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School and Making Friends: 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 New Kid to Dory and the Real True Friend there’s something here for everyone’s tastes. Do you have a favorite book about school? Let us know!

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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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Albie Newton
Written by Josh Funk & illustrated by Ester Garay
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

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?

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Maurice the Unbeastly
Written by Amy Dixon & illustrated by Karl James Mountford
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

No ordinary beast, Maurice is neat, polite, photogenic, and his roar is delightful to the ear, which leads his parents to enroll him at the Abominable Academy for Brutish Beasts, where he realizes he has a few things he can teach his fellow beasts.

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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.

Danbi Leads the School Parade book
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The Invisible Boy book
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Quinny & Hopper book
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Ollie and Augustus book
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  • Danbi Leads the School Parade - 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.

  • 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?

  • Ollie and Augustus - In a sweet story full of visual humor, first-day-of-school worries take on a new weight when Ollie’s best (and furriest) friend must stay at home. Ollie was small — like a pickling jar or a shoe box.
    Augustus was big — like a fridge or a table.
    Ollie and his dog, Augustus, do almost everything together: painting, riding bikes, digging (Ollie’s favorite), and collecting sticks (Augustus’s favorite). So as Ollie is getting ready to start school, he’s a little worried. Won’t Augustus be lonely during the day? Ollie has just the idea: a sign that reads Wanted: Friend for Augustus. But good friends, as it turns out, are hard to find. Luckily, Ollie and Augustus aren’t just any kind of friends — they’re best friends, and nothing will ever change that. Endearingly illustrated with scratch-scratchy appeal, this is a tale for animal lovers and new school-goers alike.

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The Night Before First Grade
Written by Natasha Wing & illustrated by Deborah Zemke
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-6

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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The Big Stink
Written by Fran Manushkin & illustrated by Tammy Lyon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

Something smells terrible in Miss Winkle’s classroom, and no one knows what it is! When the class bully picks on the new boy, saying he’s the smelly one, Pedro steps in and stands up for his new friend. But the class still needs to know where that stench is coming from! Like all Pedro books, the story is supported with a glossary and reader response questions, making this a fun and functional choice for libraries.

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

Wemberly worried about everything. Big things. Little things. And things in between. Then it was time for school to start.And Wemberly worried even more. If you ever worry (or know someone who does), this is the book for you.

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Dylan the Villain
Written & illustrated by K. G. Campbell
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

A surprising and laugh-out-loud showdown between two pint-sized super-villains, perfect for young fans of Despicable Me.

Dylan’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Snivels, have always told him that he is the very best and cleverest super-villain in the whole wide world. And Dylan’s confident that it’s true–until he starts school and meets Addison Van Malice. Sure, Dylan’s costume is scary. But Addison Van Malice’s is bone-chilling. And yes, Dylan’s laugh is crazy. But Addison Van Malice’s is bananas. And Dylan’s inventions are certainly super-villainous. But Addison Van Malice’s are demonic! When their teacher, Ms. Ick, announces a Diabolical Robot Building Contest, Dylan sees his opportunity to prove that he really is the most evil villain of all. But Addison’s not giving in without a fight. And so begins a competition of skill and wits that doesn’t go the way anyone expected…

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Me and My Fear
Written & illustrated by Francesca Sanna
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

“With its warm palette and gentle scenes of the worried child being comforted, this book could function as a sequel to Sanna’s astounding debut picture book, The Journey, which recounted a family’s dangerous flight from their home in a war zone. Sanna provides an empathetic exploration of the adjustment to a new land that all migrants experience.”—New York Times Book Review

Introducing a companion picture book to the award-winning picture book, The Journey, from rising star Francesca Sanna. When a young immigrant girl has to travel to a new country and start at a new school, she is accompanied by her Fear who tells her to be alone and afraid, growing bigger and bigger every day with questions like “how can you hope to make new friends if you don’t understand their language?” But this little girl is stronger than her Fear. A heart-warming and timely tale from the bestselling author and illustrator of The Journey, this book shows us the importance of sharing your Fear with others—after all, everyone carries a Fear with them, even if it’s small enough to fit into their pocket!

Chamelia and the New Kid in Class book
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Max and the Millions book
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Llama Llama and the Bully Goat book
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Kindergarten, Here I Come! book
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  • Chamelia and the New Kid in Class - Chamelia is a chameleon who loves to stand out in a crowd. She’s always the star of the show, especially at school. But when a new kid in class becomes the center of attention, Chamelia feels left out. Can she figure out how to beat her competition? Or will she learn to share the spotlight and make a new best friend? Join the fabulous Chamelia in this funny and charming story about friendship, school, and the true meaning of being a star!

