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Story-Telling Sunday: Back-to-School Collection

I'm officially in "first day of school" mom mode. As I write this, the "Welcome to Kindergarten" package has arrived in my email inbox, and I hear the dryer buzzer going off on the last load of back-to-school clothes. The air outside my window is crisp, and the birds are teasing a Fall melody. Cue the Earth, Wind & Fire song...

Do you remember the 21st night of September? Love was changing the minds of pretenders While chasing the clouds away
Our hearts were ringing In the key that our souls were singing As we danced in the night Remember how the stars stole the night away
Hey hey hey Ba de ya, say do you remember Ba de ya, dancing in September Ba de ya, never was a cloudy day

In today's story-telling Sunday blog, I summarize my top back-to-school book selections and feature a bonus pick. The right picture book can really engage conversations between parent and child, and in this case, help put those first day jitters at ease.

"The Kissing Hand"

Written by Audrey Penn & illustrated by Ruth E. Harper & Nancy M. Leak, "The Kissing Hand" is a classic. I highly recommend this book if you are looking for an engaging way to tackle the issue of separation anxiety with your little ones. Penn tells the story of Chester Raccoon who is starting school for the first time and is sad to leave his mom. Chester's mom reveals a family secret that is sure to put his little worries to rest - it's called "the kissing hand". Chester's mom kisses his hand and wraps his fingers around the kiss for him to hold it tight. She reassures him that any time Chester feels sad at school, he can press his "kissing hand" up against his cheek and feel his mom's love from home. Chester feels an instant sense of relief and love. The book comes with "kissing hand" stickers that kids can use on their hands when they start school. I know I'll be using these stickers on my little one next week!

"All Are Welcome"

Written by Alexandra Penfold & illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman, "All Are Welcome" is a great choice to talk to little kids about diversity and inclusivity, especially as they start school for the first time. The story unfolds throughout an entire day at school where everyone is welcomed and included in the day's activities. The illustrations beautifully capture diversity, while the story-telling celebrates kindness and fun at school. Penfold writes it best as she describes the classroom vibe: "We're part of a community. Our strength is our diversity. A shelter from adversity. All are welcome here." The book also comes with a foldout poster that showcases diversity in the classroom and features world flags.

"The Pigeon Has to Go to School"

"The Pigeon Has to Go to School" is the latest release from the widely popular Pigeon books by Mo Willems. If you have little readers aged 3-5, chances are you've seen Willems' books, as kids love the quirky nature of his story-telling. In this latest release, the Pigeon takes little readers into his "what if" world of questions as he gets ready for school. This is a great choice to incite fun, light-hearted excitement around your child's first day of school. It delivers on the giggles too! 

"The School Book"

Written and illustrated by Todd Parr, "The School Book" is the perfect introduction to all the exciting things your little ones will do at school. The story-telling is straight-forward and easy for a little reader to follow, with simple vocabulary throughout. The story is told chronologically from the perspective of little students getting ready for school in the morning, participating in all the fun classroom activities, and returning home to talk all about it. Little readers can instantly imagine their first day of school.

"The Mouse's First Night at Moonlight School"

Written by Simon Puttock & illustrated by Ali Eye, "Mouse's First Night at Moonlight School" is my bonus pick to round up my back-to-school selections. Puttock tells the story of a little shy mouse on her first day of school. She is so shy that she decides to go to school extra early so she can hide from the other animals when they arrive. When the teacher and animal students arrive, they start looking for mouse and turn it into a fun game of "hide-n-seek". As the story unfolds, mouse plays along and forgets all about being shy. This is a great choice for anyone wanting to talk to little ones about making friends at school, or feelings of shyness when starting school for the first time. This became a favourite bedtime book in our household!

That rounds up my top back-to-school picture books! Good luck to all the parents and kiddos starting school next week, and as always, happy reading :)

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