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School and Friendship: Books For Kids

This list of the best kids books about school is sure to include a new favorite for the voracious young reader in your life! From The Wheel on the School to The Night Before First Grade there’s something here for everyone’s tastes. Do you have a favorite book about school? Let us know!

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The Wheel on the School
Written by Meindert DeJong & illustrated by Maurice Sendak
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Why do the storks no longer come to the little Dutch fishing village of Shora to nest? It was Lina, one of the six schoolchildren who first asked the question, and she set the others to wondering. And sometimes when you begin to wonder, you begin to make things happen. So the children set out to bring the storks back to Shora. The force of their vision put the whole village to work until at last the dream began to come true.

Winner, 1955 Newbery Medal Notable Children’s Books of 1940–1970 (ALA) 1963 Lewis Carroll Shelf Award

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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Written by J. K. Rowling & illustrated by Mary GrandPré
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

A special new edition in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, with a stunning new cover illustration by Caldecott Medalist Brian Selznick. There is a door at the end of a silent corridor. And it’s haunting Harry Potter’s dreams. Why else would he be waking in the middle of the night, screaming in terror? It’s not just the upcoming O.W.L. exams; a new teacher with a personality like poisoned honey; a venomous, disgruntled house-elf; or even the growing threat of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. Now Harry Potter is faced with the unreliability of the very government of the magical world and the impotence of the authorities at Hogwarts. Despite this (or perhaps because of it), he finds depth and strength in his friends, beyond what even he knew; boundless loyalty; and unbearable sacrifice. This gorgeous new edition in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone features a newly designed cover illustrated by Caldecott Medalist Brian Selznick, as well as the beloved original interior decorations by Mary GrandPré.

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Notorious
Written by Gordon Korman
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

A funny, suspenseful mystery and unlikely friendship story from New York Times bestselling author Gordon Korman—perfect for fans of Swindle and Ungifted.

Keenan has lived all over the world but nowhere quite as strange as Centerlight Island, which is split between the United States and Canada. The only thing weirder than Centerlight itself is his neighbor Zarabeth, aka ZeeBee.

ZeeBee is obsessed with the island’s history as a Prohibition-era smuggling route. She’s also convinced that her beloved dog, Barney, was murdered—something Keenan finds pretty hard to believe.

Just about everyone on Centerlight is a suspect, because everyone hated Barney, a huge dog—part mastiff, part rottweiler—notorious for terrorizing the community. Accompanied by a mild-mannered new dog who is practically Barney’s opposite, ZeeBee enlists Keenan’s help to solve the mystery.

As Keenan and ZeeBee start to unravel the clues, they uncover a shocking conspiracy that dates back to Centerlight’s gangster past. The good news is that Keenan may have found the best friend he’s ever had. The bad news is that the stakes are sky-high.

And now someone is after them. . . .

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True (. . . Sort Of)
Written by Katherine Hannigan
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Can friendship save you? The day Ferris Boyd moves to town, Delly Pattison is sure a special surpresent (a present that is a surprise) is on its way. Instead, Delly ends up in even more trouble than usual. The Boyds’ arrival in River Bluffs means big changes for Brud Kinney, too. He can’t believe who he’s hanging around with. Ferris Boyd isn’t like anyone Delly or Brud have ever known. Ferris is a mystery and a wonder. Through friendship, though, Delly, Brud, and Ferris discover truths that will change their lives. And bring them the best surpresent of all. Includes an all-new afterword featuring a short story, photographs by the author, and more

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Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have a Horse
Written by Marcy Campbell & illustrated by Corinna Luyken
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

A classic in the making, this heartwarming story about empathy and imagination is one that families will treasure for years to come.

Adrian Simcox tells anyone who will listen that he has a horse—the best and most beautiful horse anywhere.

But Chloe does NOT believe him. Adrian Simcox lives in a tiny house. Where would he keep a horse? He has holes in his shoes. How would he pay for a horse?

The more Adrian talks about his horse, the angrier Chloe gets. But when she calls him out at school and even complains about him to her mom, Chloe doesn’t get the vindication she craves. She gets something far more important.