  • Max and the Millions - In the vein of The Borrowers and The Indian in the Cupboard, this is an imaginative, irresistible, and incredible exploration into what happens when one boy discovers a kingdom of tiny people. The day before summer vacation, Max’s closest friend at boarding school disappears, leaving behind his amazing model collection and a handful of sand on his bedroom floor. Like Max, the eccentric janitor Mr. Darrow is a genius at building tiny models. Eight weeks later, Max finds that the sand has magically transformed into a whole desert kingdom—filled with millions of tiny people! Max wears hearing aids, and they allow him to hear the ant-sized people. There’s a boy named Luke who’s about to become king. But when Max appears, he plunges their world into chaos. Luckily, Luke has two strong allies: Ivy, a fearless girl, and Luke’s trusty steed—a flea. While Max and his new friend Sasha fight to protect the Floor from their evil headmaster, Luke must fight to save it from being destroyed by all-out war.

  • Llama Llama and the Bully Goat - Llama Llama likes to sing. Gilroy laughs at everything. Llama sings out just the same. Gilroy says a not-nice name. Teacher has some things to say: calling names is not OK. Llama Llama is learning lots of new things at school and making many friends. But when Gilroy Goat starts teasing him and some of their classmates, Llama Llama isn’t sure what to do. And then he remembers what his teacher told him—walk away and tell someone. It works! But then Llama Llama feels badly. Can he and Gilroy try to be friends again?

  • Kindergarten, Here I Come! - Get ready for school with these fun poems! This adorable picture book celebrates all the familiar milestones and moments shared by every single kindergartener. Whether it’s the first-day-of-school jitters or the hundredth-day-of-school party, every aspect of the kindergarten experience is introduced with a light and funny poem–not to mention charming illustrations.

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Twig
Written & illustrated by Aura Parker
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Heidi is a stick insect, tall and long like the twig of a tree. It’s her first day at a busy bug school, where she hopes to learn and make new friends. But finding friends isn’t easy when no one can find you!

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Totally Tardy Marty
Written by Erica S Perl & illustrated by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Marty tries his best to be on time, but a new invention, a giant squid, or something else slows him down every day to the delight of Never Late Kate, but one day Marty needs Kate’s help and their unlikely new friendship changes both of their nicknames.

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A Friend for Henry
Written by Jenn Bailey & illustrated by Mika Song
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

In Classroom Six, second left down the hall, Henry has been on the lookout for a friend. A friend who shares. A friend who listens. Maybe even a friend who likes things to stay the same and all in order, as Henry does. But on a day full of too close and too loud, when nothing seems to go right, will Henry ever find a friend—or will a friend find him? With insight and warmth, this heartfelt story from the perspective of a boy on the autism spectrum celebrates the everyday magic of friendship.

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Hooray! My Butt Left the Bench!
Written by Henry Winkler & illustrated by Lin Oliver
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-8

In this winning addition to the easy-to-read bestselling series, Hank has to hustle to prove he can be his basketball team’s secret weapon! For two years running, Hank’s school has beaten their arch rivals at the annual second grade basketball game. When his friends try out, Hank is determined to play, too. There’s just one problem: Hank is terrible at basketball. Luckily Dr. Dunk (AKA Hank’s dad) and Hank’s friends have his back. With a little help, Hank just might be what the team needs to win their first three-peat in PS 87 history! This bestselling series written by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver is perfect for the transitional reader. With a unique, easy-to-read font, endless humor, and characters every kid would want to be friends with, any story with Hank is a slam dunk! From the Trade Paperback edition.

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A New School for Charlie
Written & illustrated by Courtney Dicmas
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Charlie is excited about his first day at a new school, but when he gets there, he finds it full of cats! The difference is quite a shock for Charlie, who isn’t sure how to cope. How can he make new friends? He may find the answer he’s looking for in the library…

Roar and Sparkles Go to School book
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Dory and the Real True Friend book
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  • Roar and Sparkles Go to School - Roar is worried about his first day at school. He’s worried that he’ll have to do really hard things, like molt his scales and fly over a volcano. His big sister Sparkles reassures him, but Roar still worries. The first day of school arrives and Roar is pleasantly surprised! Instead of having to breathe fire, he gets to kick fireballs in gym class. He also gets to make popsicle-stick caves in art and to listen to stores about Johnny Apple-dragon and Cinder-dragonella during circle time. And when he’s asked to draw something he loves before the day is over, he figures out just how to thank Sparkles for her sisterly support. Roar and Sparkles is a sweet story about the anxieties children may feel about attending school for the first time, as well as a comforting tale about the bond between siblings. Sarah Beth Durst’s imaginative and playful script is enhanced by Ben Whitehouse’s modern and fresh illustrations to create a book that’s sure to squelch first-day-of-school worries for children.

  • Dory and the Real True Friend - The star of Dory Fantasmagory is heading to school. Her older siblings, Luke and Violet, warn her to leave her imaginary friend, Mary, at home—or better yet, leave her whole imagination at home! But on her very first day she meets a new friend, a girl whose imagination and style are just about as wild as her own. Now she just has to convince her siblings that she’s not making it all up!

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