3 Must-Read Children’s Books for Back to School

I’m not a teacher. In fact, I don’t even have kids! But I can’t escape the feeling – it just feels like back to school. Maybe it’s the cooler mornings, or maybe it’s just because I got stuck behind a school bus driving to the gym… But even though my days in the classroom are long over, I still have been experiencing those inescapable feelings that are reminiscent of my own first days of school. In the spirit of heading back to school, check out these three wonderful children’s books. They are essential companions that will help kids everywhere as they face all that comes – good and bad – with going to school and growing up.

My VP Looks Like Me by Dr. Phyllis Harris

(Juvenile Fiction / Educational)

My VP Looks Like Me is an empowering story that every child should read as they think about what they want to be when they grow up. Written by Dr. Phyllis Harris, it’s an uplifting introduction to career awareness for elementary students – particularly girls.

Children need to know that anything is possible. With this book, they’ll receive that reminder and so much more. The book is about a young girl who begins to think about what she would like to be when she grows up! It then depicts Kamala Harris, America’s first woman Vice President, as a role model who shows her that anything is possible. The story serves as an empowering resource to introduce girls across the world to women role models. Beyond that, it shares experiences that empower them to become tomorrow’s leaders. Additionally, it’s a great book for guidance counselors, educators, parents, and all who support and inspire young girls to never give up on their dreams.

If you are a teacher or have a young child at home, then I highly recommend this empowering story. It’s not an easy time to grow up. Children confront so many challenges today, and it is understandable for them to feel overwhelmed, intimidated, and insecure. But this book is a necessary resource that reminds kids to remain strong, confident, and true to themselves. The book’s namesake, Kamala Harris, paved a path for future generations to see extraordinary achievements as ordinary. So, share this book with children, and help them follow in her footsteps. You’ll see how children are capable of achieving amazing things as long as they believe in themselves and are equipped with the proper tools to succeed.

Principal for a Day by Marisa Kossoy

(Juvenile Fiction / Educational)

Principal for a Day is both a funny and educational story that early elementary readers will love. It is a creative back to school story about a little boy named Jackson, who happens to be a troublemaker. As a joke, he enters his name to be the principal for a day. Of course, he never expected to be picked. Guess what, he is selected to spend an entire day with Principal Pennyworth and must deal with everything that comes with running a school filled with unruly kids!

When I was reading this book, I looked back at my early school memories. Although I never had to be principal for a day, I remember being in Jackson’s shoes quite a few times. It was a charming reading experience, and the book is educational but very approachable. Even if your child is not an active reader, Jackson’s story is engaging for even the most reluctant readers.

I hope this book is included in every classroom and every home bookshelf this school year. Jackson’s experience of running the school for a day – and even dealing with other troublemakers – will resonate with young readers as they think about their behavior and attitudes around teachers and administrators. They’ll come to understand that being a teacher or a principal is actually a pretty tough job… and being a troublemaker might not be so cool after all.

Author Marisa Kossoy did such a wonderful job writing this story. Her use of language is superb, and the illustrations are engaging. So, does Jackson have what it takes to be principal for a day? Get your copy and find out.

Clementine Gets Unstuck! by Christine Corrigan Mendez M.Ed. LPC NCC and Jen Monika McCurdy M.Ed. LPC

(Juvenile Fiction / Social Issues, Mental Health)

Clementine Gets Unstuck is one of the most important books for children to read this school year. It’s been a difficult few years for kids everywhere. We’re facing a mental health crisis – and young children have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic and increasing social stressors. Because of that, the authors Jen and Christine, were inspired to do something about it. So, they wrote this wonderful introductory book of the Kids Can Club™ Collection.

The story is about a little girl named Clementine. Her mind is filled with so many exciting thoughts and ideas. But sometimes, her brain gets too busy. When so many thoughts zip in and zing around, they get tangled up and she can’t think clearly. This is frustrating for her and leads to a lot of problems. So, she searches for a solution.

At school, she works with a counselor who teaches her wellness exercises that help her brain get unstuck! With new confidence, she believes that kids like her can face challenges, find solutions, and help others do the same. She starts a new club called “The Kids Can Club” that supports children who face emotional challenges. The club helps them find solutions through wellness tools. When children learn that they are not alone or unique because of how they feel, they are empowered to find solutions to help themselves and others.

This book is truly a gift. Providing wellness tools to children is essential – and it does so in such a creative way. Far too many children find themselves like Clementine – stuck. At such a young age, it’s difficult for them to understand that these thoughts, although distressing, are not weird or unique to them. Almost everyone can relate to these feelings. After a while, it seems like all of our brains zip and zing a bit too much. Awareness is key, and I was so impressed with how the authors shared the message through the story. The best part is that this book is just the beginning. The series will continue with more children’s books that engage and empower young readers through the use of simple wellness tools. No child should live with the stress of being stuck. Now, thanks to this book series, they don’t have to be stuck anymore.

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