Best Back-to-School Books

Get the kids ready for school with these fantastic back-to-school books! Getting back into the swing of things isn’t without its challenges, but reading is a great way to help kids transition into the right mindset for learning.


back-to-school booksDozens of Dachshunds By Stephanie Calmenson Illustrated by Zoe Persico Bloomsbury, 2021, $17.99

Dressed as birds, hot dogs and superheroes, dachshunds dash down the street. Where are they going? Tots learn to count to 12 as they turn the pages to see what these whimsically attired pooches are up to next. The exuberant rhyming text amps up the mystery as the dogs converge on the park … to romp at a dachshund festival (an annual event in New York City, according to the backmatter). Inspired by this playful tale, little ones might orchestrate their own small festival with pets or stuffed animals.


ages 4 – 7

back-to-school booksRae’s First Day By Danny Jordan Illustrated by Agustina Perciante The Capables LLC, 2021, $19.99

Like kids everywhere, Rae is excited and nervous about her first day at school. She has an upper limb difference, but as the text throughout exemplifies, this does not define her. Instead, she channels her energy into an amazing superpower that benefits all her classmates. The main character comes alive on the page through an engaging graphic format that includes panels and speech bubbles. The author – a TV producer and father of a child with a limb difference – has created a lively main character and an entertaining first book in a series focused on inclusion of disability.

back-to-school booksA Boy Named Isamu By James Yang Viking, 2021, $17.99

This lyrical picture book biography follows a quiet boy as he wonders about the things that surround him. How can light feel so welcoming? What do stones say? The book models curiosity about and respect for the natural world. The child is revealed to be the acclaimed artist Isamu Noguchi, and many of the shapes and images in the illustrations prefigure the sculptures he created as an adult. These days, introverted kids can feel overwhelmed by society’s extroverted energy and expectations, and this book beautifully honors the peace and creative joy to be found in spending time alone.

ages 8 – 12

back-to-school booksThe Last Super Chef By Chris Negron HarperCollins, 2021, $16.99

Curtis Pith yearns to be a chef like his idol Lucas Taylor on a top-rated cooking show. But he also wants the truth from this man, who is his long-absent father. When Chef Taylor hosts a kids-only competition, Curtis is determined to win and gain his respect. In this captivating, surprising novel, Curtis finds unexpected answers, affirmation and camaraderie where he least expects it.

back-to-school booksYoung Change Makers

A Book Series About Youngsters Across the World Who are Making a Difference

By Stacy C. Bauer Illustrated by Emanuela Ntamack Young Change Makers is a 7-book series featuring more than 80 trailblazing youth from around the world who are taking action to change their communities in positive ways. Author Stacy Bauer, an educator, wanted others to know the stories of ordinary kids who were doing extraordinary things. Two D.C.-area children are featured in book #4 and book #6: Addy Barrett, 13, who is determined to save the endangered mountain gorillas! She raises funds for The Fossey Fund and The Ellen Fund; London Navarro, 11, is an anti-bullying activist through martial arts. She encourages other kids to stand up for themselves. Books are available at

Show us your favorite back-to-school books using #ShareWashingtonParent on Instagram!


Summer Magic in Books

Books to Celebrate Earth Day and National Poetry Month

Returning to In-Person School