Starting School Book Guide for 2013!

Genres: General Fiction, Juvenile, Juvenile Fiction


First Day of School by Anne & Lizzy Rockwell
Genre: Juvenile Fiction / School & Education
Ages 4 to 8, Grades P to 3
Pages: 40 Paperback 9×9″
Date Published: June 2013
Publisher: Harper

The kids from Mrs. Madoff’s classroom-“a charmed place” (Kirkus Reviews)-are preparing for a brand-new school year!

The first day of school is full of new things. New is exciting! But it can also be scary. What will school be like this year?

The kids from Mrs. Madoff’s class meet at the park and show off their new haircuts, new lunch boxes, new backpacks, and notebooks. They also show off their new independence: Nicholas thinks his haircut makes him look grown-up like his dad, Jessica can make her lunches all by herself, and Evan has his very own house key! Thinking back to last year, they remember how much fun Mrs. Madoff’s class turned out to be.

Celebrate all the rituals of the first day of school, and share in the excitement with friends old and new!

Reassuring – multicultural, supplies.

I haven’t been introduced to the books of the lady Rockwells yet, but after this one I cannot wait to get a stack of others. (It appears this one was published in hardcover in 2011) This is a fabulous and reassuring story with preparations for a new school year. It is culturally diverse and full of friends. The illustrations are wonderful and there is plenty for discussion in these pages.

Anne Rockwell is the author of moer than one hundred books for children including Why Are the Ice Caps Melting?CloudsWhat’s So Bad About Gasoline, and all the Mrs. Madoff books. She lives in Greenwich, CT. You can visit her online at

Mia Dances Back to School by Robin Farley
Illustrated by Olga and Aleksey Ivanov
Genre: Juvenile Fiction / Performing Arts
Ages 4 to 8, Grades P to 3
Pages: Paperback 8×8″
Date Published: June 25th, 2013
Publisher: HarperFestival

Mia goes back to school in this 8×8 storybook, with a sheet of stickers!
It’s a new school year, and Mia can’t wait to be in class with her best friends, Anna and Ruby. On the first day of school, Mia puts on her new tutu and heads out the door. But when she arrives, Mia is upset to discover that she has a different teacher than Anna and Ruby. Will Mia still twirl into the classroom, or is the curtain closing on this school year?


Ballerina Mia – regular school – is always a favorite character of ours to read and perhaps this is one of my favorite ones featuring the first few days of going to school. Class assignments are made and Mia is in a different class from Ruby and Anna. It is scary and an adventure, but a perfect read to help prepare your little student.

It makes me recall the open house when I was so excited to finally be in a class with my best friend, but when we arrived it appeared that there were so many fourth and fifth graders they had created a new class and we were separated again. The next year we went to different schools. *sigh*

Robin Farley is a NYC-based children’s book editor. She currently lives in Brooklyn.

Clark the Shark by Bruce Hale
Illustrated by Guy Francis
Genre: Juvenile Fiction / Animals
Ages 4 to 8, Grades P to 3
Pages: 32 Jacketed Hardcover 10×10″
Date Published: June 25th, 2013
Publisher: Harper

Clark is a shark with zing, bang, and BOOM. Clark zooms into school, crashes through the classroom, and is rowdy at recess. Clark loves life-but when his enthusiasm is too much for his friends, Clark’s teacher, Mrs. Inkydink, helps him figure out a way to tone it down.

Clark the Shark celebrates boisterous enthusiasm-and knowing when it’s time for indoor voices!

Both the book and the matching stuffed animal are cute! I look forward to reading Clark the Shark Dares to Share next year. Clark is quite the boy child, full of energy and excitement for school, but he’s got a lot to learn. There is a time and a place and Clark has to work on his exuberance. Then a new kid comes to school and Clark can use his new knowledge to share wisdom to grow on.

Bruce Hale has written and illustrated nearly twenty books for kids. His Chet Gecko Mysteries series includesThe Chameleon Wore Chartreuse; The Big Nap; FarewellMy Lunchbag; The Malted Falcon; and others. Bruce lives in Santa Barbara, CA, with his wife and many hats. You can visit him online at

Charlie Goes to School by Ree Drummond
Genre: Juvenile Fiction / Animals
Ages 4 to 8, Grades P to 3
Pages: 40 Jacketed Hardcover 10×10″
Date Published: June 25th, 2013
Publisher: Harper

Charlie always loves to lend a paw and help out around the ranch. When he sees Mama and the kids doing school, he comes up with a plan: He’ll start a school of his own so the animals can learn as much as the kids! Charlie’s ready to teach Walter, Suzie, Kitty Kitty, and the rest of the animals everything he knows. They could all be just like him, if only they’d pay attention!

Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, tells another hilarious story about life on the ranch, starring her basset hound Charlie. The back matter includes a recipe for a delicious after-school treat.

As a homeschool teacher in my first years, knowing Ree is a homeschool teacher I found myself very curious about how school will go for Charlie. It’s awesome! Anyone can enjoy it, but homeschool mamas will love it as they can relate. Oh and in the Pioneer Woman style there is a snack recipe perfect for school days at the end of the book.

