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Best Back-to-School Books 2019 Part One

BEST BACK-TO-SCHOOL BOOKS 2019

∼ A ROUNDUP ∼

PART ONE

 

Back-to-school free clipart of backpack

It’s that time of year again when we review the best back-to-school books. For 2019 there are many so we’re going to present them over several days.

 

flight school book cvrFLIGHT SCHOOL
Written and illustrated by Lita Judge
(Little Simon; $7.99, Ages 1-5)

Award-winning author illustrator Lita Judge’s sweet story is now available in board book format and is as charming as ever, and Penguin is just as precious.

There are all kinds of schools but one thing they have in common is that people, or in this case, birds, attend so they can learn things. Enter Penguin. He’s come to Flight School to learn to fly. The teacher tries to point out that Penguin, who claims to have “the soul of an eagle” is a penguin and therefore cannot take to the skies like his classmates. Penguin remains unconvinced.

Attempt after funny attempt, the persevering Penguin fails at flying while his classmates “took to the wind.” He is heartbroken and considers giving up. Fortunately for him, Flamingo figures out a way to get the bird soaring … even if it’s not a permanent solution and that suits Penguin just fine. With its adorable, expression-filled art and upbeat message, Flight School is a reminder of how rewarding it can be to follow your dreams and how friends can help.

Bunny's Book Club Goes to School coverBUNNY’S BOOK CLUB GOES TO SCHOOL
Written by Annie Silvestro
Illustrated by Tatjana Mai-Wyss
(Doubleday BYR; $17.99, Ages 3-7)

Bunny and his forest friends are back for more good times in Bunny’s Book Club Goes to School. In this 40-page picture book, Bunny’s library buddy, Josie, confides in her animal pal that school starts the following week and she’s worried she won’t make any friends.

Bunny hatches a plan to go to Josie’s school to be a friend for her and along the way he runs into Porcupine. Porcupine wants to come with Bunny so the two carry on toward Josie’s school. As the pair journey on, the group gets larger as more and more forest friends want to join in.

Soon there’s Bunny, Porcupine, Bear, Bird, Mouse, Raccoon, Frog, Squirrel and Mole. Nine buddies for Josie. As they hunt for Josie, first Squirrel, then Bird, Mouse and Bear become distracted in various classrooms. I can’t blame them. The basketball game, the music room, and cafeteria were indeed tempting places to be, but Bunny is determined to find his friend.

With everyone gone, (yes, Porcupine “dipped into the art room, and now he was stuck”), Bunny carries on by himself. Alone in the school library, Bunny is impressed. He is eventually joined by the gang. They see Josie through the library windows enjoying her classmates at the playground. When the critters head outside, the fun multiplies. They, too, easily make friends and are happy for Josie, and for themselves.

Silvestro’s hopeful and humorous story is a great one to share at back-to-school time. Mai-Wyss’s lovely water-color illustrations depict a diverse group of children where all look welcome. I noticed a wheelchair ramp in front of the school and a young boy in a wheelchair playing ball with a friend. Bunny and his furry friends provide a gentle reminder for any child starting school that quite often they’re not the only ones interested in making new friends.

If I Built a School coverIF I BUILT A SCHOOL
Written and illustrated by Chris Van Dusen
(Dial BYR; $17.99, Ages 5-8)

It is so easy and entertaining to read Chris Van Dusen’s If I Built a School, which follows the first in the series, If I Built a House. Between the nod the artwork makes to the “Jetson’s” TV show and the rollicking rhyme that accompanies every spread, I could easily see children re-reading this picture book again and again every back-to-school season.

Jack, the picture book’s narrator, has a fantastic imagination and tells the playground aide, Miss Jane, just what type of school he’d build instead of the plain school where we first meet him.

This school is beyond your wildest dreams and I’m not sure I’d get any work done there because I’d be too busy zooming through clear transportation tubes from towering pod building to towering pod building. Then there are the floating “hover desks” that resemble bumper cars, one of my favorite amusement park rides. Holograms of historical figures teach lessons and in gym the basketball court is a trampoline! At lunchtime, well you’ll just have to see for yourself, but it’s like a robotic automat that serves up any type food, “simple or weird—from PB & jelly to squid lightly seared.”

I pored over every single spread so as not to miss a single thing Van Dusen designed. That includes a sweet blue-nosed, black and white pup who features in almost every illustration along with several disabled characters, one a child in a wheelchair and the other a dog with wheels supporting his back end. The gym and recess illustrations are terrific and, together with younger readers, parents can read the story aloud then help point out all the different activities kids can get up to. If you’ve got a child with an active imagination or one who’s looking for STEAM inspiration, you’ve come to the right book!

See Chris at the Decatur Book Festival in Decatur, GA on Saturday, August 31st. And check out his blog to find out about September visits that may be close to where you live.

  • Reviewed by Ronna Mandel

Here’s a link to last year’s roundup of the best back-to-school books 2018.

 

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Charlotte S. Huck Children’s Literature Festival

20TH ANNUAL CHARLOTTE S. HUCK
CHILDREN’S LITERATURE FESTIVAL 2016
SPECIAL OFFER FOR GRWR READERS

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It’s Charlotte S. Huck Children’s Festival time! Do you have an interest in illustrating or writing children’s books? Do you want to learn from some of the greatest children’s book creators of our time? Do you just simply love all things kidlit? Then please join me at the Charlotte S. Huck Children’s Literature Festival on February 26 and 27th to celebrate 20 years of children’s literature on the University of Redlands campus. Hear and meet with award-winning children’s book authors and illustrators including Debra Frasier, Marla Frazee, Mike Graf, Kevin Henkes, Linda Sue Park, Jerry Pinkey, and Janet Wong. Check out an exhibit of children’s book art and even try your hand at your own craft at small group workshops.

PinkneyLittleRedHenWe’re thrilled the Charlotte S. Huck Children’s Literature Festival has offered Good Reads With Ronna readers an exclusive $25 discount! All you need to do is download the printable registration form here, indicate on the “three together” option that you’re registering as one person with the code “Ronna” and then enclose a check for $175 and mail to the address given below. In other words, the usual three attendee requirement has been waived for Good Reads With Ronna readers (also the Feb. 5 due date has been waived for GRWR readers). The $175 fee is for the total conference which includes three meals, snacks and the entire program, Friday and Saturday. If you plan to only attend one day, you will need to pay that one day fee and there is no discount in that case. Registration closes on February 12th. Check here to see more details about the special hotel discounts in Redlands the festival has arranged. Hotel space is filling up so don’t delay!

 

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All of the events take place on campus. Registration, meals, check-in, and the general session will be held in the Orton Conference Center on the Redlands’ campus.

More info …
Check out photos of the 2015 Festival on the Charlotte Huck Facebook page here. Like the page and stay in the know about upcoming Festival events and information.

For more information: Contact Festival secretary Colleen Quesada at 909-748-8791 or email festival coordinator Marjorie Arnett.

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Please mail completed registration forms and payment here:

The Charlotte S. Huck Children’s Literature Festival
University of Redlands School of Education
P. O. Box 3080 1200 East Colton Avenue
Redlands, CA 92373-0999
Attention: Colleen Quesada, Office Manager SOE

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