Written with tenderness and poignancy and gorgeously illustrated, this book will show readers that kindness is always rewarding, understanding is sweeter than judgment, and friendship is the best gift one can give.

Wonder book
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Albie Newton book
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The View from Saturday book
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The Marvelous Magic of Miss Mabel book
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  • Wonder - Born with a facial deformity that initially prevented his attendance at public school, Auggie Pullman enters the fifth grade at Beecher Prep and struggles with the dynamics of being both new and different, in a sparsely written tale about acceptance and self-esteem.

  • Albie Newton - Meet Albie Newton: child genius. But when this whiz of an inventor enters a new preschool, his perfect plan for making friends turns into a disaster: he steals the hamster’s wheel, snatches the wings off a toy airplane, and generally creates a giant mess. Now everyone’s angry! Will his new invention delight the other kids enough to make everything right—and win their friendship?

  • The View from Saturday - HOW HAD MRS. OLINSKI CHOSEN her sixth-grade Academic Bowl team? She had a number of answers. But were any of them true? How had she really chosen Noah and Nadia and Ethan and Julian? And why did they make such a good team? It was a surprise to a lot of people when Mrs. Olinski’s team won the sixth-grade Academic Bowl contest at Epiphany Middle School. It was an even bigger surprise when they beat the seventh grade and the eighth grade, too. And when they went on to even greater victories, everyone began to ask: How did it happen? It happened at least partly because Noah had been the best man (quite by accident) at the wedding of Ethan’s grandmother and Nadia’s grandfather. It happened because Nadia discovered that she could not let a lot of baby turtles die. It happened when Ethan could not let Julian face disaster alone. And it happened because Julian valued something important in himself and saw in the other three something he also valued. Mrs. Olinski, returning to teaching after having been injured in an automobile accident, found that her Academic Bowl team became her answer to finding confidence and success. What she did not know, at least at first, was that her team knew more than she did the answer to why they had been chosen. This is a tale about a team, a class, a school, a series of contests and, set in the midst of this, four jewel-like short stories — one for each of the team members — that ask questions and demonstrate surprising answers.

  • The Marvelous Magic of Miss Mabel - Penderwicks meets Edward Eager in this charming coming of age tale about a young witch found in a flowerpot who’s on a journey to discover her roots. The morning Nora Ratcliff finds a baby in the flowerpot on her front steps her life changes forever. She had always wanted a child, but after her husband passed away, Nora never thought she would have one, but her flowerpot child was a miracle and she decided to name her Mabel. As Mabel grew up, she showed a distinct talent for magic. When Mabel is accepted to the prestigious witch school, Ruthersfield Academy, she excels at the magic curriculum but is constantly in trouble for experimenting and inventing her own potions. One day she is asked to write a paper on her magical roots and discovers the truth about her birth after a mean classmate blurts out what everyone seems to know except Mabel. Mabel is shocked but the revelation does explain a lot. In rebellion, Mabel changes her name to Magnolia and tries to understand why she was left in the flowerpot and who her birth family might be. Will Mabel find the answers she’s looking for—or will she discover that families are people who love each other and look after each other and that’s most important of all.

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New Kid
Written & illustrated by Jerry Craft
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Perfect for fans of Raina Telgemeier and Gene Luen Yang, New Kid is a timely, honest graphic novel about starting over at a new school where diversity is low and the struggle to fit in is real, from award-winning author-illustrator Jerry Craft.

Seventh grader Jordan Banks loves nothing more than drawing cartoons about his life. But instead of sending him to the art school of his dreams, his parents enroll him in a prestigious private school known for its academics, where Jordan is one of the few kids of color in his entire grade.

As he makes the daily trip from his Washington Heights apartment to the upscale Riverdale Academy Day School, Jordan soon finds himself torn between two worlds—and not really fitting into either one. Can Jordan learn to navigate his new school culture while keeping his neighborhood friends and staying true to himself?