Ree Drummond began blogging in 2006 and has built an award-winning website that receives more than 20 million hits per month. She is also the New York Times bestselling author of Charlie the Ranch DogThe Pioneer Woman Cooks, and The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from My Frontier, as well as Charlie and the Christmas Kitty and The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheelsa Love Story and now has her own series on the Food Network, The Pioneer Woman. Ree lives on a working cattle ranch near Pawhuska, OK, with her husband, Ladd, their four kids, and lots of animals, including Charlie! You can visit her online

Amelia Bedelia’s First Library Card by Herman Parish
Illustrated by Lynne Avril
Genre: Juvenile Fiction / Concepts
Ages 4 to 8, Grades P to 3
Pages: Jacketed Hardcover 9×10.5″
Date Published: May 28th, 2013
Publisher: Greenwillow Books

In the sixth title in the New York Times best-selling picture book series, young Amelia Bedelia gets her very first library card!

Amelia Bedelia checks out the entire library in this picture book celebration of libraries, books, and reading. The sixth book in the nationally best-selling series about the childhood of America’s favorite literal-minded housekeeper.
Amelia Bedelia loves to read, so a visit to the library in town is right up her alley. There are books, books, and more books, of course, but Amelia Bedelia and her classmates are especially excited to meet the librarians, help out at the circulation desk, and investigate the stacks. But when everyone is presented with a library card-that’s when the real fun begins! What will Amelia Bedelia check out? And what kind of adventure will her library book take her on?

Amelia Bedelia, America’s favorite literal-minded housekeeper, is turning fifty! The Amelia Bedelia books have sold more than 35 million copies since 1963. Hearty congratulations to Amelia Bedelia-and long may she reign!

Young Amelia Bedelia is a hoot and adorable. I’m a book lover and my girls love going to the library. This story featuring the young Amelia Bedelia on a field trip to the library is a great way to introduce and explain how a library works. Great for Preschoolers through First Grade and home library shelves as well.

Herman Parish was in the fourth grade when his aunt, Peggy Parish, wrote the first Amelia Bedelia book. Peggy passed away in 1988. Since then, Herman has continued the classic character with many more books, including five earlier picture books about the young Amelia Bedelia. You can visit him

Pete the Cat: The Wheels on the Bus by James Dean
Genre: Juvenile Fiction / Animals
Ages 4 to 8, Grades P to 3
Pages: 32 Hardcover 9×9″
Date Published: June 25th, 2013
Publisher: Harper

Join Pete and his pals as they head to school in this groovy version of “The Wheels on the Bus.”

I’ve been seeing this book cover around a lot lately, as it’s part of a special deal at Barnes & Noble. I believe it something like you buy two children’s books and can buy this one at a special $5 price! Worth it!

Funny! Sing along with Pete and the kitties in this classic of “the wheels on the bus” with several new verses. Some verses specific to a school bus. More verses specific to Pete the Cat. Fun and definitely an interactive read.

James Dean knew he had found something special when he painted Pete, a black kitten he discovered in a cage at the animal shelter. James lives with his wife, Kim, also an artist, and five cats (Bob, Frida, Yoko, Audrey, and Marilyn). You can visit him online at

123 Versus ABC by Mike Boldt
Genre: Juvenile Fiction / Concepts / Alphabet
Ages 4 to 8, Grades P to 3
Pages: 32 Hardcover 10×10″
Date Published: June 25th, 2013
Publisher: Harper

Numbers think they’re the star of this book, but Letters disagree!

In 123 versus ABC, Numbers think they’re the stars of the show. After all, Numbers help us count, measure, subtract, and add, so certainly this story is about them. Except Letters think they’re the stars! Letters do make up the alphabet so we can spell and read. Enter 1 Alligator and 2 Bears followed by 3 Cars…. Who is this story about, anyway?! Numbers or Letters?

Jacketed hardcover.

This is definitely a book for animated out loud reading. It’s fun and will be even more fun if your child can read one part and you the other. Letters A-Z and numbers 1-26 and maybe a re-read with colors! Oh the learning possibilities.

Mike Boldt has been illustrating children’s products ranging from pop-up books and iPhone games to comics and graphic novels for the past ten years. He was eavesdropping on his three young children one day as they argued the relative merits of numbers and letters…and the result is this delightful book. You can visit him online at

Other suggestions:

Mittens at School (I Can Read!) by Lola M. Schaefer
The Berenstain Bears Go to School
The Berenstain Bears Come Clean for School
Pinkalicious: School Rules! (I Can Read!) by Victoria Kann
The Exceptionally, Extraordinarily Ordinary First Day of School by Albert Lorenz
Strawberry Shortcake Goes to School

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About CherryBlossomMJ

The Creative Madness Mama also known as Margaret is a Christian Stay-at-home Mama, married to the Enginerd, Quilter, avid reader and book-a-holic. A book blogger for bunches of different publicists. She loves to share the latest and greatest about books coming out as well as her quilt and other crafty projects with some pictures of her eight-year-old AppleBlossom, three-year-old Almond Blossom (the Rascal boy!), six-year-old OrangeBlossom (the Princess), and newborn Mermaid Warrior in between. Plotting to be a homeschooler, she's a cloth diapering, breastfeeding, babywearing, list making mama full of a little creative and a lot of madness.