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Three kids are reading on the beach. toddler books, fun educational activities

Reading Our Way Back To School

Transitional periods can require a little bit of extra awareness and sensitivity. It can be challenging for little brains to adapt to something new.

How do we get back into a consistent schedule and routine? Rituals can be a fantastic way to get everyone settled. My favorite ritual is reading. Every day we try to connect with our kids through our love of reading. My kids appreciate the storytelling, language, and bonding time.

Here are some reading rituals you can practice daily before the school bus arrives:

  • Bedtime Reading: settling for a family cuddle after an exciting day of play can feel amazing. Especially if someone’s reading aloud. It’s the perfect way to unwind and refresh for a school day!
  • Fanfiction Crafting: read a book together and imagine what may happen after the final word. Getting those creative minds thinking is great practice for critical thinking.
  • Dine and Read: for us adults (or big kids), the dining room table can become a place to scroll through Twitter. Have you considered listening to an audiobook as a family?

Reading and the (Back-To-School) Curriculum

A child sits between two book stacks. She's playing with a book. toddler books, fun educational activities

Do you remember getting a summmer reading list before returning to long days of school? If you're the parent of a preschooler, kindergartener, or elementary school kid, reading will be part of the learning agenda as soon as they walk through the door.

There are many things that you can smoothly incorporate into your at-home conversations. For example, singing the alphabet is fun and easy with our Sing the Alphabet book. Alongside delightful illustrations, babies and toddlers can listen and sing along.

My Top 15 Favorite Back to School Books for Kindergarten and Elementary Students

I gathered 15 great books that will have your kids asking for “just one more page”! You might find your child's new favorite book to tell their friends about on the first day of school.

Back to School Books about Friendship

Two kids are reading a book in the garden. toddler books, fun educational activities

My kids enjoy books that feature themes of friendship and belonging. It’s also a great way to learn about social relationships. School stories have plenty of adventure and just enough peril to keep you hanging on!

The Circles All Around Us by Brad and Kristi Montague

When a child is born, a small circle of love and connection forms around them. As they grow older, the circle grows, and it can include wider family, neighbors, and friends. This is the perfect back-to-school book about enlarging our circles to welcome new friends and adventures along the way.

Hello World! by Kelly Corrigan

As we move through this beautiful world, we can encounter people who will add plenty of value to our life. This is a beautifully illustrated book that will help kindergarten kids to think about friends from all around the world.

Our Class is a Family by Shanon Olsen

This book is about helping students feel belonging and acceptance in their school. They'll even learn a new school rule or two! An excellent bookish addition for the kiddo that may be feeling nervous and jittery about their first day back in the classroom.

Back To School Books about Separation Anxiety

A mother is taking her daughter to school. They are holding hands. toddler books, fun educational activities

Feeling anxious about the first day of school is super normal! Parents can help their kids beat the fear and have a fantastic start with some well-chosen books. When those nerves get too much, you may want to try Dance to Classical Music for relaxation and a change of pace.

Be Big! Beatrice's First Day of First Grade by Katie Kizer

Join little Beatrice and her blue tutu as she learns to go from being afraid to be herself to facing her fears, being brave, and ultimately, being big. It’s perfect for kids who may find it helpful to see how the first day of school can go!

Daddy Long Legs by Nadine Brun-Cosme

Is your kiddo in a 'what if' phase that sometimes reveals not-so-hidden fears and anxieties? This book shows a school drop-off with the child worried about a series of what-ifs that may get in the way of a successful pickup. By the final, what if, Daddy has found a creative, satisfying solution.

Back to School Picture Books

A child is reading a picture book. toddler books, fun educational activities

There's a reason graphic novels are so popular with a wide range of people, from age 9 to 90. The humble picture book is ideal for engaging younger and older children with a story. Our Educational Bundle is the perfect back-to-school gift to offer educational and interactive books that teach the value of gratitude, love, and caring for our friends and family.

Chu's First Day of School by Neil Gaiman

On Chu's first day of school, he is ever so nervous about the other kids liking him and worried about what may happen. A perfect read-aloud picture book that explores and solves common anxieties by best-selling author Neil Gaiman.