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The Truth About My Unbelievable School . . .
Written by Davide Cali & illustrated by Benjamin Chaud
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

Beware of . . . this school?! Henry is taking his new classmate on a whirlwind tour of their school. Mysterious inventions lurk, the cafeteria requires ninja skills, and some teachers may be monsters! Is this fantastical school to be believed? Or is there an even more outrageous surprise in store? Celebrated international author-illustrator team Davide Cali and Benjamin Chaud—the duo behind Junior Library Guild selections I Didn’t Do My Homework Because . . . and The Truth About My Unbelievable Summer . . . —are back with yet another rollicking tale about truth, lies, and . . . school!

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Growing Season
Written & illustrated by Maryann Cocca-Leffler
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

El and Jo are the smallest students in class—and best friends, too. But in springtime, something BIG happens: Jo starts growing like a weed . . . and El doesn’t. When their teacher asks every child to pick a plant to care for over the summer, poor El ends up with a tiny, flowerless aster. But slowly, the aster blooms—and so does El! A sweet picture book about the joys and challenges of growing up.

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Marsha Is Magnetic
Written by Beth Ferry & illustrated by Lorena Alvarez
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

It turns out that the best way to draw others to you is by being yourself in this sweet, STEAM-minded picture book from New York Times bestselling author Beth Ferry.

Marsha is a scientist who has never met a problem she couldn’t solve. But when it comes to making friends to invite to her birthday party, she is stumped. Luckily, Marsha knows the solution to being stumped: the scientific method. With equal parts creativity, determination, and humor, Marsha sets out to attract as many friends as she can—what could possibly go wrong? In this hilarious celebration of friendship and ingenuity, Beth Ferry and Lorena Alvarez show readers that the best way to attract friends is to simply be yourself.

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Danbi Leads the School Parade
Written & illustrated by Anna Kim
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Meet Danbi, the new girl at school!

Danbi is thrilled to start her new school in America. But a bit nervous too, for when she walks into the classroom, everything goes quiet. Everyone stares. Danbi wants to join in the dances and the games, but she doesn’t know the rules and just can’t get anything right. Luckily, she isn’t one to give up. With a spark of imagination, she makes up a new game and leads her classmates on a parade to remember! Danbi Leads the School Parade introduces readers to an irresistible new character. In this first story, she learns to navigate her two cultures and realizes that when you open your world to others, their world opens up to you.

Grace Goes to Washington book
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Super Manny Stands Up! book
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The Invisible Boy book
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Quinny & Hopper book
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  • Grace Goes to Washington - “Who’s in charge here?” When Grace learns about the three branches of the United States government, she and the rest of the student council put the lesson into practice as they debate how to spend the money from a school fund-raiser. Should they buy new sports equipment? Books for the library? Instruments for the music room? The arguments continue as they travel to Washington, DC, for a field trip. Exploring government buildings and national monuments, Grace feels closer than ever to her dream of becoming president someday. But she and her classmates have a lot to learn about what it means to serve the needs of the people, especially when the people want such different things! In this follow-up to New York Times best seller Grace for President, Kelly DiPucchio not only introduces how our government makes decisions, but also shares what it takes to be a true public servant.

  • Super Manny Stands Up! - New York Times bestselling author Kelly DiPucchio and illustrator Stephanie Graegin bring a lionhearted new hero to life in this tender, sparkling story about standing up for what’s right—and finding your inner superpowers. Every day after school, Manny saves the world from formidable foes. I AM FEARLESS! I AM STRONG! I AM BRAVE! I AM POWERFUL! I AM INVINCIBLE! Zombie bears, evil cloud monsters, and alien robots with laser beam eyes are no match for Super Manny. But when Manny encounters a real-life nemesis in the school cafeteria, will he be able to summon his superhero strength to save the day?

  • The Invisible Boy - A simple act of kindness can transform an invisible boy into a friend… Meet Brian, the invisible boy. Nobody ever seems to notice him or think to include him in their group, game, or birthday party . . . until, that is, a new kid comes to class. When Justin, the new boy, arrives, Brian is the first to make him feel welcome. And when Brian and Justin team up to work on a class project together, Brian finds a way to shine. From esteemed author and speaker Trudy Ludwig and acclaimed illustrator Patrice Barton, this gentle story shows how small acts of kindness can help children feel included and allow them to flourish. Any parent, teacher, or counselor looking for material that sensitively addresses the needs of quieter children will find The Invisible Boy a valuable and important resource.

