Back-to-school books with good messages |

Back-to-school books with good messages

by Kendal Rautzhan

Whether a child is beginning kindergarten or returning to school for a higher grade, sometimes the first couple of days can be a time of adjustment, even nervousness. The best way to help ease a child’s concerns is to listen to what they are telling you, then offer reassurance. Telling a child there is nothing to worry about is an empty statement and dismisses the child’s feelings and ultimately, dismisses the child.

Another good way to help young children view school as a positive and engaging experience is to read books together that address some of these issues, such as those reviewed today.

Help children begin this academic year with an upbeat, positive attitude by doing what you can – talk with your child, read books together, and above all, listen to what they are telling you every day.

Books to Borrow

The following book is available at many public libraries.

“Hunter’s Best Friend at School” by Laura Malone Elliot, illustrated by Lynn Munsinger, HarperCollins, 32 pages

Read aloud: age 4 and older.

Read yourself: age 7 and older.

Two young raccoons, Hunter and Stripe, and best friends at school. They do everything together. They like to wear stripe sweaters, their favorite story is “Goldilocks and the Three Raccoons,” they eat the same lunch, and they always play on the swing set.

One day, Stripe comes to school in a mischief-making mood, and he eggs Hunter on to follow, which Hunter does at first. Things start to get out of hand, though, and Hunter isn’t so sure he is doing the right thing. Hunter doesn’t know what to do except to talk with his mom who listens carefully, gives him a big hug, then offers some very good advice.

A delightful story about friendship, peer pressure, and choosing right over wrong, this book is first rate.

Librarian’s Choice

Library: Carson City Library, 900 North Roop St.

Library Director: Sally Edwards

Youth Services Librarian: Cory King

Choices this week: “Red Midnight” by Ben Mikaelsen; “Rosa Parks: My Story” by Rosa Parks with Jim Haskins; “Close to Shore: The Terrifying Shark Attacks of 1916” by Michael Capuzzo

Books to Buy

The following books are available at favorite bookstores.

“On the Way to Kindergarten” by Virginia Kroll, illustrated by Elisabeth Schlossberg, Putnam, 2006, 32 pages, $15.99 hardcover

Read aloud: age 4 and older.

Read yourself: age 7 and older.

Upbeat and often humorous, this delightful book chronicles the different stages of a young bear’s life from birth to age 5, when the bear is now old enough, wise enough, and accomplished enough in the many things the bear knows to make the next big step to kindergarten.

“You’re cool, smart, and funny; you know things galore…’Cause now you are five and a baby no more!”

Through rhyming text and delightful illustrations, “On the Way to Kindergarten” is full of positive energy and optimism, providing a great message to children heading off to kindergarten.

“What Is Science?” by Rebecca Kai Dotlich, illustrated by Sachiko Yoshikawa, Henry Holt, 2006, 32 pages, $16.95 hardcover

Read aloud: age 4Ð5 and older.

Read yourself: age 7Ð8.

“What is science? So many things. The study of stars and Saturn’s rings.” From rocks to dinosaur fossils, hurricanes, earthquakes, trains and planes and much more, this clever book demonstrates that science is exciting, interesting, and is all around us. It also makes clear that science is about curiosity, asking questions, and the fun of trying to find answers.

Written as a poem and perfectly supported by colorful, happy illustrations, this choice will have readers thinking about science in a positive way.

• Nationally syndicated, Kendal Rautzhan writes and lectures on children’s literature. She can be reached via e-mail: