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School and Teachers: 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 Spelling Bee Before Recess to The Teacher's Pet there's something here for everyone's tastes. Do you have a favorite book about school? Let us know!

The Spelling Bee Before Recess book
#1
The Spelling Bee Before Recess
Written by Deborah Lee Rose and illustrated by Carey F. Armstrong-Ellis
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

The students were squirming but none made a sound, as the spelling bee entered its championship round. It’s right before recess, and the annual school spelling bee is down to just three spellers: Cornelius the Genius, Smart Ruby, and The Slugger, who never strikes out. Round after round, the words whizz at them, but with one minute left until recess, there’s still no winner. Who will triumph? It all comes down to one final word, and a curveball that no one sees coming! Deborah Lee Rose’s clever rhyming text packs a laugh-out-loud wallop with words that young readers will enjoy spelling and reading aloud again and again. Fun and whimsical illustrations by Carey F. Armstrong-Ellis provide the perfect balance of humor and suspense as readers find out whether The Slugger will hit a grand slam or finally strike out. The book includes three spelling lists that can be used for spelling bees at home, in school, at the library, or for community events. An author’s note describes why and how words were chosen.

Sideways Stories from Wayside School book
#2
Sideways Stories from Wayside School
Written by Louis Sachar and illustrated by Adam McCauley
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Lois Sachar, best-selling author of the Wayside School series, knows how to make kids laugh. And there are laughs galore in this popular book, now available again in hardcover. Meet Mrs. Gorf, the teacher who turns the students in Wayside School into apples.

Islandborn book
#3
Islandborn
Written by Junot Diaz and illustrated by Leo Espinosa
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Every kid in Lola's school was from somewhere else. Hers was a school of faraway places. So when Lola's teacher asks the students to draw a picture of where their families immigrated from, all the kids are excited. Except Lola. She can't remember The Island—she left when she was just a baby. But with the help of her family and friends, and their memories—joyous, fantastical, heartbreaking, and frightening—Lola's imagination takes her on an extraordinary journey back to The Island. As she draws closer to the heart of her family's story, Lola comes to understand the truth of her abuela's words: “Just because you don't remember a place doesn't mean it's not in you.” Gloriously illustrated and lyrically written, Islandborn is a celebration of creativity, diversity, and our imagination's boundless ability to connect us—to our families, to our past and to ourselves

Fish in a Tree book
#4
Fish in a Tree
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-16

“Fans of R.J. Palacio’s Wonder will appreciate this feel-good story of friendship and unconventional smarts.” —Kirkus Reviews Ally has been smart enough to fool a lot of smart people. Every time she lands in a new school, she is able to hide her inability to read by creating clever yet disruptive distractions. She is afraid to ask for help; after all, how can you cure dumb? However, her newest teacher Mr. Daniels sees the bright, creative kid underneath the trouble maker. With his help, Ally learns not to be so hard on herself and that dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of. As her confidence grows, Ally feels free to be herself and the world starts opening up with possibilities. She discovers that there’s a lot more to her—and to everyone—than a label, and that great minds don’t always think alike. The author of the beloved One for the Murphys gives readers an emotionally-charged, uplifting novel that will speak to anyone who’s ever thought there was something wrong with them because they didn’t fit in. This paperback edition includes The Sketchbook of Impossible Things and discussion questions. A New York Times Bestseller! * “Unforgettable and uplifting.”—School Library Connection, starred review * “Offering hope to those who struggle academically and demonstrating that a disability does not equal stupidity, this is as unique as its heroine.”—Booklist, starred review * “Mullaly Hunt again paints a nuanced portrayal of a sensitive, smart girl struggling with circumstances beyond her control.” —School Library Journal, starred review

The Unteachables book
#5
The Unteachables
Written and illustrated by Gordon Korman
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

A hilarious new middle grade novel from beloved and bestselling author Gordan Korman about what happens when the worst class of kids in school is paired with the worst teacher—perfect for fans of Ms. Bixby’s Last Day. The Unteachables are a notorious class of misfits, delinquents, and academic train wrecks. Like Aldo, with anger management issues; Parker, who can’t read; Kiana, who doesn’t even belong in the class—or any class; and Elaine (rhymes with pain). The Unteachables have been removed from the student body and isolated in room 117. Their teacher is Mr. Zachary Kermit, the most burned-out teacher in all of Greenwich. He was once a rising star, but his career was shattered by a cheating scandal that still haunts him. After years of phoning it in, he is finally one year away from early retirement. But the superintendent has his own plans to torpedo that idea—and it involves assigning Mr. Kermit to the Unteachables. The Unteachables never thought they’d find a teacher who had a worse attitude than they did. And Mr. Kermit never thought he would actually care about teaching again. Over the course of a school year, though, room 117 will experience mayhem, destruction—and maybe even a shot at redemption.

A Whole New Ballgame book
#6
A Whole New Ballgame
Written by Phil Bildner and illustrated by Tim Probert
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

"From the first morning with their odd new teacher, fifth grade is full of shocking surprises for best friends Rip and Red"--

Yasmin the Teacher book
#7
Yasmin the Teacher
Written by Saadia Faruqi and illustrated by Hatem Aly
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

When Ms. Alex is called away from the classroom, she leaves Yasmin in charge, but the other children just ignore her and start acting silly and noisy--until Yasmin thinks up a way to motivate them to finish the math assignment, quietly.

Rock Star book
#8
Rock Star
Written by Kelly Starling Lyons and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-8

When Jada Jones’s best friend moves away, school feels like the last place she wants to be. She’d much rather wander outside looking for cool rocks to add to her collection, since finding rocks is much easier than finding friends. So when Jada’s teacher announces a class project on rocks and minerals, Jada finally feels like she’s in her element. The only problem: one of her teammates doesn’t seem to like any of Jada’s ideas. She doesn’t seem to like Jada all that much, either. Can Jada figure out a way to make a winning science project and a new friend?

Open the Preschool Door book
#9
Open the Preschool Door
Written and illustrated by Christopher Santoro
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

A lift-the-flap board book all about preschool from the creator of OPEN THE BARN DOOR and OPEN THE GARAGE DOOR! Little preschoolers will love lifting 11 fun flaps to find a smiling teacher, a playground, a class pet, and much, much more in this bright and engaging board book. With a simple story and colorful and inviting illustrations, this is the perfect way to introduce the youngest of students to a preschool classroom.

Miles McHale, Tattletale book
#10
Miles McHale, Tattletale
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

Miles McHale is a tattletale. And everybody knows it. But he's not the only one who needs help, so his teacher decides: it's time to fight the Tattle Battle! But will Miles figure out the right time to tell a grown-up about another person's behavior, or is he doomed to be a tattletale forever?

Nimoshom and His Bus book
#11
Nimoshom and His Bus
Written by Penny M Thomas and illustrated by Karen Hibbard
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Nimoshom and His Bus introduces basic Cree words. Children riding the school bus learn from their driver, Nimoshom (“my grandfather”), who speaks to them in their own language—Cree. Nimoshom and His Bus is a welcoming, simple story with inviting illustrations

The Teacher's Pet book
#12
The Teacher's Pet
Written by Anica Mrose Rissi and illustrated by Zachariah OHora
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8

On the day the tadpoles hatch, the whole class is amazed—they've never seen their teacher so excited. Mr. Stricter has always wanted a pet, so he tells the students they can keep just one. The class chooses Bruno, the smallest of the bunch. But Bruno doesn't stay small for long. Soon he's grown into a giant, classroom-wrecking creature: He eats desks, farts for show-and-tell, and sneezes slime all over everything! Everyone can see that Bruno is trouble. Everyone except Mr. Stricter. With their teacher blinded by love for the pet, the students must step up and take matters into their own heroic hands.

Have a suggestion for a book to add to this list? Send an email to [email protected]!