Chalkboard reads “Back to School”  and a desk with books.

Chalkboard reads “Back to School” and a desk ()

To the joy of parents and the chagrin of students across the globe, back-to-school season begins soon. What better way to celebrate back to school than with a new book? Whether it is someone’s very first day of school or someone going back to school after a break, we’ve compiled a list of books to get everyone excited about school.

First Day of School and Back to Elementary School

Llama Llama Back to School” by Anna Dewdney (2022) (Children) (Fiction)

Llama has had so much fun over the summer: He camped in the backyard, went on family picnics and ate ice cream with his friends. He is NOT ready to go back to school. With some help from his mother and his friends, can he learn that going back to school can be fun too?

Lessons Learned: The Kindergarten Survival Guide for Parents” by Jeannie Podest (2014) (Non-Fiction)

Sometimes the first day of school is harder on the parent than the child. Are they prepared for “big” school? Will they make friends? Am I ready as a parent to let them go? Podest, a veteran Kindergarten teacher and mother of four kids shares insight and wisdom for parents as they send their kids off to school for the first time.

Middle School

Awkward: Berrybrook Middle School #1”  by Svetlana Chmakova (2015) (Young Adult Fiction) (Graphic Novel)

Middle Schoolers (and those going to middle school soon) will love this graphic novel featuring “Cardinal Rules” such as “Don’t get noticed by the mean kids” and “Seek out groups with similar interests and join them.” However, the main character, Peppi, learns you sometimes must break those rules.

The Stars Beneath Our Feet” by David Barclay Moore (2017) (Young Adult Realistic Fiction)

12-year-old Lolly Rachpaul is having a hard time celebrating Christmas and navigating life after the recent gang-related passing of his older brother. His mother’s girlfriend presents Lolly with a gift: two large bags of loose Legos. Lolly loves Legos and loves following the directions and skillfully building the kits. However, he is unsure how to proceed forward without directions (from his brother or Lego instructions).

High School

Does My Head Look Big In This?” by Randa Abdel-Fattah  (2007) (Young Adult Fiction)

School can be hard enough without doing anything extra to stand out. When 16-year-old Amal, decides to celebrate her devout Muslim faith and don her hijab full-time in a non-Muslim-majority area, she encounters plenty of curiosity, interest and, unfortunately, some prejudice.

Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie” by David Lubar (2005) (Young Adult Fiction)

Scott is a high school freshman who has a new sibling on the way. What better way to help bring your sibling into the world than to give them a guide to high school? Scott documents diary entries to his unborn sibling on topics from bullies to classes, crushes and more.


The Naked Roommate: And 107 Other Issues You Might Run Into in College” by Harlan Cohen (2005) (Non-Fiction Self-Help)

This book is filled with tons of little tidbits and advice that Freshman Orientation may not cover such as “Roommates do not have to be friends” (that’s a bonus), “Talk to upperclassmen and discover the BEST jobs on campus” and “Do laundry at slow times, not on the weekends.”

I Was Here” by Gayle Forman (2015) (Young Adult) (Mystery) (Fiction) Warning: *mentions suicide*

When her best friend, Meg, commits suicide, Cody begins to question everything about life. She thought Meg told her everything, so how could she have missed whatever led to this? Meg travels to Cody’s college town to help collect her belongings and learns much more about Meg, and herself, throughout the experience.

Going Back to School for Adults

Never Too Late: The Adult Student’s Guide to College”  by Becky Klein-Collins and Rebecca Klein-Collins (2018) (Non-Fiction) (Education)

More and more adults are making the decision to go back to school due to promotions, career changes, or simply fulfilling life-long goals. This comprehensive guide exists to help non-traditional students with admissions, multi-tasking work and kids, picking a major, financial aid and more.

The School of Essential Ingredients” by Erica Bauermeister (2005) (Fiction)

Every Monday, eight students, including a widower, a struggling young mother, and a new Italian immigrant in America, gather at Lillian’s Restaurant for cooking lessons. These adults come for cooking lessons, but the students and teacher realize quickly that these lessons teach so much more.

author picture
Tamala Malerk is a writer and editor with Stars and Stripes Europe. She has been with SSE since April 2022 writing articles all about travel, lifestyle, community news, military life and more. In May 2022, she earned her Ph.D. in History and promises it is much more relevant to this job than one might think.

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