Sunday, August 12, 2012

Books to Get Ready For Kindergarten

I don't think there is a book out there that can get a mom ready for that first day of Kindergarten, but you can find a few to help kids look forward to the experience!

This is a tough category for me since I tend to find most of the books about starting school very formulaic and predictable.  Getting through them is a challenge because they just aren't very good.  Many of the books I looked at felt so contrived that I just couldn't recommend them, but after a lot of digging I found some that are up to the challenge.

I think a book to get kids ready for school should absolutely acknowledge that it can be scary, but it should also focus primarily on the fun and humor of this momentous time.  Of course the timeless classic, The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn, is the one sappy book I find exceptionally well done and is the one exception to my rule, but rules are meant to be broken (just don't tell your new teacher that!)

Hope these books help you enjoy the first days of kindergarten with a laugh and a smile - yes, both of you!

Title:          First Day Jitters

Author:      Julie Anneberg

Target:       Kindergarten - Grade 3

What this book is about:
This book follows Sarah Hartwell on her first day at a new school.  Of course she is full of jitters, afraid she won’t make friends, and feels a little nervous and anxious.  Mr. Hartwell tries to reassure her all will be fine, and (I hate to give away the twist at the end, but...) it turns out that Sarah is the new teacher in the class.

Why I love this book:
Well this book just surprises the reader at the end, and I love books that turn kid’s expectations upside down.  The idea  that someone besides themselves, someone who shouldn’t be nervous, actually is, can be very reassuring for kids - and funny!

The illustrations are colorful and well done as they hide Sarah’s true identity until the end, making the big reveal all the more fun.

Who this book is for:
The nice thing about this book is that it is not simply targeted at kindergarten, but any child going into a new environment.

Final thoughts:
Teachers have feeling too!

To purchase this book, visit your local bookstore or click here to connect to Amazon: First Day Jitters  A portion of each purchase supports this blog.

Title:          I Am Too Absolutely Small for School

Author:      Lauren Child

Target:       Preschool - Grade 2

What this book is about:
This is a Charlie and Lola book, for those familiar with this brother/sister duo!  This time Lola is not so sure if school is the thing for her.  However, Charlie has a way of convincing Lola that perhaps she could benefit from the institution.  For example, when Lola tells Charlie that she doesn’t need to write because the telephone is a straightforward means of communication, Charlie reminds her that she can’t phone Santa Claus.  But when Charlie tells Lola that her imaginary friend will also be attending school, Lola realizes that she needs to be there for him and ends up having a lovely first day!

Why I love this book:
First off the interaction between Lola and Charlie is charming as he always has clever rebuttals for her quirky reasons why school may not be for her.  And what is truly lovely about their relationship, is that he always seems to have her best interests at heart.  Also, Lola’s reasons are so funny and matter of fact that they had all of us giggling.

The illustrations on the book are as quirky as Lola.  It is a mix of media with drawings, cutouts and patterns that enhance the story.  One of the graphics I love is when Lola says she is not big and she is pictured on graph paper which is labeled from huge to eeny weeny!

Who this book is for:
Great for kids who are apprehensive about starting school, but also for those who just enjoy thinking about all they will be learning by going.

Final thoughts:
Clever reading to get kids ready for school.

To purchase this book, visit your local bookstore or click here to connect to Amazon: I Am Too Absolutely Small for School (Charlie and Lola)  A portion of each purchase supports this blog.

Title:       My Kindergarten

Author:   Rosemary Wells

Target:    Kindergarten - Grade 1

What this book is about:
My Kindergarten follows a kindergarten class through their entire year, from September all the way until June.  Miss Cribbage takes her class through the alphabet, counting, reciting poetry, making friends and library time, to name a few.  This story is a celebration of all the things children will learn in their first year of school.

Why I love this book:
This book is a wonderful way for kids to relive all the exciting things they are doing in class and share them with their family.  The pictures are large and colorful and it touches on so many of the concepts that the kids will be exposed to.  It is also a fun way to introduce some of these new concepts to kids.  

I also loved that the book touched on the not just the academic, but also the emotional elements of kindergarten such as making friends, forgetting your numbers or just not feeling like participating.

Who this book is for:
This is a book that is probably not read in a day, but one you will enjoy and refer to throughout the kindergarten year.  It is quite long at 96 pages but you can look through the table of contents and pick out the sections you want to read.

Final thoughts:
You will be amazed at how much they learn in one year!

To purchase this book, visit your local bookstore or click here to connect to Amazon: My Kindergarten  A portion of each purchase supports this blog.

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