• Eleka

K-12 Books for the New School Year

Updated: Aug 18



No matter our age, starting a new school year can flood us with an array of emotions. But we can prepare ourselves or our young people with the tools they need to feel excited and ready to start off the new school year.


Young Readers

The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by Rafael Lopez


This beautifully illustrated book creates a vibrant watercolor world through the pictures and story that flows like poetry. The message can help kids understand their worries when going back to school, and assure them that although not everyone is exactly like them, everyone has something to share that is a little like them but also something that is not like them at all. And that is okay because it makes the world more beautiful and interesting.


The Magical Yet by Angela DiTerlizzi, illustrated by Lorena Alvarez


The Magical Yet follows a kid trying to ride their bike but not quite getting it right each time. Sometimes these failures mean we are not quite ready yet, that we have to keep trying and learning from our mistakes, but that does not mean that it is impossible. The story takes readers through the lives of a variety of lives of kids as they work and learn how to play instruments, paint, dance, and skateboard, showing our readers that no matter what they want to do, they have to keep getting back up after they misstep so that they can improve and get to where they want to go and be who they want to be.


Lena’s Shoes are Nervous by Keith Calabrese and illustrated by Juana Medina


Today is Lena’s first day of kindergarten. She is ready to go and has the perfect outfit picked out with all her favorite clothes, but something is not quite right. Her shoes are nervous! Lena must somehow convince her nervous shoes that it is okay to be nervous, but that it will be okay. This story helps walk kids through what worries them about starting something new like their first day of school and help them think through times in the past where they were nervous but everything turned out okay.


Middle Grade Novels

The First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Perez


Malú is starting a new middle school in Chicago thousands of miles away from her dad in Florida. Malú loves punk music, making zines, and her exciting visits to her dad’s record store, but most importantly she loves how her life is right now--with her dad in the picture. Now that her mom must move to Chicago for a couple years, so does Malú. Follow her journey to a new school, new city, and new life as she tries her best to follow the first rule of punk: always be yourself.


Making Friends by Kristen Gudsnuk


Dany could do without going to middle school with a new schedule where she never sees her best friends. She realizes to survive the new year, she will have to make new friends. But what if she could make the perfect friend? Dany stumbles upon her deceased great aunt’s old sketchbook and finds that her sketches can come to life! Dany really can make the perfect friend, but can she keep them? Follow Dany in this vibrant and funny graphic novel.




Teen & Young Adult

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie


Arnold Spirit Jr. lives on the Spokane Reservation also known as “the Rez.” He has a passion for drawing comics and cartoons, but he realizes he is not receiving the best education at the reservation school--even his geometry textbook is so outdated it has his mother’s name written in it. Junior feels absolutely angry and sad and after a run in with a teacher who understands Junior’s frustration and convinces him to transfer to a new school in a primarily wealthy and white town 22 miles away. At first Junior is enchanted by the prosperity, but soon learns the not so perfect lives his classmates live.


I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver


When Benji De Backer comes out as nonbinary to their family, they are swiftly kicked out of the house. Alone and cold, they call their estranged sister who takes them in. When Benji is safe living with their sister and her family, they must learn to process their identity, anxiety, and making new friends at a new high school. I Wish You All the Best is a coming of age tale about rejection, friendship, and making our own happiness.




We have many more fantastic books available in our library and at other libraries in our system. You can browse these HERE.


Have a great school year!