Monday, August 19, 2013

Back to School

The yellow school buses were out in force today.  It's the first day of school for Fauquier County public school students!  To mark the occasion, I thought I'd blog about school stories today.  Some are about the first day of school, while others are about school in general:

First Day of School 

I reviewed this in 2011, and it still remains one of my favorite picture books about the first day of school. This first day of school story is unique in that the children are not newcomers to school; when they gather in the park on one of the last days of summer vacation, they discuss what they've been doing in order to get ready for school (haircuts, shopping for school supplies, etc).  They also reminisce about last year's first day of school, and how much more confident they are about starting a school year.  The story ends with the first day of school, which includes a mix of new and old: new teacher, new classroom, but also a friend from last year.  It's a very positive look at a day that can cause uncertainty and anxiety for many children.

Follow the Line to School

Laura Ljunkvist's Follow the Line books are great fun and very creative; in Follow the Line to School, the reader is taken on a journey through the classrooms and areas of a school.  "Say hello! Hello! Hello to your friends and go to your classroom. Fred is the class pet. Can you guess what kind of animal he is? Look at the alphabet chart. What letter does your name start with? What sport would you play with the ball in this room?"  We explore the science corner, the art room, the library, the cafeteria, the playground, and many other fun areas until it's time to go home: "Follow the line out the door, because it's time to go...HOME! It's so much fun to learn new THINGS. I wonder what...TOMORROW brings."  It's obviously one that requires close inspection and interaction between the reader and listener (so not great for a large group session).

Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten?

This was the hit of last week's Kindergarten Kickoff story time for our kindergarten kids; it had them giggling from the time I showed them the cover and introduced the title.  The story directly addresses the reader and assures him/her that the buffalo is indeed ready for kindergarten, even if he is a bit nervous.  He will fit in just fine and have lots of fun learning!  It's a great read aloud (with a tiny bit of gross factor in one scene) with tons of kid appeal.

Rain School

Imagine having to actually *build* your own school on the first day of school. That's exactly what the children in this Chad village must do.  The children and the teacher build their school made from mud, in which they learn their letters and numbers.  Definitely one of the most unique school stories in our collection, and an excellent read aloud for elementary school age children.  Author/illustrator James Rumford was a Peace Corps volunteer in Chad and drew from his experiences to create this story.

School Bus

School Bus is my favorite Donald Crews picture book; not only are the illustrations in his usual extraordinary manner, but it's also a fine read aloud for young audiences (Crews's picture books lean more heavily on illustration than text).  We follow the school bus around the town as it picks up the children, brings them to school, waits for the children until the school day is done, and winds through the town again as it delivers the children home.  This is a staple in my transportation theme for my toddler story time; it's always a huge hit.

I also blogged about kindergarten stories for my monthly contribution to the ALSC (Association for Library Services to Children) blog.

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