Back to School Emotions, Part 2


The year of change and challenges, disappointments, loss, and grief. And murder hornets. 

With many kids starting school virtually, and so many others starting school in what looks like an alien landscape (lunches in classrooms, plexi divider walls, masks and shields and googles, oh my), the normal big emotions of a new school year are going to be unexpected but understood, different but familiar. 

My list of back-to-school books is also much different from my norm (a little older, a little quieter), but may come in handy as we navigate the surreal landscape we find ourselves in right now. 

The Empty Pot (Demi, 1990)

Takeaways: bravery, doing the right thing, deceit/dishonesty, hard work

From the publisher: 

When Ping admits that he is the only child in China unable to grow a flower from the seeds distributed by the Emperor, he is rewarded for his honesty.

Harriet, You'll Drive Me Wild (Mem Fox and Marla Frazee, 2000)

Takeaways: owning your mistakes, losing your temper (not just kids!)

From the publisher: 

Harriet Harris doesn't mean to be pesky. Sometimes she just is. And her mother doesn't mean to lose her temper. Sometimes she just does. 

Who Wet My Pants (Bob Shea and Zachariah OHora, 2018)

Takeaways: lying, embarrassment, blame, compassion

From the publisher: 

In this hilarious tale of blame, compassion, and forgiveness, a very embarrassed bear is reminded that accidents can happen--but with the support of good friends, life goes on.

The Boy Who Cried Bigfoot! (Scott Magoon, 2013)

Takeaways: lying (modern day Boy Who Cried Wolf), disappointment

From the publisher:

This clever twist on “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” is told from the point of view of an unexpected narrator and, through snappy text and lighthearted illustrations, demonstrates the value of telling the truth, the importance of establishing trust, and (of course!) the possibility that a beast you created to get attention can become a real-life friend.

When You Need Wings (Lita Judge, 2020)

Takeaways: courage, confidence, imagination

From the publisher:

In the tradition of Where the Wild Things Are, beloved author-illustrator Lita Judge brings us a soaring story about the power of imagination.

On a day when you feel
like no one is listening,
and you wish you could just disappear,
shut your eyes and listen.
Do you hear it?
That isn’t your heart.
That is the sound of your very own wings
beating within.

(And for extra suggestions, last year's list can be found here.)

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