By Gina Molter
The return to school has always been a source of anxiety for most students, and, after the pandemic, this year’s return promises to literally feel like a whole new world for many children. The following books may help ease worries and answer questions.
Students facing the first day of a new school have a lot of worries and questions, and Sesame Street addressed them in their book What If . . . ?: Answers to Calm First-Day-Of-School Jitters by Sonali Fry and written for ages 4 to 6. Elmo and friends answer students’ most common questions, like “What if I don’t like my teacher?” or “What if I don’t know where the bathroom is?” to help ease the anxiety of a new environment. And as your patrons adjust to their new back-to-school schedules, they might be curious about daily life for students all over the globe. They can find out in This Is How We Do It: One Day in the Lives of Seven Kids from Around the World, written by Matt Lamothe for ages 5 to 8. The book follows a single day in the lives of children in 7 different countries to help readers see what we all have in common, like friends and family, and what we all may experience differently, like what we eat for breakfast.
Some students may have worries about their own special needs. Mary Nhin has a series of fun, helpful books for children ages 4 to 10, called Ninja Life Hacks, which uses the comedic device of ninja training to teach children life skills. Focused Ninja: A Children's Book About Increasing Focus and Concentration at Home and School helps children with concentration issues learn how to focus amid distractions, something a lot of children might struggle with as they return to the school environment after a year at home. Those continuing to learn from home might find another book in the series, eNinja: A Children's Book About Virtual Learning Practices for Online Student Success, helpful.
School subjects can also be a source of anxiety and probably no subject more so than math. Though it is one of the most important things your patrons will learn in school, math anxiety can make it hard for many learners. The Math Academy series by Kristy Holmes, written for ages 7 to 10, uses a fictional story arc to teach children basic math concepts to make learning math a little easier, a little more real-world relatable, and a little less anxiety producing. Titles include Addition on the Menu, Groups in the Garden, Place Value Prize, and Sold on Subtraction.
Going back to school may be an anxious time for many students, especially this year, but a little knowledge can allay fears, so be sure to check out these and other school-related titles in the link below.