  • Quinny & Hopper - Quinny has a lot to say. Hopper gets to the point. Quinny has one speed: very, very, extra-very fast. Hopper proceeds with caution. Quinny has big ideas. Hopper has smart solutions. Quinny and Hopper couldn’t be more different. They are an unstoppable team. But when summer ends, things suddenly aren’t the same. Can Quinny and Hopper stick together in the face of stylish bullies, a killer chicken, and the brand-new Third Grade Rules-especially the one that says they aren’t allowed to be friends anymore?

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Absolutely Almost
Written by Lisa Graff
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Ten-year-old Albie has never been the smartest, tallest, most athletic, greatest artist, or most musical in his class, as his parents keep reminding him, but new nanny Calista helps him uncover his strengths and take pride in himself. Simultaneous eBook.

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Chrysanthemum
Written & illustrated by Kevin Henkes
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

She was a perfect baby, and she had a perfect name. Chrysanthemum. When she was old enough to appreciate it, Chrysanthemum loved her name. And then she started school. “I’m named after my grandmother,” said Victoria. “You’re named after a flower.” Chrysanthemum wilted. Life at school didn’t improve. In fact, it got worse. Then the students were introduced to their music teacher, Mrs. Twinkle. Mrs. Delphinium Twinkle. And suddenly, Chrysanthemum blossomed….

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Pippa's Island 2: Cub Reporters
Written & illustrated by Belinda Murrell
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-11

Pippa and her friends Meg, Cici and Charlie are excited to join the school newspaper team - but will their friendship survive deciding what to write about when they have such different interests? A fashion photo shoot could be fun, if it weren’t for bad weather, a naughty puppy and other disasters! Just when things couldn’t get any worse, the four cub reporters get a news scoop that could bring the whole town together at Pepper’s mum’s beach shack cafU. Cupcakes for everyone!

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Recess Rebels (Miranda and Maude #3)
Written by Emma Wunsch & illustrated by Jessika von Innerebner
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

A princess and a revolutionary form an unexpected friendship in this charming, illustrated chapter book series

The girls and boys of 3B aren’t getting along. It starts with a game of tag and ends with a tug of war. In between, there are sneak attacks, a girls-only newspaper, a doughnut filled with cheese, and one stolen Frizzle chicken. Maude gets lots of opportunities to protest, but in the end, it’s Miranda who learns to stand up for what she believes in.

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Grape!
Written by Gabriel Arquilevich
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

Grape is in trouble again! He punched Miss Roof in the arm! Now he’s suspended for two weeks, and Principal Clarkson has threatened to send him to Riverwash, a school for problem kids. But he has one last chance. Grape must spend an hour a day writing about his history of trouble, and there’s a lot of trouble to choose from… Grape’s best friend Lou is by his side, and even though Grape drives his parents crazy, they’re pulling for him all the way. But will Grape make sense of it all? Will it be enough to keep him out of Riverwash?

The Major Eights 3: The Goo Disaster! book
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The Night Before First Grade book
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  • The Major Eights 3: The Goo Disaster! - In book three of the Major Eights series, Maggie has to ace her science fair project or she won’t be able to perform with the band at the annual arts banquet! Maggie is thrilled to perform with the Major Eights at the school’s annual arts fund-raising banquet. But when Maggie’s science grade starts slipping (her one difficult subject), her mom refuses to let her play at the banquet unless she can get an A on her science fair project. Can Maggie and the girls find a way to make sure Maggie aces the project?

  • The Night Before First Grade - It’s the night before the Big Day—first grade. Penny is excited to start the year with her best friend right beside her in the same classroom. This humorous take on Clement C. Moore’s classic tale has a perfect twist ending that will surprise readers—as well as the “heroine” of the story—and help all about-to-be first-graders through their own back-to-school jitters.

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