Butterflies on the First Day of School by Annie Silvestro; illustrated by Dream Chen. 2019. Published by Sterling Children’s Books.
Brief summary: Rosie excitedly prepares for the first day of school. When the day arrives, she has a stomachache and tells her parents that maybe she should stay home. “”You must have butterflies in your belly,” said her mother, hugging her tight”. The bus pulls up and Rosie sits next to a girl named Violet. A butterfly comes out of Rosie’s mouth as they make friends. As Rosie goes through her day and keeps getting a random bellyache, butterflies comes out when she shares or plays.
At recess, Rosie kindly goes over to Isabella who is rubbing her stomach now and asks if the girl would like to play. A few butterflies come out of Isabella’s mouth. Upon coming home, Rosie shares her first day with her mother and a last butterfly flies from her mother this time.
Comments: End pages have large flowers in the front and large butterflies in the back. I always love when the ends are decorated with anything but those stark white pages.
I would share this with an anxious first day student in primary school. Great book for a school counselor to have on hand too.
The King of Kindergarten by Derrick Barnes and Vanessa Brantley-Newton. 2019. Hand drawn; colored using Adobe Photoshop and Corel Painter. Published by Nancy Paulsen Books.
Brief summary: It is the first day of kindergarten for a young boy. He brushes his teeth, dresses himself, and eats breakfast with his family. He is ready to be the king of kindergarten as his carriage arrives to take him to the fortress. He meets his teacher and finds his own seat while getting to know new friends. He learns and plays with imagination throughout the day and can’t wait to go back the next day.
Comments: Royalty jargon and analogies throughout the book. This is a positive story to build a child’s self-esteem a bit before going to the first day.
The illustration are with bright colors and with happy faces. There are many two-paged layouts.
It may be necessary to remind the young reader(s) that there are other kings and queens attending kindergarten class that day too.
Camp Tiger by Susan Choi; illustrated by John Rocco. 2019. Watercolor sketch, wash pencil, and added the color digitally. Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons.
Brief summary: A young boy and his family go on vacation right before school starts back up. His brother will be in fourth, and he will be in first. He does not want to be in first grade and hopes the annual camping trip at Mountain Pond never ends. All the usual animals are there. He finds a single red leaf on the forest’s ground foreshadowing that change is coming.
As they set up their tent, the entire family stops as an orange tiger walks out of the brush and talks to them. The family sets up a tent for the tiger where it goes to sleep. The boy goes in and lies down next to the tiger and talks to him. The tiger hangs out with the family the entire time. The tiger leaves without saying good-bye. The boy is sad and worries about it as the family drives home with a falling of orange leaves from the trees sprinkling the top of the car.
Comments: I think this would be a great read aloud for teachers, school librarians, and parents to their kindergartner going into first grade or whenever a child has to take the next life step. The illustrations are wonderful with earth tones and the brilliance of the tiger’s markings.
Twindergarten by Nikki Ehrlich; illustrated by Zoey Abbott. 2017. Colored pencils. Published by Harper.
Brief summary: Twins Dax and Zoe do everything together. The night before school has them wondering what it will be like to be in different kindergarten rooms. Dax is a bit worried but changes his mind when they arrive to the school building and sees his new teacher. Zoe is now not so sure until she notices another girl with her exact backpack and makes friends with her. Both twins do several activities with new friends and enjoy their mornings. The two siblings meet and play together at recess. Dax slips something into Zoe’s pocket before going back inside that lets her know he has not forgotten her.
Comments: This would be a super book to read on the first day of school if you are a teacher with one of the twins in your class and equally good if you are a parent with twins going in separate classrooms. Making friends is easier for some students. Students also could relate if they are in a different class from a close friend. They may be comforted to know that they could also make new friends.
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