Back to School Jitters Reading List

by Kirsti Granholm

Summer is almost over and that means the kids are headed back to school. There is both a lot of excitement and nerves for the beginning of a new school year, which is why we put together a back to school reading list to help prepare your children for another year.


Catching the Light written by Susan Sinnott (Vagrant Press, 2018) Ages 15 and up.

Catching the Lightis an emotional novel about two kids on totally different paths. Cathy is a gifted artist, who awaits university to finally feel accepted by her peers. She has trouble reading and feels self-conscious about her abilities. Whereas, Hutch is a smart and lively guy who is popular with the other kids. Hutch’s life seems picture perfect, until one day, everything he thinks he knows changes. The unfortunate shift in Hutch’s life sparks a fortunate friendship between the two, bringing readers on a moving journey of acceptance and understanding.


I Am A Feminist: Claiming the F-Word in Turbulent Times written by Monique Polak (Orca Book Publishers, 2019) Ages 12 and up.

A child’s interest really begins to flourish once they reach their teen years. Spark your teens’ curiosity in intersectionality and feminism with Monique Polak’s informational book. Learn about the waves of feminism from the earliest movements to the digital age of feminism. There are so many interesting facts in this book that will motivate the next generation of kids to understand the past and push for an equal future for all.


Shirt Tales (Big Kid Books) written by Brigitte Waisberg, illustrated by Ariana Koultourides (Annick Press, 2018) Ages 2 and up.

Shirt Talesis a colourful, fun-filled board book from the Big Kid Booksseries. Follow a variety of animals from lions, to octopuses and alligators as they attempt the tasks young children are also learning to do. Whether it is using the potty, or getting used to a new, big bed, Waisberg relates to young children everywhere. Motivate your children to become a “big kid” and take on more tasks and responsibilities through the silly stories of the animals in the book. Shirt Taleswill definitely have your young children excited to get back to school with a new found sense of confidence.


The Day Dad Joined My Soccer Team written by Maureen Fergus, illustrated by Mike Lowery (Kids Can Press, 2018) Ages 4 and up

Does your child love sports? Are they looking forward to getting back to school to play basketball and soccer with their friends at recess? The Day Dad Joined My Soccer Teamwill have you and your kids laughing as a stubborn dad joins his son’s soccer game. The dad is definitely not a team player and hogs the ball from the children. His son then steps in to give him a lesson on the importance of playing as a team and being a good team player.  Get ready for the school year with this hilarious read by Maureen Fergus and the talented Mike Lowery.


The Word Collector written and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds (Orchard Books/Scholastic, 2018) Ages 5 and up

Prepare your children for the school year with this literary-focused picture book by acclaimed storyteller Peter H. Reynolds. The kids in Jerome’s class like to collect trading cards and video games, but that does not interest Jerome. He likes to collect words! Big words, short words, simple words, or tough ones, Jerome’s goal is to collect as many words as possible. This book is a great back-to-school read because it is effective in teaching kids the importance of spelling, writing and reading in a fun way.


What Happens Next written by Susan Hughes, illustrated by Carey Sookocheff (Owlkids Books, 2018) Ages 4 and up

Bullying is definitely not the ideal conversation you want to be having with your kids, but nevertheless it is still very important. What Happens Nextis an insightful book into the experience of a child who is being bullied at school. This book looks at the sadness they feel about being bullied and the steps they can take to tell their mother about Bully B. This conflict and resolution style book will make having the tough bullying conversation a little bit easier through the experience of another child.


What Will I Write? (My World) written by Bobbie Kalman (Crabtree Publishing, 2018) Ages 5 and up

Inspire your children to work on their writing skills with What Will I Write? Explore the world of a writer, from the important parts of a novel, to the different styles of writing, to literary devices. Show your kids how fun reading and writing can be, whether they like poetry or fictional texts, this book will definitely have your kids inspired to try writing a book for themselves. It is the perfect read to get your kids excited to do well this school year.