Check It Out: Young students can find themselves in books

As summer winds down, kids are getting ready to go back to school. Whether children are just beginning kindergarten or going into a new grade, books can help address some of their anxieties or highlight the fun and exciting aspects of starting school. Make the Newport Beach Public Library part of the fall season and enjoy these cute picture books with a back to school theme.

"Wemberly Worried" by Kevin Henkes: Wemberly, a young mouse, worries about everything. The idea of starting nursery school brings on a whole new list of things to worry about. This is a very cute and sweet book for little worriers, reminding them that they may find new friends where they don't expect to.

"The Kindergarten Cat" by J. Patrick Lewis, illustrated by Ailie Busby: A kindergarten class adopts a stray cat, who finds a happy home in the classroom. Will Tinker Toy the cat learn along with the children? This friendly orange cat will delight readers as he delights his kindergarten class.

"Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten?" by Audrey Vernick, illustrated by Daniel Jennewein: Kindergarten presents many challenges for a young buffalo, but all kids (and buffalos) who follow the rules and try their best will be fine. Prepare for silliness as the oversized buffalo participates in activities with his human classmates.

"Kindergarten Countdown" by Anna Jane Hays, illustrated by Linda Davick: The days of the week before the start of kindergarten are counted down in rhymes. There's no anxiety here! Lucy is excited about kindergarten, ready to start, and already knows what she'll wear.

"Kindergarten Rocks!" by Katie Davis: Dexter insists that he is not at all nervous about beginning kindergarten. However, Rufus, his stuffed toy dog, is very nervous and has all kinds of concerns. But Dexter's big sister has plenty of advice and reassures him, "Don't worry, kindergarten rocks!"

"I Am Too Absolutely Small for School" by Lauren Child: Charlie and Lola tackle first-day-of-school jitters in this humorous story. Lola is worried about starting school and thinks up lots of reasons not to go. But her older brother Charlie knows about school, and encourages her.

"Eliza's Kindergarten Surprise" by Alice B. McGinty, illustrated by Nancy Speir: Eliza misses her mother very much on the first day of kindergarten, so she fills her pocket with small found objects such as buttons and yarn that remind her of her mother. It's a touching story for parents and kids who will be missing each other when school starts.

"First Grade, Here I Come" by Nancy Carlson: As Henry tells his mother what he did and learned in his first day of first-grade, he begins to realize that it won't be so bad. Maybe kindergarten wasn't better than first-grade after all.

"Off to First Grade" by Louise Borden, illustrated by Joan Rankin: It's the first day of school! The students of a first-grade class, their teacher, principal, and bus driver each express hope, excitement, or anxiety as the first day of school begins.

"Jake Starts School" by Michael Wright: No one can pry a frightened Jake away from his parents on the first day of school … literally. So Jake and his exasperated parents watch as his classmates have fun until, at the end of the day, his teacher finally gets him to let go (with the magic of books).

Moving on to new things can be scary but stories that address the fears or bring out the funny side can help. Have a great school year!

CHECK IT OUT is written by the staff of the Newport Beach Public Library. All titles may be reserved from home or office computers by accessing the catalog at For more information on the Central Library or any of the branches, please contact the Newport Beach Public Library at (949) 717-3800, option 2.

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