Edda: a Little Valkyrie's First Day of School by Adam Auerbach

Despite quaking in her Viking boots ahead of her first day of school, Edda remembers Vikings are brave and work on making friends who are different from them. A diverse book with beautiful illustrations.

How to Read a Story by Kate Messner

An illustrated guide that chronicles the process of becoming a bookworm. From the moment you pull the book off the shelf and find somebody to share your story with, everything is there and ready to be shared in this stunning and exciting book.

Back to School Books about Creativity

A child is drawing on a notebook.  toddler books, fun educational activities

Is anything more creative than a child's mind beginning to explore and understand the world? Fuel that creativity through these books.

Have you considered our Infinibook to allow you and your child to create stories together?

The Exceptionally, Extraordinarily Ordinary First Day of School by Albert Lorenz

Little John weaves a tall, creative tale for his new classmates when they ask him if his new school is any different from the old one. A funny story about being the new kid and conquering one's fears with creativity and laughter. And a fib or two!

What Do You Do With An Idea? By Kobi Yamada

The story of a brilliant idea and a child daring enough to bring it into the world. The perfect story for anyone of any age who has ever had an idea that seemed too odd or complex for this world. A story to inspire and get creative.

Our Back To School Books!

Here are Cali’s top 5 books to use when getting our kids ready to go back to school. Each one is a sound book, meaning it features a sound button, 15 seconds of music, and song lyrics. 

  • Dinosaur Alphabet
  • Gif of Dinosaur's Alphabet book. toddler books, fun educational activities

    Have you got a little paleontologist in your family? This ABCs introduction is full of vibrant illustrations and fun facts. Dinosaur sings the letters of the alphabet while associating each of them with the name of a Dinosaur. It features a unique alphabet song and high-quality sound that makes learning the alphabet both fun and exciting for babies, toddlers, and young children.

    Count With Me

    Gif of Count With Me book. toddler books, fun educational activities

    Familiar nursery rhymes with a focus on numbers make counting fun! Counting songs in this book include such favorites as Five Little Monkeys and One, Two, Three, Four, Five. Learning numbers has never been so exciting!


    Gif of Colors book. toddler books, fun educational activities

    A combination of music and colors makes for educational entertainment. Colors Nursery Rhymes is a great color book for toddlers 1-4. Its soft-spoken music rhymes and playful illustrations will delight babies, toddlers (and their parents) everywhere! It features six different songs about the color of objects around them to reinforce the color concept.


    Gif of Shapes book. toddler books, fun educational activities

    Singing is my son’s favorite way to learn new words. That’s why this book is perfect to encourage your little ones to practice shapes and counting. Enjoy fun and catchy tunes, alongside charming illustrations. Can they spot the different shapes in the pictures? How many triangles can they find? 

    Sing The Alphabet

    Gif of Sing The Alphabet book. toddler books, fun educational activities

    There’s no better way to learn than through poems and songs. Cute illustrations spark the interest of even the littlest learners! The alphabet song makes learning the alphabet fun! With easy first words and well-known tunes, this book provides an ideal introduction to the ABCs. Singing the alphabet introduces letters in a fun way. Babies can listen and toddlers sing along!


    Open notebook with pictures and a list of colors. toddler books, fun educational activities

    Cali's Books, we believe in the importance of reading for development, creativity, and connection. But why is reading so important for kindergarten and elementary school students?

    Kids learn to express themselves through language and convey stories, feelings, and tasks. Reading is part of mastering language and communication. Reading supports children in their cognitive development and helps them make sense of the world. It’s also a great way to expand their vocabulary! Finally, reading enhances empathy by allowing children to understand different characters' emotions and experiences. The more diverse books you offer them, the more varied the learning of other cultures and lives can be.

    Happy back to school and happy reading! I'm off to grab a book off the shelf, curl up on the couch with my children, and bask in the joy of reading aloud. That's the best part about reading! It's an educational experience, but it comes with such ease and fun.

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    Cali's Books, founder, about us, why I love books, children's books

    Hi! I'm Cali, Founder of Cali's Books

    “I’ve loved books since childhood and wanted to transmit this enthusiasm to my children”

    I'm a mom of two young children who trained as an engineer and worked in investment banking and at Disney. A French of Caribbean origin (Martinique to be precise!), I grew up in Paris. Los Angeles is now the place I call home!

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