin knows right away what she’ll say: Iran looks like a cat! What will the other kids say? Open this book to join Rashin in discovering the true things that shape a place called home.

The King of Kindergarten by Derrick Barnes

A Newbery Honor-winning author offers an empowering story about a confident little boy who takes pride in his first day of kindergarten, encouraging new students with a reassuring message about this exciting milestone.

Best Buddies by Lynn Plourde

A boy with Down syndrome and his dog are best friends, but how will they manage being apart when the boy heads to school for the first time?

Little Bat in Night School by Brian Lies

Excited for his first night of school, Little Bat finds his world turned upside down when he finally arrives, in this adorable picture book that celebrates the experience of going to school for the first time.

The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson

Other students laugh when Rigoberto, an immigrant from Venezuela, introduces himself but later, he meets Angelina and discovers that he is not the only one who feels like an outsider.

Isabel and Her Colores Go To School by Alexandra Alessandri

English just feels wrong to Isabel. She prefers her native Spanish. As she prepares for a new school, she knows she’s going to have to learn. Her first day is uncomfortable, until she employs her crayons and discovers there’s more than one way to communicate with new friends.

Swim Team by Johnnie Christmas

When she has to take Swim 101, middle schooler Bree must face one of her greatest fears, but with a little help from an elderly neighbor and former swim team captain, she becomes her schools best hope to beat their rival.

Those Kids from Fawn Creek Erin Entrada Kelly

When Orchid Mason moves to their small factory town where everyone knows everything about everyone, the students of Fawn Creek Middle School don’t know what to think of this newcomer who could change everything.

Scout is Not a Band Kid by Jade Armstrong

Scout joins her middle school’s band in order to go on the band’s annual trip and meet her favorite author, but she is forced to face the music when the trombone section leader realizes Scout does not know how to play.

Falling Short by Ernesto Cisneros

Two best friends, one athletically gifted and one academically gifted, have more in common than they realize when their goals intersect, forcing them to find a way to support each other so they don’t fall short.

Alice Austen Lived Here by Alex Gino

Entering his towns contest for a new statue, nonbinary Sam delves into the history of his subject, photographer Alice Austen, and discovers a rich queer history that they are part of one they must stand up for.

Heart Takes the Stage by Steenz

Heart Lamarr is a girl with big dreams who lives in Philadelphia with her single mom. She has her sights set on a life of theater, but she runs into plenty of drama off-stage, too. Luckily, her best friends Dean, Kat, and Charlotte form a stellar supporting cast to help Heart navigate the challenging world of school plays, cliques, rumors, and everything else middle school throws at them.

Join the Club, Maggie Diaz by Nina Moreno

Maggie Diaz of Miami is excited to start seventh-grade with her best friends, Zoey and Julian, and finally getting a cellphone of her own; but after school her friends are wrapped up in their various clubs, her mother is attending college, and her older sister Caro has her sports and tutoring. Maggie decides that she will find a club to join as well–but trying out ALL the different clubs while still juggling school work is exhausting and confusing–and soon it seems like everybody is mad at her, and the cellphone of her dreams is getting further and further away.

The Secret Battle of Evan Pao by Wendy Wan Long Shang

Moving to Haddington, Virginia, Evan Pao is targeted by a boy who is determined to make sure that Chinese American Evan is not included, forcing Evan to decide whether to react with the same cruelty shown to him, or choose a different path.

Every Variable of Us by Charles A. Bush

After she is injured in a gang shooting, seventeen-year-old Alexis Duncan’s dreams of a college scholarship and pro basketball career vanish, but, encouraged by new student Aamani Chakrabarti, Alexis shifts her focus to the school’s STEM quiz bowl team, a group of self-professed nerds seeking their own futures outside of West Philly.

TJ Powar Has Something to Prove by Jesmeen Kaur Deo

A charming rom-com about high school debater TJ Powar whoafter becoming the subject of an ugly mememakes a resolution to stop shaving, plucking and waxing, and prove that she can be her hairy self and still be beautiful but soon finds this may be her most difficult debate yet.

Does My Body Offend You? by Mayra Cuevas

When outspoken feminist rebel Ruby McAllster stands up for a girl being humiliated into covering up, they become the leaders of the schools dress code rebellion, which forces them to face their own insecurities, biases, privileges and the ups-and-downs of newfound friendship.

It Sounds Like This by Anna Meriano

After anonymously reporting an Instagram account harassing new band members, flautist Yasmin unwittingly gets the entire low brass section suspended from extracurriculars, but with the help of an introverted section leader and an aro-spectrum boy, things just might work out.

Why We Fly by Kimberly Jones

When her best friend, who is Black, is the only student suspended for taking a knee at the seasons first football game, Eleanor must decide whether or not she wants to jeopardize her new relationship with the star quarterback by protesting the schools actions.

Full Flight by Ashley Schumacher

Told in alternating perspectives, in a small town in Texas, mellophone player Weston Ryan and saxophonist Anna James are forced to work together on a duet for their school’s marching band competition.

Home Field Advantage by Dahlia Adler

When it is discovered that the new quarterback Jack Walsh is actually Jaclyn, chaos breaks loose, and cheerleader Amber must take a stand for this girl with whom she is falling head over heels in love.

The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School by Sonora Reyes

Transferred to a Catholic school, 16-year-old Yami Flores finds it hard to fake being straight when she falls for Bo, the only openly queer girl at school, but refuses to follow her heart until she learns to live her full truth out loud.

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