By Hannah P. Simmons, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library
August is here! And it’s almost time to head back to school. Perhaps this is your first year as a parent with “school age” children. Whether you are prepping to get the kids back to kindergarten or high School, each year comes with excitement AND uncertainties. School is not just where we learn our basic subjects (you know; English, math and science) it’s also where we learn a lot about who we are as an individual, and how we fit into our society. There is a lot to deal with from friendships, to grades, to even things like bullying. Here are some back-to-school books that can help spark important conversations, but also provide engaging reads for your students.
Stand Tall, Molly Lour Melon by Patty Lovell
In this fun and whimsically illustrated picture book, Molly Lou Melon begins her adventures at school … and encounters her first bully. But with a little encouragement from her Grandmother, she remembers to be proud of who she is, and inspire others around her to STAND TALL!
Drama at Mouseford by Thea Stilton
This book in the “Thea Stilton” series tells the story of the Mouseford Academy production of “Mouseo and Juliet” … the problem is, ALL of the Thea sisters want the part of Juliet. This story deals with the drama that comes with stage and school, and also dealing with feelings of hope, jealousy, disappointment, and the ability to bounce back!
MIDDLE SCHOOL READS
Just Jaime by Terri Libenson
This graphic novel asks the question “What do we do when our friendships grow apart?” Jaime and Maya have always been close, but lately, Maya has been distant, and the new girl doesn’t seem to want Jaime in their group of friends. This book gives a hopeful perspective of how we deal with the “friendship drama” and what it means to forgive.
The Boy at the Back of the Class by Onjali Q Rauf
There’s a new kid in the class, and no matter what Alexa and her friends do, he doesn’t seem to respond to their attempts at friendship. But things change when they learn something important about him: Ahmed is a refugee. And after hearing the story of his journey, they begin to finally understand and form true bonds of friendship with him that lead them to take daring action to provide safe places for other children and families like Ahmed.
HIGH SCHOOL READS
After the Shot Drops by Randy Ribay
Two friends, Bunny and Nasir, suddenly find themselves attending different schools. Bunny has been given a full scholarship to a private school, where he hopes to get noticed for his athletics in basketball. Nasir stays behind at their old school, and watches his friend seem to “move on” without him. Told from different perspectives, this is a story about finding your place, and your way in the world without losing sight of who you are and where you come from.
Every Last Word by Tamara Stone
This book tells the story of 16-year-old Samantha finding her voice to explore and express mental illness when she decides to join the Poetry Club at school. It takes a close look at the stigmas surrounding mental health, but also the courage it takes to face your fears and the release that can be found through friendship and art.